NBA

Fri, Nov 23, 2012 - 10:00 PM ET
Game Preview
 

Timberwolves-Trail Blazers Preview

Share This Story

   
 

The Minnesota Timberwolves got their franchise player back ahead of schedule, and he certainly didn't disappoint.

His team did once again.

Minnesota looks for a similar performance from Kevin Love but a different result Friday, trying to avoid a fourth consecutive loss as it travels to face the Portland Trail Blazers.

Love was a surprise activation prior to Wednesday's game against Denver, though his return didn't immediately change the Timberwolves' recent fortune as they lost 101-94. The two-time All-Star came back much earlier than expected - he was supposed to miss six to eight weeks when he broke his right hand Oct. 18 - and gave Minnesota (5-5) a boost with 34 points and 14 rebounds.

"I didn't want to make a big deal about it," Love said. "I told my teammates, and they didn't really believe me. Once they saw a jersey in my locker, they believed it was true."

After missing his team's first nine games, Love wasn't at full strength though he started strong with 16 points on 7-for-12 shooting in the first quarter. He missed six free throws, shot 2 of 9 from 3-point range and often was seen flexing his injured hand.

"I haven't even practiced, so I just kind of threw myself into the game hoping something good was going to happen," Love said. "I missed some free throws, missed some 3s that I don't usually miss."

Still, his scoring and rebounding totals were more than any teammate tallied in either category all season as the Timberwolves lost their third straight - all at home - following a 5-2 start.

J.J. Barea and Nikola Pekovic both returned from more minor injuries and were Love's only teammates to score in double figures with 12 and 10, respectively. Pekovic (14.6 per game) and Andrei Kirilenko (13.4) have been the leading scorers for Minnesota, which is still missing Ricky Rubio, Brandon Roy and Chase Budinger due to knee problems.

"You've got to be able to go to other players rather than just him (Love)," coach Rick Adelman said.

Portland (5-6) had won three straight before committing a season-high 22 turnovers in a 114-87 loss at Phoenix on Wednesday. The Trail Blazers let the Suns hit 59.7 percent from the field and are allowing a league-worst 50.1 for the season.

That's far from the only area in which they've had trouble.

Their bench is the worst in the NBA at 12.8 points per game, and no team in the last 25 years has averaged fewer than 18.0 in a season. Portland has been outscored in the paint in all but one game, including 54-24 by the Suns.

"That is a strength of theirs and not necessarily our strength so I did probably anticipate a differential but not 30," coach Terry Stotts said. "It's not all effort. It's being mentally engaged."

The Trail Blazers had won 16 in a row in this series before losing the first two meetings last season. They did win the most recent matchup, 119-106 on April 1 as LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum combined for 50 points. That duo was held to a total of 25 in Wednesday's loss.

Love averaged 32.3 points in last season's three meetings. His 42 points in Portland on March 3 helped give Minnesota its only win in its last 13 trips there.

Tagged: Timberwolves, Trail Blazers, Kevin Love

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by


NBA Videos

NBA considering mid-season Vegas tournament? Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Adam Silver confirms the NBA has engaged in early conversations about the possib...

LeBron and Blatt 'will work together beautifully' Posted: Jul 14, 2014
Cavaliers head coach David Blatt on LeBron James' decision to return to Clevelan...

LeBron's back and so are the Cavs Posted: Jul 11, 2014
FOX Sports 1's Gary Payton weighs-in on LeBron's decision to return to Cleveland...

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    adidas Blake Griffin Los Angeles Clippers Revolution 30 Performance Jersey - Red http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Los_Angeles_Clippers/browse/featuredproduct/491845/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_491000/ff_491845_xl.jpg&w=100 59.95 adidas Blake Griffin Los Angeles Clippers Revolution 30 Performance Jersey - Red
    adidas LeBron James Miami Heat Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey-Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Heat/browse/featuredproduct/498609/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_498000/ff_498609_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas LeBron James Miami Heat Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey-Black
    adidas Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Knicks/browse/featuredproduct/620470/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_620000/ff_620470_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 adidas Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey..
    Mitchell & Ness San Antonio Spurs Black Solid Script Snapback Adjustable Hat http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Antonio_Spurs/browse/featuredproduct/692239/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_692000/ff_692239_xl.jpg&w=100 25.95 Mitchell & Ness San Antonio Spurs Black Solid Script Snapback Adjustable Hat
    Majestic Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Logo Man T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Los_Angeles_Lakers/browse/featuredproduct/851828/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_851000/ff_851828_xl.jpg&w=100 23.95 Majestic Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Logo Man T-Shirt - Black
    Majestic Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder Logo Man T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_City_Thunder/browse/featuredproduct/851842/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_851000/ff_851842_xl.jpg&w=100 23.95 Majestic Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder Logo Man T-Shirt - White
    adidas Miami Heat 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Heat/browse/featuredproduct/890174/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_890000/ff_890174_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 adidas Miami Heat 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Wh..
    adidas Oklahoma City Thunder 2012 NBA Western Conference Champions Locker Room Flex Hat - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_City_Thunder/browse/featuredproduct/890384/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_890000/ff_890384_xl.jpg&w=100 19.99 adidas Oklahoma City Thunder 2012 NBA Western Conference Champions Locker Room F..