Depleted Timberwolves ambushed and embarrassed by Pacers
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Maybe all that talk from the Minnesota Timberwolves about fighting to the end this season was just lip service. The Indiana Pacers completely demoralized them on Monday night, 111-88.
In what marked their 10th straight loss, the Wolves put forth perhaps their most lackluster effort of the season, sleep-walking through the entire 48 minutes in a game that was all but over in the first quarter when they fell behind 18-2.
The Wolves were so thoroughly dominated in the game that even their PR staff sent out a tweet admitting that the game was "officially out of hand." Yes, the team's own employees who always tend to walk the company line admitted this one was over in the first half.
All five Pacers starters scored in double-figures, and they emptied their bench late in the game to even allow Jeff Pendergraph and Kyrylo Fesenko to get some run.
The Wolves didn't have a single player in double-figures until J.J. Barea hit a jumper with 5:01 left in the third quarter. Barea led the team with 14 points and nine assists.
The Wolves trailed by 32 in the fourth quarter but went on a 17-0 run that got them within 14 points. The Pacers quickly put their foot on the gas and stopped the garbage time.
Coach Rick Adelman has said he will be using these final games to see which players step-up and finish the season strong after all the adversity this team has gone through the past six weeks. This roster will be changing over the summer and Adelman says there is still time impress him. But nobody stepped up on Monday.
Adelman shook up the starting lineup by benching the struggling Derrick Williams and giving Anthony Randolph his first start of the season -- a reward of sorts for putting together three consecutive strong performances while he makes a push for the Wolves to pickup his option for next season.
But Randolph left a lot to be desired against the Pacers. He finished with just six points on 1 of 7 shooting in only 18 minutes.
The same can be said for Michael Beasley, who is also playing for his job down the stretch. After a pair of nice games for Beasley where he scored 26 and 14 points, he delivered a clunker Monday, reverting back to the form of play that almost ensures the Wolves won't be picking up his $8.1 million option for next season.
Beasley ended up scoring 13 points after struggling early. He shot 6 of 11 from the field and added five rebounds but also turned the ball over a team-high five times.
Putting in probably the worst game of the team was Williams, who continues to play like a rookie who hit the wall weeks ago. The number two overall pick last summer scored 13 points but shot just 3 of 15 including 0 of 6 from behind the 3-point line in 30 minutes of play.
This was never even a game. The Indiana Pacers stormed out to leads of 18-2, 32-7 and 61-27 in the first half alone. The game reached a point in the fourth quarter where the Pacers crowd gave thunderous applause when the bench-warmers started scoring.
36.8: The shooting percentage for the Wolves.
13: Points in the first quarter -- a season low.
• Kevin Love sat out his third consecutive game after suffering a concussion last week against the Denver Nuggets. With only four games left this season, it is becoming increasingly likely the Wolves will shut down their All-Star for the season rather than rushing him back.
• Luke Ridnour also did not make the trip because of a sprained ankle but Adelman remained confident on Saturday that the veteran will be back.
The Wolves flew back to Minnesota after the game and will be back at it Tuesday night at home against the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Wolves are 0-3 against the Grizzlies (35-25) and will be looking to avoid a season sweep.