Atlanta 94, Wolves 87: Wolves follow familiar formula, lose again

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 26, 2007 - 12:03 AM

The Wolves just couldn't shake the pattern of letting the victory slip from their grasp. This loss dropped them to 1-10.

wolf1125 3WOLF

MARLIN LEVISON * 11/24/07 Assign#000000471- Wolves vs. Atlanta. Atlanta won 94-87. . IN THIS PHOTO: Atlanta's Josh Childress prepared to block the layup of Wolves Marko Jaric as Minnesota fell behind in 2nd half action. ORG XMIT: 0711242141104264

Photo: Marlin Levison, Dml - Dml - Marlin Levison*mlevi

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Perfectly positioned to fulfill their coach's pre-game prediction about kicking down the proverbial door, the Timberwolves delivered a closing collapse stunning even by their November standards with Saturday's 94-87 loss to Atlanta at sparsely populated Target Center.

In one evening, the Wolves reached season highs and lows for points in a half by scoring 63 before intermission and 24 after it.

In doing so, they lost for the 10th time in their first 11 games -- two five-game losing streaks sandwiched around a Nov. 14 home victory over Sacramento.

"Over and over and over, I don't know what it is," Wolves guard Sebastian Telfair said. "This one is the toughest. It's frustrating. I'm embarrassed."

Leading 16-6, 28-12, 43-23 and 63-45 by halftime, the Wolves still held a 16-point lead with a little more than three minutes left in the third quarter and then watched it all fall away. The Hawks produced a 36-10 run over the next 12 minutes that left at least one patron in an audience announced at 14,101 fans repeatedly stomping a metal courtside bleacher in disgust.

One night after the Wolves let another lead slip away in Denver, Wolves coach Randy Wittman suggested his team was on the verge of kicking down that door. "The hinges are buckling a bit," he had said.

For nearly 33 minutes, the Wolves moved the ball efficiently, attacked the basket and overwhelmed the Hawks with a performance that included Al Jefferson reaching his ninth double-double in 11 games before halftime.

Then what happened?

"You tell me," Wittman said. "I mean, the same thing that has happened thus far for 10 of the 11 games. We played scared. That's what it looked like to me. Instead of taking an 18-point lead at halftime and making it 30, we played not to lose instead of to win."

The Wolves scored 35 points in the second quarter alone, then managed just 12 in each of the final two. The Hawks clamped down on Jefferson, who had 18 points before halftime and five points after it. And the Wolves once again this season settled for far too many jump shots that didn't fall on a night when Hawks veteran guard Tyronn Lue revived his team with a splended performance off the bench.

When the Wolves pulled within six in the final two minutes and had the chance to get within three, Antoine Walker tripped over an official as he broke free for a pass and a possible three-point shot and the pass tumbled out of bounds.

"Excuses are over with," Walker said. "We're 11 games into the season. We had a chance to turn our season around this weekend and instead we went the other way. We have to stop making excuses and find a way to toughen up."

  • related content

  • McCants has to shoot more, Wittman says

    Saturday November 24, 2007

    Rashad McCants had a bad night from the floor on Friday, but that shouldn't stop him from putting up shots.

  • Recap: Denver 99, Wolves 93

    Saturday November 24, 2007

    MVPTyronn Lue, AtlantaThe nine-year veteran point guard from Nebraska came off the bench and provided the pulse with a little...

  • Wolves Insider: Out of work, still coaching

    Monday November 26, 2007

    Eric Musselman spends night after night watching basketball, even though he is not employed to do so anymore.


    Up next: at New Orleans • 7 p.m. Monday • TV: FSN (106.1-FM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 1 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Arrieta 4
Houston - WP: T. Sipp 5 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Allen 1
San Francisco - WP: T. Hudson 10 FINAL
Washington - LP: D. Fister 3
St. Louis - LP: A. Wainwright 4 FINAL
Philadelphia - WP: K. Kendrick 5
Chicago WSox - LP: D. Webb 3 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: D. Robertson 4
Tampa Bay - WP: D. Smyly 8 FINAL
Toronto - LP: M. Stroman 0
Atlanta - WP: D. Hale 3 FINAL
Cincinnati - LP: M. Parra 1
Seattle - WP: D. Leone 5 FINAL
Boston - LP: K. Uehara 3
Kansas City - WP: Y. Ventura 6 FINAL
Texas - LP: C. Lewis 3
Pittsburgh - WP: J. Locke 8 FINAL
Milwaukee - LP: Y. Gallardo 3
Detroit - LP: R. Ray 6 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: R. Pressly 20
Miami - WP: H. Alvarez 13 FINAL
Colorado - LP: F. Morales 5
San Diego - LP: O. Despaigne 1 FINAL
Arizona - WP: J. Collmenter 5
LA Angels - LP: J. Grilli 3 FINAL
Oakland - WP: S. Gray 5
NY Mets - LP: J. Niese 2 FINAL
Los Angeles - WP: D. Haren 6
Carolina 7 FINAL
New England 30
NY Giants 35 FINAL
NY Jets 24
Jacksonville 12 FINAL
Detroit 13
Oakland 21 FINAL
Green Bay 31
Chicago 6 FINAL
Seattle 34
Tampa Bay 3:30 PM
Tennessee 6:00 PM
Dallas 6:00 PM
Washington 6:30 PM
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 7:00 PM
Houston 8:00 PM
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Atlanta 8/28/14 5:00 PM
Detroit 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Indianapolis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Kansas City 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 8/28/14 6:00 PM
St. Louis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Carolina 8/28/14 6:30 PM
New England 8/28/14 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 8/28/14 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Denver 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Minnesota 8/28/14 7:00 PM
San Francisco 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Arizona 8/28/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 8/28/14 9:00 PM
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
UCF 8/30/14 7:30 AM
Penn State
Real Salt Lake 1 FINAL
FC Dallas 2
Montreal 16 FINAL
Winnipeg 24
Toronto 3:00 PM
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Winnipeg 8/31/14 2:00 PM
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Chicago 80 FINAL
Atlanta 77
Los Angeles 72 FINAL
Phoenix 75
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: How do you like the Kevin Love trade?

Weekly Question



wolf1125 3WOLF