Sure, they missed Ricky Rubio, but energy and smarts were lacking, too.
It was quiet inside Target Center before the Wolves' game with New Orleans on Saturday night. It was as if fans were wondering, what now? Or: what next?
It was quiet in the team's pre-game shootaround, too. "You could feel everybody was a little bit disappointed," Anthony Tolliver said. "He's gone for the season."
The Wolves played the first game of the rest of their season without Ricky Rubio, who tore the ACL in his left knee in the closing seconds of Friday's loss to the Lakers.
If everyone was a bit apprehensive -- either in the stands or on the bench -- it was understandable. So, before the game, Kevin Love got up and circled the floor, clapping his hands, trying to get the crowd on its feet.
With rare exceptions they never really did.
In a 95-89 loss to the Hornets the Wolves turned the ball over too much and didn't play enough defense. As coach Rick Adelman said, "It's like the start of the season all over again."
But here's the question: Is this the Wolves fans can expect, sans Rubio, for the rest of the season? Or can this be explained away as an emotional hangover?
Time will tell.
"We definitely missed him tonight," said Love, who scored a game-high 31 points with 16 rebounds. He, Nikola Pekovic (21 points, 11 rebounds) and Luke Ridnour (14 points, 10 assists) had double-doubles.
But that didn't make up for defense that allowed the Hornets -- owners of the worst record in the Western Conference -- to break a four-game losing streak.
Love talked about the "emotional shock" of losing Rubio. "He makes winning plays, he's a winner," Love said. Still, before the game the message, from Adelman on down, was that players have to step up, and that the playoffs are still a goal.
And then this: The Hornets picked up 28 assists on 39 shots, getting just about any look they wanted. The Wolves? Playing with only one true point guard -- J.J. Barea is still injured -- the team turned the ball over 17 times, leading to 25 Hornets points.
Chris Kaman led four scores in double figures with 20 points for New Orleans, which used an 11-0 run in the first half to take control.
Down seven in the fourth, the Wolves rallied to tie the game at 74 on Love's two free throws with 9:03 left. But, with the Wolves missing eight consecutive shots, the Hornets scored the game's next 11 points.
"It was the worst game in a long time," said Adelman, who refused to use Rubio's injury as an excuse. "We are who we are. At the defensive end that shouldn't be a factor. That's effort, communication. It wasn't there."
Love agreed. "Everyone, myself included, needs to step up. We can't shoot that poorly, play that badly on defense, we can't bring no energy. We miss Ricky, but mostly that was a bad effort."
Still, without Rubio the Wolves will have to find other ways to operate efficiently on offense, even when Barea returns from his sprained ankle, which could be a soon as Monday in Phoenix.
"We were all used to him being the starting point guard," said Martell Webster, who moved into the starting lineup Saturday. "He's injured, out for the season. It's devastating. But we have to bounce back."
Said Love: "There was no energy. I don't know if it was the emotions of last night. We just didn't bring it tonight."
• Love said his sore back came as the result of having fallen on his hip a few times and from a hit he took from Nicolas Batum last week against Portland. Love said he will require regular treatment going forward.
|NY Yankees - LP: M. Pineda||0||FINAL|
|Toronto - WP: D. Hutchison||2|
|Detroit - LP: M. Scherzer||3||FINAL|
|Chicago WSox - WP: C. Sale||6|
|Chicago Cubs - WP: F. Doubront||5||FINAL|
|St. Louis - LP: J. Masterson||1|
|Cincinnati||1||Top 6th Inning|
|Minnesota - K. Gibson||6:05 PM|
|Baltimore - C. Tillman|
|Philadelphia - J. Williams||6:10 PM|
|NY Mets - B. Colon|
