In a home match against New Orleans Friday night, the Timberwolves shot exactly 40 percent from the field, breaking a six-game streak of shooting less than that.
It wasn’t enough, however, to keep the Wolves afloat.
They fell 95-81 to the 35-25 Hornets. Wes Johnson and Luke Ridnour each scored 22 points.
Although Michael Beasley’s return was wildly anticipated, the energetic guard went only 4-16 from the hardwood. On top of a poor shooting performance, Beasley committed five turnovers.
Only three members of the Minnesota lineup scored in the double-digits, and some may have been surprised to see Johnson and Ridnour leading the pack. Johnson played in place of Wayne Ellington—out of town for personal reasons—and tallied 43 minutes on the floor. Ridnour dished out fewer assists (two) than usual, but he also connected with the hoop a lot more than usual.
Jonny Flynn came in to relieve Ridnour, but the second-year point guard badly missed two shots and committed three turnovers in less than two minutes.
Needless to say, Coach Kurt Rambis relied heavily on Ridnour for the remainder of the game.
Kevin Love scored only 11 points in Friday’s contest, which brought him dangerously close to ending his double-double streak. The forward is only six games away from breaking Moses Malone’s record of 51 consecutive double-double games.
Even Love—who typically exhibits solid ball-handling abilities—lost the ball once. Minnesota turned the ball over an abysmal 19 times throughout the course of the ball game.
Anthony Randolph made his Target Center debut after coming to Minnesota from the New York Knicks. Randolph seems excited to start over with the Timberwolves, and fans are equally excited to see what the young player has to offer. He finished the game with only four minutes of playing time and two points.
On the New Orleans side of things, Trevor Ariza led his team with 18 points. The Hornets lineup also features new faces. Carl Landry appears positive about his new location after being traded from Sacramento.
“I like it here already,” Landry commented postgame. “I like the defense. Hold a team to 81 points? You’re going to win a lot of games that way.”
Following Friday’s loss, the Timberwolves will remain at home and face the Golden State Warriors on Sunday evening.
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