Hornets have Wolves' number

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 8, 2012 - 8:01 AM

New Orleans owns the Wolves' pick this year, so it increased its chance of a high selection. Little has gone right for the Wolves since Ricky Rubio's knee injury.

NEW ORLEANS - After an exhaustive Star Tribune investigation, there is absolutely no evidence to support reports that somewhere down a darkened French Quarter alleyway exists a handmade doll with mop-top hair, wispy beard, adorable eyebrows and a straight pin stuck purposely in its knee.

Still ...

Every wrong turn the Timberwolves have taken since that fateful night last month when Ricky Rubio went down clutching his knee in pain benefits the Hornets, including the Wolves' 99-90 loss on Saturday night at New Orleans Arena.

The Hornets own the Wolves' unprotected first-round draft pick this summer, so every mounting Minnesota loss -- five consecutive now and 13 of 17 since that March 9 game when Rubio was injured -- improves their chance of getting a higher pick.

Before Rubio tore two ligaments in his knee, the Wolves appeared headed toward the playoffs, an achievement that likely would have brought the Hornets a selection in the draft's late teens with a pick they acquired from the Clippers in December's trade that sent point guard Chris Paul to Los Angeles.

Now, if the season ended today, the Hornets very well could possess a top-10 pick and a 1.1 percent chance of winning the draft lottery and the right to pick Kentucky's Anthony Davis, all because the Wolves traded the pick away years ago in an ill-fated deal that brought them ... yup, Marko Jaric.

The Wolves will own a first-round draft pick this summer only if Utah, which is chasing Denver for the West's last spot, makes the playoffs.

The Hornets beat the Wolves for the second time in three games this season, holding them off in the fourth quarter after the Wolves twice chopped a 12-point deficit down to just two points.

But New Orleans responded each time, repelling the Wolves on a night when Jason Smith made 12 of 16 shots and scored 26 points in a power-forward duel with Kevin Love, who answered with 29 points and 12 rebounds of his own. Add Hornets center Chris Kaman's 9-for-10 shooting night and that frontcourt tandem combined to shoot 80 percent.

"I don't know how to explain that; he was just hot," Love said. "I think he hit everything in the first half and just about everything in the second half. He has a good jump shot; the guy can shoot it."

Michael Beasley, back from a sprained big toe, led the Wolves' second unit on a 10-0 fourth-quarter run that turned an 81-69 deficit into an 81-79 game with 8:04 left. When the Hornets scored the next two baskets, Wolves coach Rick Adelman sent starters Love, J.J. Barea and Nikola Pekovic back into the game.

The Wolves got within a basket again, but Kaman scored five points in a row, and the Wolves never got closer than four again.

"There were things we did much better tonight," said Adelman, whose team played its second consecutive game without starting point guard Luke Ridnour, "but we have to put it together."

Beasley is back

In his return, Beasley played 30 minutes and scored 20 points on 7-for-11 shooting while wearing a size 18 sneaker, one size bigger than he normally wears, to accommodate the swelling that remains around that toe.

He'd missed the past five games -- and eight of the past 13.

"It felt good," he said. "I stayed in shape. Somebody stepped on my toe and it's still a little sore, but in the thick of the game, my adrenaline was rushing and I didn't really feel it."

Now that's a bad month...

The Wolves now are 0-4 this month and haven't won a game in April since 2009, Love's rookie season. They lost their last seven games in 2010 and their final 15 last season. "We'll win one," Love said. "We've got [nine] left. We'll get one."

Hornets missing 2 starters

The Hornets played without starting point guard Jarrett Jack, who missed his third consecutive game because of a sprained foot, and center Emeka Okafor, who hasn't played since Feb. 10 because of a sore knee.

  • NEW ORLEANS 99, WOLVES 90 • Up next: 8 p.m. Monday at Phoenix • TV: ESPN2 (830-AM)

    wolves notes
  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco - M. Bumgarner 7:07 PM
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
Washington 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Carolina 6:00 PM
Columbus
Pittsburgh 6:30 PM
Detroit
Montreal 7:30 PM
Chicago
Arizona 8:00 PM
Edmonton
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which struggling team is in the worst shape?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close