Brooklyn Nets guard Ben Simmons against the Minnesota Timberwolves on...

Brooklyn Nets guard Ben Simmons against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday. Credit: AP/Abbie Parr

MINNEAPOLIS — Something had to give Saturday night with the Nets’ anemic offense and the Timberwolves on the second night of a back-to-back.

In a game that didn’t feature either team at its best, Minnesota broke open a close game in the fourth quarter and beat the Nets, 101-86, at Target Center.

The Nets (21-35) have lost four straight games and seven of the last eight. They are 0-2 under interim coach Kevin Ollie.

Ben Simmons, who had four points, eight rebounds and three steals, left the game with 8:02 remaining in the third quarter and did not return. The Nets ruled him out with left leg soreness.

Ollie said Simmons will undergo further evaluation, and there’s no word yet on his availability for Monday’s game against the Grizzlies. Simmons declined to comment while leaving the locker room.

Through three quarters, the combined 136 points represented the fewest by the Nets and their opponent all season. The Timberwolves led 70-66, and they went on to outscore the Nets 31-20 in the fourth quarter.

The Nets got within 80-78 in the fourth quarter on a layup by Nic Claxton, but a 9-0 Timberwolves run put the game out of reach.

Anthony Edwards had 29 points, 11 in the fourth quarter, and Karl-Anthony Towns had 28 for the Western Conference-leading Timberwolves (40-17), who won despite the absence of center Rudy Gobert, out with a left ankle sprain.

Cam Thomas led the Nets with 18 points but was 0-for-5 from three-point range. Mikal Bridges had 15 points and a season-high eight assists but was 1-for-11 from beyond the arc.

Cam Johnson came off the bench for the third consecutive game and finished with 10 points despite shooting 2-for-9.

For the second game under Ollie, the Nets’ offense struggled to find any rhythm. They shot 33.7% from the field (35-for-104), including 6-for-35 from three-point range, and tied for their second-lowest scoring total this season despite recording 16 offensive rebounds to the Timberwolves’ six. They also recorded a season low for made threes.

The Nets’ starters didn’t make a three-pointer until Dorian Finney-Smith hit one with 4:06 remaining.

“We liked the looks,” said Finney-Smith, who had 11 points and shot 4-for-9. “I feel like Mikal got great looks . . . Cam got some great looks, [Cam Johnson] got great looks. If they give us those shots again, we’ll be in great hands.”

Even with the absence of Gobert, a defensive player of the year candidate, the Nets felt the sting of the Timberwolves’ No. 1-rated defense. Minnesota had nine blocks, including three by Naz Reid.

A physical first quarter seemed to favor the Nets, who have thrived in slower-paced games. They took a 22-12 lead, but with an all-bench lineup, they gave up an 11-0 run to end the first quarter.

The run went to 14-0 in the second quarter before Finney-Smith made a pair of free throws.

The Nets said they wanted to improve on transition defense but failed to slow down the Timberwolves, who had 16 fast-break points at halftime and finished with 25 to the Nets’ six.

Said Ollie, “They were making shots and we weren’t. It just comes down to that sometimes.”

He added, “We just got to make sure that we make those shots and I think it’ll turn it around. I don’t think the execution was bad tonight and I thought we got better from the Toronto game.”

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