Rapid Reaction: Timberwolves 90, Mavs 82

How it happened: To put it simply, it was a miserable performance by the Mavericks.

They shot the ball poorly. The Mavs shot a season-low 36.3 percent from the floor.

They struggled to stop the Timberwolves, who have been hit even harder by injuries than the Mavs. Minnesota shot 46.2 percent from the floor despite missing five key players, including All-Star power forward and budding star point guard Ricky Rubio. And a sixth T-Wolf went down late in the third, when center Nikola Pekovic turned his ankle after scoring 20 points in 28 minutes.

And the Mavs got dominated on the glass again. Minnesota had a 49-35 rebounding advantage.

Not a single Mavs starter had anything close to a positive plus-minus. None of the frontcourt starters played more than 17 minutes, with Elton Brand, Brandan Wright and Jae Crowder combining to grab a grand total of four rebounds. Before a too-late rally, the Mavs were outscored by 19 with guards Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo on the floor.

No wonder Mavs coach Rick Carlisle didn’t want to stick around to watch the end of the game. Carlisle got tossed with 5:00 remaining after picking up two quick technical fouls for arguing an end-of-the-shot-clock foul against Mayo that sent Alexey Shved to the free-throw line.

What it means: The 4-4 Mavs are a mess right now. They’ve lost three in a row after their surprising 4-1 start. A Dallas offense that was a thing of beauty in the first five games is seriously sputtering. When forced to slow down, the Mavs look like a bunch of non-go-to guys in the process of getting to know each other.

Play of the game: Minnesota forward Derrick Williams blew by Wright for a highlight-reel slam dunk in the first quarter. Williams beat Wright with a baseline spin move, took off and soared across the lane to throw it down with his left hand on the other side of the rim.

Stat of the night: The Timberwolves’ European starters (Pekovic and Andrei Kirilenko) outscored the Mavs in the first quarter, 18-17. That duo matched the Mavs’ rebounding total in that quarter with 10.