(Sports Network) – The Minnesota Timberwolves have been more competitive lately but Kurt Rambis’ team still needs to learn how to finish games. Tonight should be a good opportunity as the Wolves entertain a woeful Los Angeles Clippers club off to its worst start in 12 years.
The Timberwolves are coming off a pair of tight losses on the road, losing by six points to Atlanta on Sunday and following that up by falling 113-110 in Charlotte on Monday when Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace both finished with 26 points for the Bobcats.
Michael Beasley netted 28 points and Kevin Love finished with 20 points and nine rebounds for the Wolves, who have lost six of their past eight overall.
Darko Milicic contributed 13 points and 12 rebounds while Anthony Tolliver chipped in 13 points in a reserve role in defeat.
“We have to go through the pain and suffering of making mistakes and gaining the experience and being in this situation multiple times,” Rambis said of his young club.
Minnesota, which is 2-2 at Target Center on the year, will finish a quick two- game homestand against the two-time defending champion LA Lakers on Friday.
The Clippers, who are kicking off a two-game road trip tonight, continue to struggle mightily and lost their sixth consecutive game on Monday when Brook Lopez netted 24 points and Travis Outlaw added 23, as the New Jersey Nets ended a 23-game losing streak against the Western Conference with a 110-96 victory over the Clips.
Eric Gordon scored a game-high 30 points, while rookies Eric Bledsoe and Al- Farouq Aminu deposited 15 and 14 points, respectively, for the Clippers, who fell to an NBA worst 1-10 on the year and are off to their worst start since opening the 1998-99 campaign 0-17.
“We have a lot of young guys trying to find their way with our veterans out,” Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said, referring to Chris Kaman and Baron Davis both sitting on the sideline with injuries. “We have a ways to go. We made too many mistakes.”
The Wolves should get a boost tonight with the expected return of starting point guard Luke Ridnour, who has missed the past five games with a strained left hamstring.
Minnesota snapped a three-game skid to the Clippers by winning the last contest in the series, a 111-97 triumph last January in the Twin Cities.