Love and 3s help Timberwolves rout Bucks 117-95
Kevin Love had both feet soaking in a bucket of cold water and
ice packs wrapped around his knees. A knee to the thigh might have
stung him the most, but his sixth straight double-double made up
for the brief burst of pain.
Love had 33 points and 15 rebounds, Nikola Pekovic added 19
points and 11 boards, and the Minnesota Timberwolves climbed back
to .500 by routing the Milwaukee Bucks 117-95 on Saturday
”I’ll be good to go. Once they called a timeout and worked on
it, it was fine,” Love said.
Good thing for Minnesota (15-15), which won its second straight
game behind another stellar outing from Love.
”He wakes up getting double-doubles,” said teammate Kevin
Martin, who had 20 points.
Love hit four of Minnesota’s 11 3-pointers and the Timberwolves
pulled away with a 14-0 run to start the second half. Perimeter
defense was once again a huge problem for the Bucks, who have
allowed opponents to hit at least 10 3s in seven consecutive
Khris Middleton scored 23 points on 10-of-20 shooting for the
Bucks, who fell to an NBA-worst 6-24. Larry Sanders had nine points
and 10 rebounds in 33 minutes, his first start since missing seven
weeks following right thumb surgery.
”We were just kind of deflated. We didn’t get our momentum
back,” Sanders said. ”We got a little in the first half, lost it
for a second, and just never got it back. That’s the story of the
Minnesota had an easy time snapping a three-game losing streak
away from home. Martin smiled after his shot from the wing bounced
on the rim a couple of times before falling through the net for a
24-point lead with 4:32 left in the third quarter.
The Timberwolves led by as many as 31 before the Bucks mounted a
late charge. It was nerve-racking enough that coach Rick Adelman
put Love back on the floor late to ensure the Bucks didn’t complete
an improbable comeback.
If there was anything for Adelman to worry about from this
blowout heading into a three-game stretch at home, it was the play
of his bench late.
”When they go in, no matter what the score is, they have to
play like the game is on the line,” he said.
If only Milwaukee could have contained Minnesota from the
perimeter. The Timberwolves, the league’s third-highest scoring
team (106.1 points per game) shot 45 percent from 3-point territory
after hitting at a 33 percent clip for the season.
A nine-point halftime lead climbed to double digits following a
14-0 run to start the third quarter.
Corey Brewer (12 points) got the fun started by freezing rookie
Giannis Antetokounmpo on the perimeter and hitting an
Martin hit a 3 from the wing to make it 73-55 with 9:33 left
after getting a pass from Brewer. Martin was so open that Brewer
raised both arms in the air in celebration as he backpedaled on
defense before the ball floated through the net.
Halfcourt defense and ball movement sparked the Timberwolves,
while Bucks coach Larry Drew said his team got broken down off the
dribble and beaten on back cuts.
”We got caught a couple of times staring at the ball and they
just back-cut us,” Drew said. ”Nothing we weren’t ready for, we
just didn’t get the job done.”
O.J. Mayo’s 3 with 7:26 left finally ended the slide, but the
offensively challenged Bucks were still saddled with a 20-point
deficit. Milwaukee came in 28th in the league in scoring at 92.6
points per game.
Mayo finished with 19 points. The Bucks had 20 turnovers,
leading to 25 points for Minnesota.
NOTES: Bucks C John Henson had to celebrate his birthday on the
bench with a left leg injury. Henson, who turned 23, said he
thought he might have a high ankle sprain, though he is supposed to
undergo more tests to determine exactly what’s ailing him. It is
unclear how long he might be out. … F Luc Richard Mbah a Moute,
drafted by the Bucks in 2008, returned to Milwaukee for the first
time since being traded in the offseason to Sacramento. The Kings
traded him to Minnesota last month for F Derrick Williams.
Follow Genaro Armas at http://twitter.com/GArmasAP