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News » Minnesota Timberwolves hungry to halt three-game losing skid

Minnesota Timberwolves hungry to halt three-game losing skid

Minnesota Timberwolves hungry to halt three-game losing skid
INDIANAPOLIS -- After a steady diet of losing, the Timberwolves finally got a taste of success last month and they want to get it back.

With a three-game losing streak heading into tonight's game against the Indiana Pacers, they say it's important they nip it in the bud and get back to their 10-2 form in the five-game lead-in to the all-star break.

"We want to go into the second half with some momentum and feeling good about ourselves," guard Randy Foye said Monday. "We felt good all last month, but this is a new month. We want to go into the all-star break feeling great about ourselves."

The Wolves suffered through losing streaks of eight and 13 games earlier this season, but Foye said the team is beyond that now.

Consecutive losses to the Detroit Pistons and both of last year's NBA finalists, the Los Angeles Lakers and champion Boston Celtics, slowed Minnesota's advance, but the losses haven't shaken the players' confidence.

"It's no excuse at all, but we just played three of the top six or seven teams in the NBA, even though Detroit is going through a tough stretch right now," Foye said. "We've just got to keep going. We've got to win the games we're supposed to win, and the games people think we're not supposed to win, we've got to go out and show them."

Tonight's game probably falls somewhere in between those two extremes.

The Pacers fell to 19-29 Saturday with a 122-113 loss to New York that ended a seven-game home winning streak. The Pacers could be without rookie forward Danny Granger, who has been bothered by a knee injury.

Even so, Wolves forward Ryan Gomes said Indiana's style of play makes it a dangerous opponent.

"This game is going to be another good test for us because these guys get a lot of shots and a lot of possessions," he said. "They run and they're trying to get the most shot attempts out of the most possessions. We've got to get back in transition defense and know that a shot could go up at any time. You have to lock in and play individual defense because they have the freedom to fire away when they want."

The Wolves also have to start better than they did against the Lakers and especially the Celtics, who built an 18-point halftime lead Sunday and increased it to 21 before holding on to win 109-101.

"I saw some things I really liked in the last couple games against two good teams," Wolves coach Kevin McHale said. "I also saw some things I didn't like much, but I was happy that the guys were able to fight back and battle. We really executed our offense in the second half of each game very well. It was just the first half where we got a little tentative. We can't start off tentative."

Following tonight's game, the Wolves will be home Wednesday to face Atlanta and then hit the road for weekend games at Houston and New Orleans before a Feb. 10 home date against Toronto heading into the all-star break.

Of the four opponents, only the Raptors (19-30) have a losing record, but Gomes said it's important to re-establish momentum before their one-week respite.

"When all-star break's over, it's kind of like starting over again with a 35-game season," he said. "We're going to have a lot of time off, so you want to have that spark when you come back."

McHale honored: McHale was named Western Conference coach of the month by the NBA in recognition of the Wolves' 10-4 January.

It's the first coaching honor for McHale, who has led the team to a 12-15 record after a 4-15 start under former coach Randy Wittman.

Briefly: The Wolves have won five of the past nine meetings with the Pacers but are 3-15 all time at Indiana. That includes a 2-7 record at Conseco Fieldhouse.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: February 4, 2009


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