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News » Minnesota Timberwolves lose 11th straight

Minnesota Timberwolves lose 11th straight

Minnesota Timberwolves lose 11th straight For those keeping track, the Timberwolves' early-season losing streak reached 11 Wednesday night at Target Center with Houston's 97-84 victory.

The loss spoiled an inspired effort by Wolves forward Al Jefferson, who had 20 points and 10 rebounds in his return to the team after a two-game absence to grieve the death of his grandmother last week in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Jefferson made 9 of 11 shots from the floor, but he didn't have much help in holding off Houston, which got 20 points from forward Luis Scola and 18 from forward Trevor Ariza. The loss dropped the Wolves to 1-11. Houston, playing without all-star guard-forward Tracy McGrady, improved to 7-5.

Ariza's jumper put the Rockets up 89-79 with 4:01 left in the fourth quarter. Scola followed with a tip-in to give the Rockets an 87-78 lead.

The Rockets fought off a spurt by the Wolves early in the fourth quarter to take control. Ramon Sessions' jumper pulled the Wolves within 75-74, but the Rockets answered with an inside move by center Chuck Hayes to start a late surge.

The Wolves got a layup and three-pointer from Oleksiy Pecherov at the start of the fourth quarter to stay close, but the Rockets responded with back-to-back three-pointers by forward David Andersen and Shane Battier.

The Wolves' fourth-quarter troubles included a scary moment with 8:24 remaining. Jefferson was accidentally kicked in the forehead by Rockets guard Carl Landry during a loose-ball chase. Jefferson fell to the floor and lay motionless for a couple of minutes before getting up and walking to the bench unassisted.

Jefferson left the game briefly but returned three minutes later.

Houston was fortunate to lead 68-67 at the end of the third quarter. Backup guard Kyle Lowry hit a jumper to give the Rockets a slim lead, but the Wolves had grabbed the momentum.

The Wolves put together a 13-3 run late in the third quarter to erase a 63-54 deficit. They went up 67-66 after a free throw by Damien Wilkins off a technical foul.

Wilkins was part of a reserve unit that helped the Wolves gain momentum. Wilkins was on the floor with Sessions, Pecherov, Nathan Jawai and Sasha Pavlovic. Sessions was the other bright spot for the Wolves with 16 points, five assists and three steals off the bench.

Ariza's three-pointer had given the Rockets a nine-point lead before the Wolves rallied. Aaron Brooks also hit a three-pointer. It appeared the Rockets were on the verge of pulling away.

The Rockets led 48-42 at halftime despite Jefferson's brilliant first-half performance. He made all seven of his field-goal attempts and two free throws to finish the half with 16 points. He had his way with the Rockets' small defensive front line.

With 7-foot-5 Yao Ming out indefinitely after foot surgery last season, Rockets coach Rick Adelman used the 6-6 Hayes on Jefferson, who easily took advantage of the mismatch. Jefferson appeared crisp in his return and showed no effects from his absence.

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 19, 2009


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