Without their afternoon naps and star center, the Timberwolves lost 130-105 to Milwaukee Wednesday afternoon at Target Center. Four days after they beat Chicago by four points at home, the Wolves lost games rescheduled for consecutive days by a combined 55 points.
They lost by 30 points to Brooklyn after Monday night's game was moved to Tuesday afternoon, then lost by 25 points little more than 24 hours later.
"We just played soft, flat and soft," Wolves coach Chris Finch said. "Yesterday was flat. Today was soft. Not a lot of resistance to anything that we did."
The Bucks played without their two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo while the Wolves went without their star Karl-Anthony Towns. He missed Tuesday's game to honor the anniversary of his mother Jacqueline Cruz-Towns' death from COVID-19 complications at age 58. He didn't play on Wednesday for what the team again called personal reasons.
As they did Tuesday, the Wolves on Wednesday played in a rare weekday afternoon start. They did so because of evening curfews ordered in Minneapolis and other nearby cities following Sunday's killing of 20-year-old Daunte Wright by a Brooklyn Center police officer.
"Nah, that's not an excuse," Wolves rookie guard Anthony Edwards said when asked if the uncertainty whether his team would play — or when they'd play — played a factor the last two afternoons.
Tuesday's game started at 3 p.m., Wednesday's game at 3:30 p.m.
"Just missing KAT, that's always like a big piece for us," Wolves rookie Jaden McDaniels said. "That's our go-to guy and he does a lot of great things. It's just us having to pick it up. The uncertainty of not playing, not knowing if we're going to play, it's just something we've got to adjust to, really."
Antetokounmpo missed his sixth consecutive game because of an injured knee. The Bucks now are 3-3 in those games with their current two-game winning streak preceded by a three-game losing streak. They beat Orlando by 37 points on Sunday and ended a stretch where they play nine of 10 games on the road Thursday at Atlanta.
The Wolves on Wednesday played the third game of a four-game homestand that ends Friday against former Wolves guard Jimmy Butler and Miami.
"Our competitive spirit, again, has gone back down and it seems to be a continual problem," Finch said. "We play well, get a win and then it drops back down again."
Forward Naz Reid started for Towns at center on a team that surrendered seven three-pointers in a 30-10 run in the second quarter's final four minutes and the third quarter's first three.
"That's kind of been a pattern for us," Finch said. "A team will string a couple threes on us and push a lead out from six or seven to 15 or more and we don't respond, whether it's we can't get a bucket, turn it over or can't get a stop the next time down …
"That's where the game was lost for us today. That's a youth thing. We've got to have more mental and physical toughness in those moments."
The Wolves never led and trailed by as many as 30 points.
Khris Middleton led Milwaukee with 27 points while Wolves rookie Anthony Edwards scored 24. Point guard D'Angelo Russell came off the bench in both halves and played 23 minutes.
Finch was asked if he considered starting Russell after halftime, when his team trailed 61-44.
"Not really," Finch said. "We're trying to manage some minutes. I thought maybe we'd be able to come out, get some stops and tighten the game up."