A familiar tune: Wolves rally, fall a point short

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 27, 2013 - 12:11 PM

They summoned the energy to force overtime but still lost to struggling Phoenix at the start of a Western road swing.

PHOENIX - If you're a Comcast subscriber and a Timberwolves fan, at least you were spared the anguish of Tuesday's 84-83 overtime road loss to a Phoenix team that had lost seven of its past eight games, including its past four at home.

Or maybe you simply lost faith and turned the game off yourself. Anyone might have been tempted after the Wolves again trailed by 18 points on Tuesday night.

Yes, they again summoned a valiant comeback that this time forced overtime. And yes, they lost -- yet again -- by a point.

Think this is getting repetitive?

"Same thing we've been doing all year," Wolves forward Derrick Williams said. "We can't keep coming back and lose by one point. We can't do that anymore. We've been saying it all year. At some point, it's got to turn."

It didn't turn on Tuesday, when the Wolves opened a three-game Western trip by starting off with what starting point guard Ricky Rubio called "no energy."

By game's end, Rubio had run out of his just when his teammates collectively found theirs, enough to end the fourth quarter on a 22-9 flourish that forced an overtime in which the Wolves went cold.

Comcast subscribers never saw the game televised on FSN Plus because of the cable provider's unknown decision, according to FSN, not to carry the scheduled game.

Fans who get their television elsewhere simply might have given up long before the visitors rallied and produced a game that came down to their final shot.

Rubio sat for the game's final 1:41 after a 39-minute night in which he went 2-for-12, committed six turnovers to go with his 10 assists and missed a free throw and a would-be game-winning shot in the final seconds of regulation time.

"I thought he was tired," Wolves coach Rick Adelman said. "I just took him out."

Without him, Adelman turned to his other three guards -- J.J. Barea, Alexey Shved and eventually Luke Ridnour -- on a night when the Wolves fought all the way back from 18 points only to lose when Shved's driving, scoop layup with three seconds left in overtime missed.

Adelman yelped for a foul and some of his players wanted a goaltending call, but the only thing the Wolves got was their 34th loss in 54 games, even though to a man they said they'd take their chances always with Shved's final shot.

"Every time," Williams said. "He's at the basket. You can't ask for any better shot at the end of the game."

Or as Rubio simply put it, "Hundred percent."

Fitting perhaps that the final, short shot would roll away on a night when the Wolves once struggled to make a shot. They shot 34.4 percent from the field and made just five of 19 three-point attempts until Shved got a last one that was about as good as they could get.

Rubio watched it all from the bench. "I was tired, but that's no excuse," he said. "I play awful at the end. Of course, I always want to play at the end. But I couldn't find a good shot. I couldn't find teammates open. But it's something I have to learn."

Starting small forward Andrei Kirilenko left the game late in the first quarter because of a strained left calf.

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