Mavericks-Timberwolves Preview

The Dallas Mavericks didn’t see Kevin Love during his

injury-plagued 2012-13, but they have seen plenty from him already

this season.

Love looks to record his NBA-best 28th double-double Monday

night and help the Minnesota Timberwolves improve to 3-0 this

season against the visiting Mavericks.

The star power forward now has six straight double-doubles after

he had 33 points, 15 rebounds and six assists in Saturday’s 117-95

victory at Milwaukee. The effort came even though Love had both

feet soaking in a bucket of cold water and ice packs wrapped around

his knees before the contest.

”He wakes up getting double-doubles,” teammate Kevin Martin

said.

Love is averaging 30.7 points, 14.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists

over his last six games, failing by one assist to record his first

career triple-double in one game within this run.

“He’s really an intelligent player,” coach Rick Adelman said.

“He sees the floor and so I think he’s just gotten his teammates

much better and he’s playing much better as a team defender, so I

think that’s just a growth he needs to make.”

Dallas (17-13) and Minnesota (15-15) split four meetings last

season, with Love missing all of them due to a broken right hand

and a knee injury.

Love is averaging 26.5 points on 51.4 percent shooting along

with 13.0 rebounds per game and 5.0 assists per contest in two wins

over the Mavericks this season. His 32-point, 15-rebound,

eight-assist performance in a 116-108 home victory Nov. 8 caused

Dallas coach Rick Carlisle to compare him to an NFL quarterback for

his passing ability.

The Mavericks have been outrebounded both times against the

Timberwolves and have also had trouble slowing down Martin, who has

averaged 29.5 points while getting to the free-throw line 21 times.

Martin is 6 of 11 from the 3-point line in the season series.

The Wolves are seeking their first three-game win streak since a

3-0 start along with a season-high fourth straight home win.

Dallas cruised in the opener of a three-game trip Saturday with

a 105-83 victory over Chicago. The Mavericks scored 61 first-half

points and led by as many as 32.

”There is no doubt that we played well,” Carlisle said. ”When

we rebound and defend like that, we are a formidable team.”

Monta Ellis scored 22 and Dirk Nowitzki and reserve Vince Carter

each added 18 for the Mavs, who are seeking their first three-game

road win streak.

”We were locked in from the jump and we didn’t have to play

catch-up, and I think that’s good for our team,” Carter said. ”We

had to bring more energy and we had to do it from the beginning. We

had to hit those guys first because they do a great job of trying

to take teams out of their game early.”

Ellis is averaging 24.5 points in the season series while

Nowitzki is shooting 62.5 percent and averaging 18.5 points.

Point guard Jose Calderon missed the last meeting with a bone

bruise on his right ankle and will have to be wary of counterpart

and Spanish compatriot Ricky Rubio, who leads the Western

Conference with 2.8 steals per game.