The Minnesota Timberwolves tried to go into the All-Star break on a positive note, but with Karl-Anthony Towns being ruled out with a wrist injury before tipoff, they couldn't hold onto a double-digit lead as they fell to the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night by a score of 115-108.
The Timberwolves got off to a great start in the first quarter and while they didn't have Towns' services, they did have Juancho Hernangomez, who stepped up in the absence of their star center.
Hernangomez had seven points and five rebounds in the first quarter alone and while he provided the muscle in the paint, Josh Okogie and Malik Beasley, who scored 25 points on the night, brought the scoring touch from the outside and the Timberwolves took a 36-28 lead after the first quarter.
Meanwhile, D'Angelo Russell was able to put on a show in his first game for the Timberwolves at Target Center. As someone who bought 1,000 tickets along with Towns for fans to catch the game, Russell scored 10 points and recorded seven assists in the first half and finished with 26 points, 11 assists and six rebounds as the Wolves took a 66-50 lead into the locker room at halftime.
But the lead, which swelled to 18 points, wouldn't last long. The Hornets made a charge behind Devonte Graham, who had a game-high 28 points, Malik Monk, who had 25 points off the bench and Bismack Biyombo, who had a double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds to cut Minnesota's lead down to 87-81 after three quarters.
Charlotte made their move at the beginning of the fourth quarter to take a four-point lead over the Wolves and although Minnesota traded blows with the Hornets down the stretch, they couldn't find an answer for Graham as the Wolves took their 15th loss in the past 16 games.
The Timberwolves will now go into the All-Star break with a record 16-37 and will return to action on Feb. 21 when they host the Boston Celtics.