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Timberwolves’ losing streak hits 10 in 111-88 loss to Pacers

By Kent Youngblood, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) –

INDIANAPOLIS — A clearly unhappy Rick Adelman sounded like a fellow running out of things to say Monday night.

The Minnesota Timberwolves coach had just watched his team spend the first two quarters of its game with the Indiana Pacers in a trance. Bricklayers on one end, ushers at the other.

The result: a 111-88 loss, the Wolves’ 10th in a row. The downward momentum that is the end of the Wolves’ season appears to have reached critical mass.

“It was over at halftime,” Adelman said. “They shot it well, but we just didn’t come out and play. I don’t know why.”

This was not the Wolves’ worst loss of the season, at least on paper. But the Pacers came out in the first half and put such a whipping on Minnesota that it took an 18-0 fourth-quarter run — one led by Wolves reserves — to change this game from an embarrassment to simply a disappointment. Could this have been the team that played Oklahoma City nearly straight up only a couple of nights before?

“No sense of urgency,” Wolves guard Martell Webster said. “We got our tails handed to us in that first half.”

The Wolves posted season lows in scoring for both the first quarter (13) and for the first half (30). That plus a lack of effort on defense translated to a 32-13 Pacers lead after one quarter, one that stretched to 64-30 by halftime.

Four of the Pacers’ five starters were in double figures by halftime. The Wolves spent the first 24 minutes shooting 27.5 percent (11-for-40). The team couldn’t get on track. Adelman adjusted his starting lineup by putting Anthony Randolph in for Derrick Williams. That didn’t work, with Randolph getting in early foul trouble.

“You have to come out and compete, and we didn’t compete,” Adelman said. “It’s a glaring problem. We know we have all these injuries and everything like that. But come on; you’re better than that. It’s inexcusable, the way we played in the first half.”

And in the second? It’s hard to gauge because after maintaining a 30-plus-point lead for much of the third quarter, Pacers coach Frank Vogel went deep into his bench. In the fourth quarter Michael Beasley scored 9 and Williams 8. The Wolves used that 18-0 run to pull within 14 on Malcolm Lee’s drive with 5:26 left. But A.J. Price’s 3-pointer stemmed that tide.

The playoff-bound Pacers set the physical tone, and the Wolves didn’t match it. David West (22 points, 10 rebounds) led the way for Indiana. J.J. Barea (14), Beasley and Williams (13 each) led the Wolves.

“They were tougher than we were, simple as that,” Adelman said. “We didn’t push back. … We had trouble (with) everything. We got to the gym OK. But after that? Everything ended.”

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