The Wolves fell to Portland 100-98 Monday night at Target Center. After falling behind by 19 in the fourth quarter, the Wolves closed the gap and twice had the ball in the closing seconds with a chance to tie with a two or take the lead with a three. A Dante Cunningham free throw line jump shot fell short of the mark as time expired thwarting the comeback bid.
Cold shooting and a lack of urgency crushed any hopes for a win.
"We can't come out and play for 30 minutes in a 48 minute game," said head coach Rick Adelman. "We had no energy at the start. I don't know if they thought we found something in the last game but we came out and pretty much let them do what they wanted to do."
The Blazers shot 55 percent from the field in the first quarter, taking a 25-18 lead after the first quarter. Portland was in a giving mood as they turned the ball over 28 times in the game leading to 33 Wolves points.
Portland extended the first half lead, outrebounding the Wolves 24-14 led by Wes Matthews sharp shooting 4-for-7 from three point range and 16 first half points. Andrei Kirilenko left the floor in the second quarter with what team officials called a right quad injury. His status wasn't known by Adelman in the post game press conference.
Hothing came easy for the Wolves and everything was seemingly easy for Portland in the third quarter as the Blazers shot 71 percent from the field as they extended their lead. In stark contrast, the Wolves missed easy layups and the game seemed to get away. After cutting the Blazers lead to 3 with 5:29 left in the third quarter only to watch Portland finish on a 20-4 run to finish the quarter and take a commanding lead into the final frame. To compound matters, Luke Ridnour fouled Nolan Smith 78 feet away from the basket with .2 seconds left on the third quarter clock leading to two free-throws.
"Third quarter we turned it on and got it down to three and then couldn't make a shot," said Adelman. "They opened it back up again. Everything has to be perfect to come back and win that game. You have to get some help from them which they gave us help but we are not good enough right now to come out and think we can just ease into a game."
The early stages of the final quarter saw the Portland lead fluctuate between 14 and 19 points before the Wolves went on a 22-9 run in the final 8:00 to make the game interesting.
"It's got to be everybody," said Adelman. "Everybody who goes out on the floor has to have the same attitude. It's disappointing. I give guys credit we came back in the fourth quarter and had a chance to tie it twice and couldn't get there. I hope it's a lesson learned. We have to play with a lot more intensity and a lot more urgency than we played tonight."
Cunningham led the Wolves with 23 points while J.J. Barea added 17 in the loss. Ricky Rubio continued his strong play as of late with 15 points and 14 assists.
With the loss the Wolves fall to 18-27 and will host San Antonio Wednesday night at 8PM.