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Updated: February 4th, 2013 11:43pm
Wessel: For struggling Wolves, 'there are not a lot of chances left'

Wessel: For struggling Wolves, 'there are not a lot of chances left'

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1500ESPN.com

MINNEAPOLIS -- It was all backslaps and smiles in the Minnesota Timberwolves locker room after last Saturday's 115-86 victory over the New Orleans Hornets.

It snapped a six game losing streak and was a sign that maybe there was some life left in this club. All the players spoke about using the win as something to build off of and a step in the right direction.

But all that appeared to be lip service as the Wolves sleepwalked through the first 30 or so minutes of Monday's 100-98 loss to the Portland Trailblazers before mounting a too little, too late.

"We're not good enough right now to come out and think we can just ease into a game," coach Rick Adelman said.

The Wolves were slow getting back on defense, missed layups and just looked disinterested for the majority of the game. Give them credit for having a chance to win the game, but they definitely deserve to be ripped for the way they played the first three quarters.

"We had no energy at the start," Adelman said. "I don't know if they thought they found something in the (win over New Orleans). But we let them pretty much do whatever they wanted."

This current six-game homestand needed to be where the Wolves made some hay. It was the perfect time to make up some ground with their newly healthy players heading into next week's All-Star break. If the Wolves were going to get back into the loaded Western Conference playoff race, now was the time.

But the Wolves got bullied by the Clippers, embarrassed by the Lakers and now didn't show up against the Blazers. The lone win was against that Hornets team that was playing the business end of a back-to-back and the fifth game of a road trip. Their bodies were in Minnesota but their minds were already back in New Orleans.

"We lost a great opportunity," Ricky Rubio said. "There are not a lot of chances left."

The Wolves are just 5-19 in their last 24 games and still have New York and San Antonio on the schedule this week.

The amount of hype and promise surrounding this team at season's start was unparalleled in recent years. This was going to be the one year they finally ended their NBA-long eight year playoff drought. Yes, they have suffered a ton of injuries. But there have been too many flat performances by the remaining healthy players and not enough answers.

Afterwards the players continued to say the right things. They said they are going to find answers, that they'll learn from this and that there is still time to get back in the hunt.

But we've heard it all before. You have to wonder if even they believe what they are saying at this point.

In this story: Ricky Rubio
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