ANALYSIS: NBA's Wolves now 1-6, losers of 5 straight
MINNEAPOLIS OK, so the Wolves have played four road games now after tonight's 120-94 loss at Houston and all have been lopsided. Just how lopsided? How 'bout by an average of 30 points each? So far, they've lost those four by 20, 32, a franchise-...
OK, so the Wolves have played four road games now after tonight's 120-94 loss at Houston and all have been lopsided.
Just how lopsided?
How 'bout by an average of 30 points each?
So far, they've lost those four by 20, 32, a franchise-record 42 and now 26 tonight, margins of defeat that Michael Beasley in tonight's game story contends are not as one-sided as they look:
Tonight's loss came against a Rockets team that entered Toyota Center the only winless team left in the NBA, a fact that clearly became meaningless early on.
The Rockets played without their two best point guards -- Aaron Brooks and Kyle Lowry -- and Kevin Martin scored 21 on a sprained ankle that made him a game-time decision and still the Wolves were no match for them for reasons that are becoming obvious game by game.
I'm not convinced they're doomed by the intricate triangle-ish offense or their obviously ineffective defensive schemes.
The Wolves might have some players with considerable skill (Love and Beasley come immediately to mind) but overall they're just too young and not physical enough or tough enough (mentally or physically) to handle an opponent with its share of developed, professional 30 year olds such as Shane Battier, Luis Scola and even a part-time Yao Ming.
The Wolves' oldest player -- 29-year-old Luke Ridnour -- is a point guard and he played 17 minutes before leaving the game late in the first half because of a hamstring that has bothered him more and more over the past week.
Their second oldest -- 25-year-old Darko Milicic -- certainly is no brute.
Even after the last few drafts, the Wolves don't have a long, muscular, athletic specimen like Rockets youngster Jordan HIll.
Nikola Pekovic will be a physical presence for them in time, but he's still learning the NBA game and he can't do it alone.
With the Lakers looming in Los Angeles on Tuesday, the Wolves are particularly in trouble at the point.
Jonny Flynn is still at least a week from making it back into a game -- and even then he'll have to catch up on his conditiioning at the very least -- and possibly two or three weeks away.
Ridnour is hurting. Sebastian Telfair is still playing with that shoulder taped. The Wolves tonight had to convert shooting guard Wayne Ellington to backup point guard a bit in the second half and they called upon little used Maurice Ager for only the second time this season.
Afterward, Mike Beasley said he'd play point guard if he had to.
Beasley, too, is still hurting some with that bruised hip. He played only four minutes in the fourth quarter and Kevin Love didn't play at all in the fourth on a night when he had his double-double at halftime and had 16 points and 16 rebounds by the time he sat down for the night in a 30-point game after three quarters.
Are the Wolves giving up in these games or are they simply overmatched against older, more physically and mentally developed opponents?
"I didn't see anybody giving up," Darko Milcic said. "I'm not going to say we don't play hard. We're just not on the same page on defense. When you're not on the same page, they get those open shots, get those easy layups, get that and-one stuff. That's what kills us."
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.