Back after missing three games with a groin injury, the Wolves' star pointed to the Bulls' unselfish play as a pattern to follow.
Kevin Love insisted his body felt fine after he returned from a three-game absence in time for Wednesday's 108-91 loss to Chicago, the Timberwolves' eighth consecutive defeat.
It was his spirit that seemed hurting.
"I felt fine, still a little tender, still a little restrictive," he said about a groin injury, "but that's no excuse for how we played tonight."
The way the Wolves played was in exact opposition to the performance the Bulls delivered.
Missing the injured Joakim Noah but guided decisively by MVP favorite Derrick Rose, the Bulls moved the ball with such precision (31 assists, 41 baskets made) and defended with such aplomb that Love found himself envious of a team he foresees going "very, very far" in the playoffs.
He just might have been feeling that way because the Bulls, at least on this night, looked to be everything the Wolves aren't.
"They're pretty good," Love said. "I was saying that in the third quarter. They're pretty damn good. They're all on the same page. You can tell everybody has utmost respect for each [other] and they're in it to win. In that regard, I envy that, I salivate for that. I like that a lot.
"Until we all sacrifice for the better of the team, we won't be there."
Three nights after they trailed Boston by 25 and lost by three, the Wolves fell behind by 13 in the first and by as many as 24 in the third quarter before coach Kurt Rambis pulled the starters for the final, anticlimactic quarter.
Afterward, he again lamented his team's lack of "effort and intensity and focus" for most of the game.
"It wasn't there tonight," he said.
He was asked whether his players are counting the days and the games until this season, with 17 wins so far, mercifully ends.
For the record, seven games and 14 days remain.
"You can ask them that in the locker room," he said, "if you hurry up."
Does it look to him like they are?
He said he wasn't pleased with Wednesday's loss or a 33-point home loss to Sacramento 10 days earlier, but said his team did a "good job" in losses to Dallas, Oklahoma City and Boston.
"It's hard on the guys," he said. "I feel bad for the guys to have to suffer through a season like this. It's very hard on the players emotionally to have to go through a season like this. They don't see themselves as losers. It's very, very difficult. It's very emotionally draining to have to go through a season like this."
It was the sixth game in a seven-game stretch against the Lakers, the Mavericks, the Thunder, the Celtics, the Bulls and Miami.
"It's not the ideal situation to end up a season like ours playing the caliber of teams we're playing," Rambis said. "But I also think it's a good challenge for them. This is a good opportunity for our guys to see how tough and physical and nasty individuals and teams can be when they're really fighting for something."
The view Wednesday night wasn't pretty.
"It looks like it's a lot of fun playing like that," Wolves forward Anthony Tolliver said. "If we do play like that, we do have a lot of fun. We just don't do it on a regular basis. They've got a lot of veteran guys, good players who just have bought in completely and it's turned them into the one of the best teams in the league.
"They can win everything if they get things rolling at the right time. They're one of the few teams that I think have a chance to win it all."Etc.
• Backup center Nikola Pekovic missed his second consecutive game because of a strained right hip, an injury sustained Friday at Oklahoma City. He said he definitely will play again this season, perhaps as soon as Miami makes its only visit of the season to Target Center on Friday.
• Noah warmed up before the game but determined he couldn't play because of a sprained ankle. Veteran forward Kurt Thomas started in his place.
|Atlanta||2||Bottom 5th Inning|
|Houston||3||Top 7th Inning|
|Washington||1||Bottom 7th Inning|
