Rockets, T-Wolves both aim to halt losing skids

By
Updated: January 19, 2013

Either the Houston Rockets or the Minnesota Timberwolves will snap a long losing streak Saturday night when the two teams collide at the Target Center.

The Rockets ran their slide to six games Friday night with a 105-95 setback in
Indiana to the Pacers. Saturday will be the third of four in a row on the road
for the Rockets, who are 7-13 as the guest on the season.

“I think everybody is a little bit (tired),” admitted coach Kevin McHale. “We
don’t have just a lot of zip right now. We don’t have a lot of juice and we’ve
got to get it back. This is a long season and we have to find it again. We’re
just in a funk. It just doesn’t look like we have much spark out there. We can
get things going for awhile but then we have those periods when we really
struggle.”

The Rockets fell behind by 13 after the first quarter against the Pacers and
never got too close again. Omer Asik had a career-high with 22 points and 12
boards, while James Harden, Carlos Delfino, Chandler Parsons and Jeremy Lin
all scored in double figures.

Houston is the NBA’s worst defensive team and has surrendered over 100 points
in eight of the last 10.

The T-Wolves have dropped five straight and the injury news just keeps piling
up for Minnesota.

Center Nikola Pekovic will be out 7-to-10 days with a right quad contusion.
Guard Alexey Shved is day-to-day with a sprained left ankle. Both left
Thursday’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers and the Wolves were left with
only eight players to finish off the 90-77 loss.

The Timberwolves don’t even have enough healthy bodies to practice 5-on-5 with
Pekovic, Shved, Kevin Love, Brandon Roy, Chase Budinger and Malcolm Lee all
sidelined.

“You don’t get into a rhythm and a timing when you talk about not having
enough guys to get up and down,” said interim head coach Terry Porter. “A lot
of it is on half court correction, defensive and offensive breakdowns we had
the previous night. We haven’t done it yet, maybe some times showing film, but
we haven’t done that yet. The most important thing is walking through the
breakdowns, doing half court execution in different lineups.”

Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations David Kahn said on Friday the
team has been granted a hardship exception from the NBA because of the injury
problems. Kahn said the exception will probably give them another player
signed for a 10-day contract.

Luke Ridnour led the way with 21 points against the Clippers and Andrei
Kirilenko and Derrick Williams both scored in double figures.

The Rockets defeated the Timberwolves on Dec. 26, 87-84 in Minnesota. Houston
has won 16 of the last 20 against Minnesota.