Preview: Wolves vs. Nets

These teams have split their last six meetings, with the Nets winning 122-106 at Minnesota on March 16 in the most recent one.

David Sherman/NBAE/Getty Images

Sometimes Timberwolves interim coach Sam Mitchell will lose it these days, letting young players have it in frustrated postgame addresses. More often, he tries to take a deep breath and remind himself about the youthful inexperience of his team. The lumps they’re taking now are part of a painful but necessary process, one which continues Sunday night on the road against the Brooklyn Nets.

"I have to rein myself in sometimes," Mitchell said. "Sometimes I get a little overzealous or excited when we beat Atlanta, beat Chicago, beat some of these teams. I have to remind myself that Andrew Wiggins is 20. Zach LaVine, Karl-Anthony Towns, guys we’re leaning on are 20 years old. But I’m pleased that we’re getting better. I think everyone can see that."

The Timberwolves were one of the surprise teams of the league early in the season after getting off to an 8-8 start that included impressive road wins at Atlanta, Chicago and Miami. The flurry had their long-suffering fans – who haven’t watched their team play in a playoff game since 2004 – hopeful that the longest-running postseason drought in the league was coming to an end.

They have lost eight of 10 games since then, dropping down to 10-16 and 12th place in the muddled Western Conference with home losses to Denver, Portland and Orlando in that stretch.

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The Timberwolves, and many executives and coaches around the league, believe the end of those struggles is near. Wiggins and Towns – the last two No. 1 overall picks – look like future stars. LaVine has made huge strides as a combo guard. Add in Muhammad, Gorgui Dieng and Ricky Rubio and the Wolves have one of the most promising young cores in the league.

The Nets (7-19) aren’t doing any better. They’ve lost four straight overall and eight in a row on the road.

Their road record fell to 1-12 with Friday’s 104-97 defeat at Indiana despite Jarrett Jack’s 26 points, two off his season high. Jack was 3 of 6 from 3-point range following a 4-of-18 slump.

Brooklyn is the league’s worst 3-point shooting team at 31.3 percent, also ranking last in 3s made (130) and attempted (416).

These teams have split the last six meetings, with the Nets winning 122-106 at Minnesota on March 16 in the most recent one.

An injured Garnett missed that game, so this will be his first playing against the team with which he spent a disappointing year and a half before being traded to the Timberwolves for Thaddeus Young at last season’s trade deadline.