Rick Adelman has seen this before, just not recently. But it all comes back so quickly. The matchup problems, the pattern of mistakes, the emotional letdowns ...

Hey, welcome back! It's like riding a bicycle, except uphill, at night, in a wintry mix.

"It comes down to the same thing," Adelman lamented Wednesday night, Jan. 30, after the Timberwolves' 96-90 loss to the rugged Los Angeles Clippers. "We can't hang our heads when things start going in the other direction."

The Wolves actually played pretty well in Adelman's first game back. They even were clinging to a lead with four minutes left. That was an accomplishment considering that they were getting clobbered by 11 points midway through the third quarter. That's when Adelman let them have it during a timeout.

Look, he told them, you've got two choices here. You can give up or you can fight back. That's probably the abridged version, as related by the coach afterward. Duly inspired, they opted for the latter.

"We missed him," Ricky Rubio said. "He is a great coach and has a lot of experience, and he gives us confidence. He knows how to run plays when we are lost."

Well, he's had a lot of practice there.

"No question any time you get your coach back it feels a little different," J.J. Barea said.

Meanwhile, Terry Porter returned to his role as an assistant, safely shielded from the front lines of basketball purgatory. He appeared to bear no visible scars from his stint as interim head coach.