Mavericks 'run out of juice' against T'wolves

MINNEAPOLIS -- They left town Tuesday and wound up playing three games in four days and in two countries.

Unfortunately for the Dallas Mavericks, all the mileage they racked up did them little good. They came up empty-handed in all three games.

In celebrating the return of guard Ricky Rubio, the Minnesota Timberwolves made life a little more difficult for the Mavs as they bulled their way to a 114-106 overtime victory Saturday night at the Target Center.

The loss gives the Mavs an 11-13 record entering a two-game homestand that starts Tuesday against the Philadelphia 76ers.

But before the Mavs can think about the Sixers, they have to reflect on what transpired against the Timberwolves. Minnesota scored the first 10 points of overtime -- five by Andrei Kirilenko -- and the Mavs simply didn't have any counter-punches.

After getting blown out Friday night in Toronto, the Mavs, according to forward Shawn Marion "ran out of juice'' against Minnesota.

"But the way we started the game we shouldn't have ever been in that position," said Marion, who had 14 points and 10 rebounds. "We came out and we had them on their heels and we had them right where we wanted to and then it just seemed like we started turning the ball over again.

"And turnovers led to easy buckets for them and got the crowd going, and we couldn't stop them."

The Timberwolves led 70-55 early in the third period before the Mavs chased them down and actually were in position to win in regulation. But Dallas surrendered too many offensive rebounds to Minnesota, and that ended up being the Mavs' undoing.

Having Vince Carter and Derek Fisher foul out in regulation also crippled what the Mavs wanted to do on both ends of the floor. Carter fouled out with 3:11 left in the fourth period, and Fisher fouled out with 1:47 left and the Mavs up 100-98.

"We really fought hard to give ourselves a chance," coach Rick Carlisle said. "It's just disappointing.

"I give our guys a lot of credit for hanging in there and fighting back. We got worn down by manpower and having guys foul out."

This was the first game for Rubio after he had knee surgery on March 21. And he was made a significant impact with eight points and nine assists in 18 minutes.

"He fouled out our hottest player [in Fisher] on a hand-check call late in the game, so that was a big impact regardless of what else happened," Carlisle said. "He's a terrific player and he played well."

On losing both Carter and Fisher to fouls, Carlisle said: "It killed us, obviously."

On his foul on Rubio, Fisher said: "There wasn't a lot of contact there. There were a couple of calls earlier in the game that were more decisive that probably cost me as far as fouling out, but that's a part of the game and we had opportunities to get this game, and of course, I wish I could have still been out there in that overtime.''

It's the second loss to the Timberwolves this season, and both losses occurred when Minnesota was without superstar forward Kevin Love, who missed Saturday's game with flu-like symptoms.

But Nikola Pekovic (21 points, nine rebounds), Alexey Shved (18 points), Kirilenko (14 points, 10 rebounds) and Rubio more than made up for the loss of Love.

Meanwhile, Mavs forward Elton Brand, who collected 15 points and seven rebounds, acknowledged that the Mavs simply need to find a way to close out games.

"That's one of the last steps, finding a way not to put ourselves in positions that we're down 14 points, 13 points, 11 points and have to fight back," Brand said. "First of all we have to find a way not to have to fight uphill, and then we'll find a way to close."

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @DwainPrice

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