|Miami - J. Cosart||6:10 PM|
|Atlanta - A. Harang|
|Boston - A. Webster||6:10 PM|
|Tampa Bay - J. Odorizzi|
|Cleveland - T. Bauer||6:10 PM|
|Kansas City - J. Shields|
|Detroit - K. Ryan||6:10 PM|
|Chicago WSox - C. Bassitt|
|Texas - R. Ross Jr.||6:10 PM|
|Houston - S. Feldman|
|Colorado - T. Matzek||7:10 PM|
|Arizona - V. Nuno|
|Chicago Cubs - T. Wada||7:15 PM|
|St. Louis - M. Gonzales|
|Los Angeles - Z. Greinke||7:40 PM|
|San Diego - I. Kennedy|
|Milwaukee - M. Fiers||8:05 PM|
|San Francisco - J. Peavy|
|Oakland - J. Samardzija||8:05 PM|
|LA Angels - C. Rasmus|
|Washington - S. Strasburg||8:10 PM|
|Seattle - R. Elias|
|Green Bay||9/4/14 7:30 PM|
|(6) Jacksonville St||7||FINAL|
|(8) Michigan State||45|
|(5) Ohio State||34||FINAL|
|Boston College||27||4th Qtr 14:52|
|West Virginia||17||3rd Qtr|
|(17) Notre Dame||28|
|(10) South Dakota St||10||3rd Qtr 13:01|
|Fla Atlantic||7||3rd Qtr|
|California||24||3rd Qtr 15:00|
|UC Davis||0||2nd Qtr 0:25|
|Arkansas||21||2nd Qtr 2:45|
|(16) Clemson||4:30 PM|
|(23) North Carolina|
|Ohio U||5:00 PM|
|Louisiana Tech||6:00 PM|
|Stephen F Austin||6:10 PM|
|(20) Kansas State|
|Fresno State||6:30 PM|
|Southern Miss||6:30 PM|
|Texas-El Paso||7:00 PM|
|North Texas||7:00 PM|
|(1) Florida State||7:00 PM|
|(14) Wisconsin||8:00 PM|
|South Dakota||9:30 PM|
|(25) Washington||9:30 PM|
|Utah State||8/31/14 6:00 PM|
|SMU||8/31/14 6:30 PM|
|Miami-Florida||9/1/14 7:00 PM|
|Arizona||9/4/14 7:00 PM|
|Pittsburgh||9/5/14 6:00 PM|
|Washington St||9/5/14 9:30 PM|
|SMU||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|Fla Atlantic||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|Buffalo||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|(24) Missouri||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|Arkansas State||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|(8) McNeese State||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|Central Mich||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|Akron||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|Western Ill||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|(20) Kansas State||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|(4) Oklahoma||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|Western Ky||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|SC State||9/6/14 11:30 AM|
|Navy||9/6/14 12:00 PM|
|UAB||9/6/14 1:00 PM|
|South Alabama||9/6/14 1:00 PM|
|New Mexico St||9/6/14 1:00 PM|
|Colorado||9/6/14 2:00 PM|
|Fresno State||9/6/14 2:00 PM|
|(1) Eastern Wash||9/6/14 2:00 PM|
|(15) USC||9/6/14 2:30 PM|
|Ohio U||9/6/14 2:30 PM|
|Middle Tennessee||9/6/14 2:30 PM|
|Northern Ill||9/6/14 2:30 PM|
|Missouri State||9/6/14 2:30 PM|
|Ball State||9/6/14 2:30 PM|
|Maryland||9/6/14 2:30 PM|
|Eastern Mich||9/6/14 3:00 PM|
|Georgia Tech||9/6/14 3:00 PM|
|(18) Ole Miss||9/6/14 3:30 PM|
|Old Dominion||9/6/14 5:00 PM|
|(8) Michigan State||9/6/14 5:30 PM|
|(19) Arizona State||9/6/14 6:00 PM|
|Louisiana Tech||9/6/14 6:00 PM|
|San Jose St||9/6/14 6:00 PM|
|East Carolina||9/6/14 6:00 PM|
|(9) So Carolina|
|Duke||9/6/14 6:00 PM|
|Idaho||9/6/14 6:00 PM|
|(17) Sam Houston St||9/6/14 6:30 PM|
|Michigan||9/6/14 6:30 PM|
|(17) Notre Dame|
|Lamar||9/6/14 6:30 PM|
|(21) Texas A&M|
|Northwestern St||9/6/14 6:30 PM|
|BYU||9/6/14 6:30 PM|
|Citadel||9/6/14 6:30 PM|
|(1) Florida State|
|San Diego St||9/6/14 7:00 PM|
|(23) North Carolina|
|Virginia Tech||9/6/14 7:00 PM|
|(5) Ohio State|
|Memphis||9/6/14 9:00 PM|
|Colorado State||9/6/14 9:15 PM|
|Air Force||9/6/14 9:15 PM|
|Oregon State||9/6/14 9:30 PM|
|Texas Tech||9/6/14 10:00 PM|
|Colorado||0||2nd Half 35:00|
|New England||1||1st Half 25:00|
|FC Dallas||7:30 PM|
|Real Salt Lake||9:30 PM|
|Winnipeg||8/31/14 3:00 PM|
|Toronto||9/1/14 12:00 PM|
|Edmonton||9/1/14 3:30 PM|
|Brt Columbia||9/5/14 6:30 PM|
|Calgary||9/6/14 6:00 PM|
|Hamilton||9/7/14 12:00 PM|
|Saskatchewan||9/7/14 3:00 PM|