Bobcats-Timberwolves Preview

The Associated Press

The Minnesota Timberwolves have struggled all season to finish out close games.

Now, possible dissension among teammates could make that obstacle even more difficult to overcome.

Minnesota tries to bounce back from another difficult loss Friday night when it hosts the Charlotte Bobcats.

The Timberwolves (17-18) are 0-10 in games decided by four points or fewer, with five of their last six losses falling under that category. They collapsed late Wednesday in a 104-103 home loss to Phoenix, surrendering a Gerald Green jumper with 3.9 seconds that capped a game-ending 7-0 run.

Minnesota hasn't been over .500 since Nov. 23, this time blowing an opportunity against a team playing the second of a back-to-back.

"There's still a lot of time," said Kevin Love, who scored 15 points while going 4 of 20 from the field. "We need to win games like this ... So something's got to give and if we continue to keep working hard and have continuity and stick together, we're going to be all OK."

Continuity, however, wasn't present in the locker room as Love also criticized some of his teammates' behavior. After being called for a technical foul and finishing with his lowest scoring total since Nov. 20, Love's frustration may have reached a high point.

"We can't have two guys sitting at the end of the bench that play good minutes just sitting there and not getting up during times," Love said, presumably regarding reserves J.J. Barea and Dante Cunningham, though he didn't mention either by name. Barea played just 13 minutes, more than five fewer than his season average, while Cunningham played 11, more than eight fewer than his 19.1 minutes per game.

"We all need to be in this together. That kind of (ticks) me off. We're supposed to be a team," Love said.

Love is averaging 31.3 points while going 10 of 20 from 3-point range over his last four matchups with Charlotte, but missed last season's two narrow losses to the Bobcats due to injuries.

Kemba Walker hit a jumper with one second left in an 89-87 road win on Nov. 14, 2012, then Gerald Henderson hit a 3-pointer with five seconds remaining in a 102-101 victory in Charlotte on Jan. 26.

However, the Bobcats (15-21) limp into Friday's matchup having lost six of seven. A 17-0 run in the third quarter by Washington contributed to a 97-83 home loss Tuesday. Former Timberwolf Al Jefferson scored only six points - one game after netting a season-high 27 in Saturday's win over Sacramento - ending his streak of double-digit scoring games at 22.

While Henderson scored a season-best 27, only two other players reached double figures - Walker added 19 while Ramon Sessions had 10.

Charlotte forced a season-low seven turnovers with only three steals and one blocked shot.

"We didn't play with a lot of intensity on either end tonight," Henderson said. "We lost track of them in that third quarter, and we didn't really play with a lot of force offensively, either."

Walker is averaging 22.0 points in four matchups with Minnesota.

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