Charlotte at Minnesota

Wolves deal Bobcats 16th loss in row

CBSSports.com wire reports
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Charlotte Bobcats were in prime position to snap a 15-game losing streak when D.J. Augustin returned to the lineup and helped them take the lead into halftime.

By the time the dust settled on yet another loss, the Bobcats were still trying to figure out the license number on the 6-foot-11, 290-pound Montenegrin truck that ran them over in the final 24 minutes.

Kevin Love had 30 points and 18 rebounds, and Nikola Pekovic added 21 points and 11 boards while playing the entire second half to help the Minnesota Timberwolves hand the Bobcats their 16th loss in a row, 102-90 on Wednesday night.

"I thought we did OK against Kevin because he shot a lot of outside shots," Bobcats coach Paul Silas said. "But the other kid. Pep-a-vich his name is? Whatever, he just killed us down there."

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Pekovic had only 6 points on 3-of-9 shooting in the first half, but scored 15 while going 7 for 8 from the field and bulldozing rookie Bismack Biyombo over the final two quarters.

"We had four losses in a row," said Pekovic, who played a career-high 43 minutes. "This was our game. We needed to win this game and we won."

Kemba Walker had 21 points and six rebounds and Corey Maggette scored 18 points for the Bobcats, who have lost 22 of their past 23 games. Augustin played for the first time in 12 games, but his return wasn't enough to lift Charlotte out of the worst losing streak in franchise history.

Augustin had nine points and four turnovers in 24 minutes.

"My timing was off a little bit, but it was good for me to get back out there," he said. "Hopefully next game, everything will be intact."

The Bobcats were feisty for the first three quarters, leading by nine points early, by two at halftime and keeping it tied at 66 with three minutes to go in the third. But the Wolves closed the third on a 10-0 run, and the Bobcats wilted in the fourth.

Luke Ridnour, who has struggled mightily with his shot the past four games, scored six points in a 13-4 surge to open the fourth, and J.J. Barea hit a deep 3 for an 89-70 lead.

"It's hard to go into a half-court set against their guys," Silas said. "They have big guys down low. They're not shot blockers, but they're big. They put us in a situation where we didn't capitalize."

The Bobcats haven't won since Jan. 14 against Golden State, a woeful stretch in which the team has been beset by injuries to key players. Augustin came off the bench in his return from an 11-game absence because of an inflamed right toe and Maggette played in his fourth game since missing time with a strained left hamstring.

Gerald Henderson is out with a strained right hamstring, so Silas hasn't had his complete roster available for almost the entire season.

The Timberwolves have struggled with slow starts for most of the season, especially at home. Another one Wednesday night helped the Bobcats race out to a 15-6 lead and get some much-needed confidence.

"We knew if we were able to go on one of our runs, they weren't going to be able to fight back and get a win against us," Love said. "We were happy to get this one. We surely needed it."

As crazy as it sounds, the Wolves were nearly as desperate as Charlotte. After winning five of seven to creep into the playoff conversation in the West, they had faltered and faced a brutal stretch of games coming up that includes Houston, Philadelphia, Denver, Utah and a trip out west to face the Clippers and Lakers.

To illustrate, the Wolves were up 18 with four minutes to play and Love, who leads the league in minutes and could use a little rest, didn't sit until there was under two minutes to go.

Barea had 12 points and eight assists and Ridnour scored 10 points for the Wolves.

"We've got a real tough schedule before the break and even after the break," Ridnour said. "So just to get off the four-game losing streak and get some positive energy going for this team is what we need."

Notes

  • Love said before the game that the aquarium at the Mall of America plans to name an octopus after him. Can't see the resemblance? Both have very strong grippers, of course.
  • Silas and Wolves assistant Jack Sikma were teammates in Seattle from 1977-80. "I made him tough," Silas said, smiling.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
 
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The frustration continues for Paul Silas, whose Bobcats are within 10 losses of the longest losing streak in NBA history.  (AP)
The frustration continues for Paul Silas, whose Bobcats are within 10 losses of the longest losing streak in NBA history. (AP)

Scoreboard
Charlotte (3-26)3018182490
Minnesota (14-16) «25213026102
CHA:K. Walker 21 Pts
CHA:B. Diaw 9 Reb
CHA:B. Diaw 7 Ast
MIN:K. Love 30 Pts
MIN:K. Love 18 Reb
MIN:J. Barea 8 Ast
Players of the Game
CharlotteMinnesota

Kemba Walker

Kevin Love
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
216230183
Charlotte
B. Diaw, PF387-120-097114
C. Maggette, SF326-175-630418
K. Walker, PG329-170-162121
R. Williams, SF304-80-072210
B. Biyombo, PF201-42-64034
D. Augustin, PG244-100-02239
D. Brown, SF163-40-03216
T. Thomas, PF132-40-20034
B. Mullens, C110-40-01110
M. Carroll, SG70-20-01100
D. White, PF71-20-02012
D. Diop, C60-00-03000
C. Higgins, PG41-10-00002
E. Najera, PFDid Not Play
G. Henderson, SGDid Not Play
Totals 38-857-1541172090
 44.7%46.7% 
Minnesota
N. Pekovic, C4410-171-2112221
K. Love, PF4211-216-8183230
R. Rubio, PG252-72-31706
M. Webster, SG243-50-05026
W. Johnson, SG244-91-11039
L. Ridnour, PG345-80-045310
J. Barea, PG264-92-228112
M. Beasley, PF92-40-00104
D. Williams, PF92-30-03024
A. Tolliver, PF20-00-00000
W. Ellington, SG20-20-01000
B. Miller, CDid Not Play
D. Milicic, CDid Not Play
A. Randolph, PFDid Not Play
M. Lee, SGDid Not Play
Totals 43-8512-16462615102
 50.6%75.0% 
Other Games
Phi 87 Final
Orl 103
SA 113 Final
Tor 106
Det 98 Final
Bos 88
Ind 87 Final
Cle 98
Mem 105 Final
NJ 100
Sac 85 Final
NY 100
OKC 95 Final
Hou 96
NO 92 Final
Mil 89
Den 84 Final
Dal 102
Atl 101 Final
Pho 99
Port 93 Final
GS 91
Wash 84 Final
LAC 102