Updated: January 5th, 2011 11:13pm
'Unacceptable' loss: Wolves dump one to short-handed Bobcats at home

'Unacceptable' loss: Wolves dump one to short-handed Bobcats at home

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Coach Kurt Rambis had been lauding his team's defense of late. Kevin Love had said the team is close to turning the corner.

Both were singing a much different tune after Wednesday night's 108-105 overtime loss to the Charlotte Bobcats.

The Bobcats were without Gerald Wallace and Stephen Jackson and the 34.9 points per game they average combined but it didn't matter.

It was the second time in a week the Wolves failed to beat what was essentially a team's junior varsity team at home.

Only difference was the Bobcats -- unlike the Nuggets a week ago -- are a team that, if the Wolves truly are taking the next step, should have no trouble beating even if they were full strength.

For the 11th time this season the Wolves blew a fourth-quarter lead in what both Michael Beasley and Love called the most frustrating loss of the season.

"Same thing. Same thing," Beasley said about a season that is becoming defined by not closing out games. "They wanted it more than us today and they got it."

It doesn't take a group of basketball historians breaking down tape to pinpoint what went wrong for the Wolves. It was the same thing that has plagued them all season -- poor defense and turnovers.

The Wolves gave up 108 points to a short-handed Bobcats team that had been averaging just 92.3 points per game, keeping pace with the league-worst 108.9 points per game the Wolves are giving up. 

Carelessness with the basketball also was at the forefront. The Wolves coughed it up 16 times, which the Bobcats turned into 25 points.

Needless to say, neither deficiency went unnoticed by Rambis.

"Until the point is driven home that we need to play defense in order to win, until that point is driven home with our guys … and that the basketball is a valuable possession and not something to be kicked around we are always going to struggle, we will always struggle to win ball games," Rambis said.

After the game, Rambis also called into question his team's effort level and the players did not disagree with him.

"I was really disappointed in our effort tonight. We only played one really hard quarter and that was the third quarter," Rambis said. "Our effort level was nonexistent for the vast majority of the ball game."

"We came out and warmed up like we were dead," Love said. "We were warming up like some (expletive). We came out slow. Nobody was dunking the ball. Nobody was getting loose. We were walking through warm-ups. That's unacceptable."

The always unselfish Love tried to put the blame on his shoulders but he had by far the best game of anyone in the Wolves locker room, scoring 35 points and grabbing 15 boards, keeping his streak of 22 consecutive double-doubles alive.

Despite both Love and Beasley both acknowledging there was a real effort problem from the start, neither could pinpoint why it happened and how to prevent it.

"I honestly can't tell you what it is," Beasley said.

"I am getting tired of saying the same thing to you guys over and over so I hope (we figure it out) much, much sooner rather than later," Love said.