The Minnesota Timberwolves and the New Orleans Pelicans both had problems on offense in losses on Sunday.
They’ll both try to get them ironed out when they meet Tuesday night in New Orleans.
The Wolves missed 11 of their first 12 shots and never recovered in a 111-91 home loss to Dallas, which was playing without All-Star guard Luka Doncic. Minnesota shot just 36.4 percent for the game.
“Where we are, we’ve got to come out with a more competitive mindset early on,” Minnesota coach Ryan Saunders told reporters after the game. “We tried to do it on our own a little more than we had been doing in the past.
“We dug ourselves a hole defensively and offensively early, and I didn’t see it as guys doing it maliciously as much as guys wanting to try to fight their way out of a hole. We just couldn’t get anything going within the flow of the game.”
The Wolves went scoreless for the first 3:20 of the second quarter and the first 3:37 of the third quarter.
“It was flat,” forward James Johnson said. “It wasn’t us. They played harder and we can’t have that. It’s as simple as that.”
Minnesota revamped its roster at the trading deadline and its offense has mostly been effective since then. Sunday’s game ended a streak of 24 straight games in which the Wolves had scored at least 100 points.
“We should be energized to play every game,” Johnson said. “We should be ready to play every game.”
The Pelicans did a better job of scoring than did the Wolves, but outside shooting eventually made the difference in a 122-114 home loss to the Lakers, who played without All-Star and former Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (knee).
The Lakers made 51.5 percent of their shots (50 of 97) and the Pelicans made 42.1 percent of theirs (40 of 95). L.A. made 37.1 percent of its 3-pointers (13 of 35) and New Orleans made 21.9 percent of its long-range shots (7 of 32).
“We did have shots that we’re capable of making, especially the 3-point shots,” coach Alvin Gentry said. “We end up (making seven). We probably had another eight that we were capable of making and just didn’t get them to go in tonight.”
The Pelicans have made fewer than 10 3-pointers in each of their last three games, their longest such streak this season. Their best 3-point shooter, guard JJ Redick, will miss at least seven more games after suffering a hamstring strain in a win against Cleveland last Friday.
All-Star forward Brandon Ingram had just 15 points against the Lakers, going 5-for-23 from the floor, including going 1 of 9 on 3-pointers.
“I think I get so hyped up in these games and tend to force some shots instead of letting the game come to me,” Ingram said.
The biggest exception to the Pelicans’ shooting woes was rookie Zion Williamson, who worked around the basket and at the free-throw line to score a season-high 35 points. He made 12 of 16 field-goal attempts, didn’t attempt a 3-pointer and hit 11 of 13 free throws.
“I just kind of got into my spots and let my teammates know where I was going to be at certain points and they just found me,” Williamson said.
The Pelicans beat the host Wolves in the only meeting this season in December. The teams finish their season series on Sunday at Minnesota.
–Field Level Media