Timberwolves-Nets Preview

The Associated Press

After another disappointing effort at home, the Minnesota Timberwolves hope for a better outing on the road.

The Timberwolves will try to win three straight road games for the first time in more than two years when they face the New Jersey Nets on Friday night.

Minnesota failed in its fourth attempt to even its record on the season with a 109-99 loss to Indiana on Wednesday. The Timberwolves (10-12) shot 37.4 percent and gave up their second-highest point total of the season, including 64 in the second half.

"We just couldn't get stops," said Kevin Love, who had 21 points and 17 rebounds but shot 6 of 16. "Especially because we didn't shoot a good percentage from the line or from the floor."

Minnesota's last two chances to reach .500 have both come at home. It lost 106-101 to the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday after shooting 38.5 percent and falling behind by 18 points.

The Timberwolves will try to bounce back on the road, where they've looked more comfortable recently. They are 5-4 away from home and have won their last two road games, defeating Dallas and Houston while averaging 112.5 points. Love averaged 30.0 points in those wins and shot 61.3 percent.

Ricky Rubio has double-doubles in his last three road games, averaging 17.3 points and 11.3 assists.

Minnesota's improved play on the road is a big reason the team has managed to hover around .500 most of the season. On Friday, it will try to win three straight away from home for the first time since April 3-8, 2009. The Timberwolves went 10-72 on the road the previous two seasons.

New Jersey is coming off its third win in five games overall, 99-96 over Detroit on Wednesday.

Deron Williams scored 26 points, Kris Humphries added 18 and the Pistons missed a 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds left. The Nets (8-15) held on after Detroit came back from a 12-point deficit and tied the game at 88. Humphries made two free throws and Williams hit a 3-pointer to push the lead back to five.

"You can't take anyone lightly," Humphries said. "They made a push at the end. (It was) sloppy."

New Jersey used just eight players as it remains without centers Brook Lopez and Mehmet Okur as well as forward Damion James and guard Marshon Brooks. Newly signed Keith Bogans had two points and one rebound in 17 minutes.

"I told them they were the 'Great Eight' tonight," coach Avery Johnson said of his depleted roster. "That's the only way you could look at it."

While playing shorthanded, New Jersey has relied heavily on Williams, who has averaged 29.0 points in the last five games.

Williams tied a career high with 21 assists as New Jersey snapped a four-game losing streak to Minnesota in the last meeting, winning 107-105 at home April 5. Love sat out with a strained groin.

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