For the first time in this early 10-game sample, the Charlotte Hornets didn’t particularly show up Sunday.
Facing a Minnesota Timberwolves team on a four-game winning streak, the Hornets gave up a slew of open 3-pointers and were dominated on the boards in a 112-94 loss at Target Center. The Hornets dropped to 5-5 this season, and are 0-2 so far on a four-game road trip with games left against the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics.
The Wolves (6-3) made 10 of their first 19 attempts from outside the 3-point arc. They had a rebounding cushion of 10 or more throughout the second half.
Wolves point guard Jeff Teague finished with 18 points and 12 assists. Minnesota small forward Andrew Wiggins scored 19.
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Hornets point guard Kemba Walker, who shot 4-of-12 in Friday’s loss in San Antonio, went 4-of-15 Sunday. He finished with nine points and nine assists. Center Dwight Howard totaled 13 points and nine rebounds.
Three who mattered
Teague: He always gave the Hornets big trouble as an Atlanta Hawk, and he sure did Sunday with the Wolves.
Wiggins: He made eight of his first nine shots, when the Wolves built their lead.
Marvin Williams: He made three of his five 3-pointers.
▪ The Hornets were again without small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who missed his second game in a row with an excused personal absence. Coach Steve Clifford said at morning shootaround there is no timetable for Kidd-Gilchrist’s return, but the team might know better at practice Monday in New York.
▪ With point guard Michael Carter-Williams (sore knees) cleared medically to play, the Hornets sent Marcus Paige back to North Carolina Saturday, to play with the G-League Greensboro Swarm. Paige and big man Mangok Mathiang are playing on the NBA’s new two-way contracts and are expected to spend most of their seasons with the Swarm.
▪ Sunday was the second of a four-game road trip for the Hornets. Both opponents so far – the San Antonio Spurs and the Wolves – were playing the second game on back-to-back nights when they faced the Hornets. However, both sets of back-to-backs were home game followed by home game.
▪ Hornets television analyst (and franchise career scorer) Dell Curry got to see both his sons on this trip: Thursday, the Spurs played the Golden State Warriors (Stephen) and Saturday the Wolves played the Dallas Mavericks (Seth).
▪ After a rough start (averaging 16.5 turnovers in the first four games), the Hornets averaged 12.2 in the next five. They entered Sunday’s game with third-fewest in the league at 14.1. The Hornets have committed the fewest turnovers in the NBA in each of Clifford’s first four seasons in Charlotte.
▪ Backup point guard Carter-Williams made his first game appearance this season in the first half. He missed the first nine games with soreness in both knees.
▪ Walker went scoreless in the first quarter, missing four shots, but he totaled six assists that quarter.
▪ Rookie Malik Monk reached a career-high four assists in the second quarter.
B- OFFENSE: They had decent ball-movement, but not much else.
D DEFENSE: The Wolves got a bunch of open 3-pointers and outrebounded the Hornets by 16.
C- COACHING: No real bounce-back, after the annual loss in San Antonio.
Rick Bonnell: 704-358-5129, @rick_bonnell
Timberwolves 112, Hornets 94
CHARLOTTE (94)—Bacon 3-6 0-0 7, Williams 5-8 0-0 13, Howard 6-8 1-2 13, Walker 4-15 1-2 9, Lamb 5-10 1-2 13, O’Bryant III 0-3 0-0 0, Zeller 6-8 4-7 16, Kaminsky 3-11 1-2 8, Carter-Williams 0-3 0-2 0, Monk 2-8 1-2 6, Graham 3-7 2-2 9. Totals 37-87 11-21 94.
MINNESOTA (112)—Wiggins 8-12 3-5 20, Gibson 4-9 0-0 8, Towns 5-11 6-6 16, Teague 7-15 0-0 18, Butler 4-6 3-3 13, Muhammad 0-4 0-0 0, Georges-Hunt 0-1 0-0 0, Bjelica 1-2 3-4 5, Dieng 3-7 9-10 15, Aldrich 0-0 0-0 0, Brooks 1-1 0-0 2, Jones 0-3 0-0 0, Crawford 5-12 2-2 15. Totals 38-83 26-30 112.
3-Point Goals—Charlotte 9-28 (Williams 3-5, Lamb 2-4, Bacon 1-1, Graham 1-3, Monk 1-3, Kaminsky 1-4, Carter-Williams 0-1, O’Bryant III 0-2, Walker 0-5), Minnesota 10-24 (Teague 4-5, Crawford 3-7, Butler 2-2, Wiggins 1-2, Georges-Hunt 0-1, Jones 0-1, Muhammad 0-2, Towns 0-4). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Charlotte 38 (Howard, Zeller 9), Minnesota 54 (Dieng 11). Assists—Charlotte 24 (Walker 9), Minnesota 20 (Teague 12). Total Fouls—Charlotte 24, Minnesota 19. Technicals—Howard, Charlotte coach Hornets (Defensive three second). A—14,124 (19,356).