The Minnesota Timberwolves used a 9-2 run from the 5:35 mark of the second quarter through the 3:22 mark of the period to go up by 11 to help create distance en route to a 90-82 victory over the Dallas Mavericks. With the loss, the Mavericks are now in the midst of a three-game losing streak. Dallas shot a season-low 36.3 percent from the field vs Minnesota. Their previous season low is 37.6 percent at Utah on 10/31/12. They also scored a season-low 82 points in the loss. Their previous low for points this year was 94 (at Utah on 10/31 and at New York on 11/9).
Darren Collison led Dallas in scoring with a season-high 21 points to go along with five assists in 33 minutes. He went 11-for-12 at the line, posting new career highs for free throws made and attempted (was nine free throws made and 11 attemped). He led Dallas in scoring for the third time this season. Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic tallied 20 points, six rebounds, three assists and one steal in 28 minutes before leaving the game with a sprained left ankle.
Play of the game: Hmmm, I’ll get back to you on that one…
Here is the full quoteboard for the Minnesota victory over Dallas.
On his frustration level: “I just know I’ve got to coach these guys harder, and keep getting them better. It’s tough. We got carved up in the first half. Our effort wasn’t where it needed to be. I thought we tried hard in the second and the results were still not good. It’s tough right now. We’ve just got to keep at it.”
Challenges for the team: “We’re giving up too much dribble penetration, and we’re not rebounding. That’s the thing that’s killing us. If we can get stops and rebounds, our offense will pick up.”
Pekovic: “He was manhandling us on the inside. We were giving up penetration on the perimeter and we weren’t rebound – that’s three bad things. We’ve got to keep working. I’m not going to complain about it. We are we are. We’ve got work to do.”
What went wrong: “We weren’t trying hard enough in the first half…In a game like tonight, it feels like a zillion miles from being a good team. We’re not as far away as it feels. We’ve just got to keep working. We’ve got to stick together. It’s as simple as that.”
Shots not going down after a nice hot streak: “That’s how this league is. You’re going to have nights where you miss or the opponent is going to miss shots they’re not going to normally not miss. The law of averages is the only thing that holds you consistent in games is defense and rebounding. You’ve got defend and rebound to give yourself a chance in this league.”
Summing it up: “When you don’t [defend and rebound], the ugly can happen and tonight it happened.”
On Elton Brand: “He’s been great in terms of his approach. It’s a long season. He’ll get there.”
How the rotation looks: “We’ve given this sort of rotation a good, long look. We may have to change it up. I’ll have to look at the film and see.”
The game: “I just feel like we weren’t making shots today. We didn’t make shots that we normally make…Tonight just didn’t go our way.”
The effort: “It’s how you win and how you lose sometimes, and I don’t think we’re satisfied with our effort.”
Summing it up: “I don’t think we were as good as it seemed earlier and we’re not as bad as it seems right now…It was kind of fool’s gold. We weren’t rebounding, weren’t doing certain things to be elite teams.”
Defense: “We tend to play the first 15, 16 seconds tough but when it gets down in the shot-clock, we get a little relaxed…We’ve got to play the entire possession out.”
A three-game losing streak off a three-game winning streak: “It’s not the end of the world. At the same time, we’ve got to continue to get better. We can’t stay the same…We’ve just got to get back to the drawing board and get better.”
What the team has to do to improve: “We have to play desperate basketball every night. We’re not one of the best teams. We have the ability to be, but we just have to play harder than teams.”
On the shots not going down against Minnesota: “We’re executing. We’re just not hitting shots. We’re getting the shots we want, but we’re making some boneheaded mistakes on both ends of the floor.”
What has to happen to end the losing streak: “We have to keep competing, scrapping and diving on the floor. Throw your body on the floor and see what happens. I’m willing to do it, so we’ve all got to just buy into it. We have to compete like that to win games right now.”
What has changed since the losing streak: “I don’t think we’re playing with the same amount of confidence…Now, execution is the key. We have to continue to just believe.”
Bryan Gutierrez writes about sportsmen. He is a contributing writer for Mavs.com. Bryan also attended Ball So Hard University. You can follow him on Twitter @BallinWithBryan.