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Nets clobbered by Timberwolves as Lopez and Young sit out, 132-118

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Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Brooklyn Nets or Long Island Nets?

The 18-win (Brooklyn) Nets strutted into Minnesota, coming off an OT victory in Denver, then rested Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young and lost, 132-118, Saturday night at Minnesota.

You can't accuse the Nets of tanking because don't have their pick!

Instead, it looked like a strategy we may see more more - now that Sean Marks arrived: audition and develop the young guns.

Despite a solid offensive night from the Nets reconstructed frontcourt, Karl-Anthony Towns torched the defense and went off for 28 points on 14-of-18 shooting. Andrew Wiggins had 26 points on 10-of-14 shooting and Zach Lavine chipped in 21.  For the Nets, FOUR players had career highs: Markel Brown (23), Sean Kilpatrick (19), Thomas Robinson (18) and Willie Reed (14).

And surprise. It turns out interior defense is something the Nets lack without Lopez and Young. How bad was it? The T-Wolves' 68.4 shooting percentage Saturday was the highest in the NBA in 18 years.  It was also the highest allowed by a Nets team in 30 years.

The Nets are 4-5 since the All-Star break (and Marks took over) and 3-3 since they waived Joe Johnson.

This one started spiraling out of control right from the start. The Nets didn't have issues scoring, but struggled mightily on the defensive end where the Wolves scored 37 points in the first quarter on 74 percent (!) shooting off 14 assists.

In the second quarter, the horrid defense continued as the Wolves jumped out on a 15-2 run and extended their lead to 22 following a 31-point quarter.

The Nets didn't give up and behind a nice lift from Kilpatrick and Brown, they jumped out on a 12-3 run to start the fourth and cut the deficit down to eight. They failed to capitalize, couldn't get a stop and the Wolves turned it into a blowout finish.

Prior to tonight, Lopez had played 121 games straight since recovering from the third surgery on his right foot. Only 10 guys were active. Bojan Bogdanovic is now the only Net who's played all 63 games.

Quick evaluations for their youngsters' auditions ... a lot of milestones beyond scoring.

  • Bogdanovic, who's averaged 17 points in the last five games, was the focal point of Brooklyn's offense early. He finished the night with just eight points on 4-of-11 shooting. It was a nice opportunity for Bogdanovic to be the big fish in a little pond, but he proved his inconsistency once again.

  • Brown topped his previous career-high set last night with a new career-high 23 points in 29 mintues.

  • In his fifth career start, Robinson had his best game as a Net with a 18 points (career-high), 17 rebounds (season-high), team-high five assists and four steals. He also had 6 turnovers.

  • WReed: In his FIRST career start, Willie Reed grasped the opportunity and had a career night with 14 points (career-high), eight rebounds (career-high) and four blocked shots (career-high).

  • Kilpatrick is a man on a mission. Tonight was his second-to-last game on a 10-day contract. He, along with Reed, recorded a career-high 19 points in 26 minutes. He's seven for his last 14 from three. In other words, SIGN THE MAN TO ANOTHER 10-DAY!

  • McCullough was quiet with two points and five rebounds in 16 minutes.

  • Larkin received most of the minutes at point guard for a second straight night and chipped in 18 points off the bench.

The Nets came into tonight shooting 42 percent from three on the circus road-trip. They hit nine of 26 attempts (35 percent) tonight compared to Minnesota's 10 three-pointers and 36 assists. The Nets had just 19 assists. They had 18 in the first half vs. Denver.

Rule of the night: Don't sit out Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young when you're 18-44. It probably won't end well.

Next up: Toronto Raptors, Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

For more on the Minnesota Timberwolves, check them out at Canis Hoopus.