|NY Mets||1||Bottom 6th Inning|
|Pittsburgh||9||Top 6th Inning|
|Miami||6||Bottom 5th Inning|
|Boston||1||Top 7th Inning|
|Minnesota||2||Top 8th Inning|
|NY Yankees||4||Top 6th Inning|
|Chicago Cubs||0||Top 1st Inning|
|Los Angeles||0||Bottom 1st Inning|
|Cleveland||0||Top 1st Inning|
|Kansas City||0||Bottom 1st Inning|
|Seattle||0||Top 1st Inning|
|Arizona||0||Bottom 1st Inning|
|Arizona||0||Top 1st Inning|
|Oakland||0||Top 1st Inning|
|New York||6:30 PM|
|Ottawa||0||1st Prd 16:39|
|St. Louis||0||1st Prd 11:38|
|Mount St Marys||77||FINAL|
|Baylor||40||2nd Half 11:14|
|Vanderbilt||53||2nd Half 11:05|
|Boise State||31||2nd Half 15:30|
|Virginia Tech||30||2nd Half 13:11|
|Oklahoma State||45||2nd Half 15:55|
|Connecticut||18||2nd Half 20:00|
|Wake Forest||25||2nd Half 14:54|
|St Francis-PA||28||2nd Half 11:46|
|Temple||28||2nd Half 14:30|
|Eastern Mich||34||2nd Half 16:00|
|Georgetown||29||2nd Half 20:00|
|Bowling Green||25||1st Half 4:44|
|Siena||28||1st Half 3:43|
|Va Military||27||1st Half 4:45|
|Northeastern||23||1st Half 5:27|
|Western Carolina||25||2nd Half|
|Western Ky||21||1st Half 3:35|
|Missouri State||12||1st Half 2:33|
|San Diego||9||1st Half 12:35|
|South Carolina||3:00 PM|
|Oral Roberts||3:00 PM|
|Incarnate Word||3:00 PM|
|Colorado State||3:05 PM|
|Seton Hall||3:30 PM|
|George Washington||3:30 PM|
|Ball State||3:30 PM|
|Arizona State||3:30 PM|
|New Orleans||3:45 PM|
|Sam Houston St|
|Weber State||4:05 PM|
|Southern Ill||4:05 PM|
|Holy Cross||4:30 PM|
|Loyola Marymount||4:30 PM|
|Jackson State||5:00 PM|
|Ga Southern||5:00 PM|
|James Madison||5:00 PM|
|Saint Peters||5:30 PM|
|Texas Southern||5:30 PM|
|Grambling St||6:00 PM|
|Eastern Ky||6:00 PM|
|Wright State||6:00 PM|
|SE Louisiana||6:00 PM|
|UC Riverside||6:00 PM|
|Long Beach State|
|Northern Colorado||6:00 PM|
|St Bonaventure||6:00 PM|
|UC Davis||6:30 PM|
|Central Arkansas||6:30 PM|
|Stephen F Austin|
|Grand Canyon||7:00 PM|
|Prairie View||7:30 PM|
|Miss Valley St||7:30 PM|
|Texas State||7:30 PM|
|Coll of Charleston||7:30 PM|
|William & Mary|
|McNeese State||7:30 PM|
|North Carolina||8:00 PM|
|Santa Clara||8:00 PM|
|UC Santa Barbara||9:00 PM|
|Fresno State||9:00 PM|
|San Jose St|
|Idaho State||9:05 PM|
|Montana State||9:05 PM|
|New Mexico||9:05 PM|
|San Diego St|
|Cal State Fullerton||10:59 PM|
|Sporting Kansas City||2:00 PM|
|Red Bull New York||6:30 PM|
|New England||7:30 PM|
|Real Salt Lake||9:30 PM|
|(5) South Carolina||58|
|(18) Oklahoma St||67|
|East Tenn St||50||FINAL|
|Fla Gulf Coast||74||FINAL|
|Western Mich||40||2nd Half 11:49|
|Incarnate Word||44||2nd Half 14:11|
|Oral Roberts||47||2nd Half 6:00|
|USC Upstate||58||2nd Half 16:48|
|Detroit||17||2nd Half 18:48|
|Bowling Green||38||2nd Half 17:32|
|Valparaiso||49||2nd Half 14:10|
|Toledo||21||2nd Half 16:00|
|Central Michigan||41||2nd Half 18:36|
|Belmont||47||2nd Half 8:29|
|Cleveland State||46||2nd Half 14:00|
|Elon||27||2nd Half 14:58|
|Ohio U||9||1st Half 11:43|
|(15) Texas A&M||29||1st Half 3:14|
|New Orleans||17||1st Half 4:42|
|Sam Houston St||40|
|Kansas||18||1st Half 2:55|
|No Dakota State||6||1st Half 14:43|
|Southern Ill||7||1st Half 18:27|
|Evansville||14||1st Half 13:29|
|Indiana State||9||1st Half 14:21|
|Oakland||9||1st Half 16:07|
|Illinois State||4||1st Half 14:54|
|Ohio State||2:30 PM|
|Eastern Washington||3:00 PM|
|Portland State||3:00 PM|
|Northern Ariz||3:00 PM|
|Sacramento St||3:00 PM|
|Utah Valley U||3:00 PM|
|TX-Pan American||3:00 PM|
|McNeese State||3:00 PM|
|Jackson State||3:00 PM|
|Prairie View||3:00 PM|
|Texas Southern||3:00 PM|
|Western Carolina||3:30 PM|
|(14) NC State||4:00 PM|
|(2) Notre Dame|
|Central Arkansas||4:00 PM|
|Stephen F Austin|
|SE Louisiana||4:00 PM|
|Cal Poly||4:00 PM|
|UC Santa Barbara|
|(16) Nebraska||4:55 PM|
|(19) Michigan State|
|Miss Valley St||5:00 PM|
|Texas State||5:15 PM|
|Chicago State||6:00 PM|
|(7) West Virginia|
|(13) North Carolina||6:30 PM|
|Cal State Fullerton|
|Northern Colorado||8:30 PM|
|Long Beach St||9:00 PM|
|Washington St||10:30 PM|