Impressive first-quarter scoring is a key reason why the
Minnesota Timberwolves are off to their best start in 12 years.
Kevin Love is another.
Love and the Timberwolves look to get off to another strong
start as they go for a fourth straight win Monday night against the
Minnesota (3-0) is off to its best start since winning the first
six games of 2001-02, and another productive first quarter could
help move them closer to that franchise record.
The Timberwolves are averaging a league-best 37.3 points while
hitting 55.2 percent from the floor – 8 of 16 from beyond the arc –
in the opening quarter through the first three games. They got off
to their best start yet Sunday, sinking 14 of 21 field goals to
score 40 points in the opening period of a 109-100 victory at New
“This is such a fun team to play on,” said guard Kevin Martin,
who had a season-high 30 points while making all five 3-pointers.
“Nobody is trying to lead the league in scoring here. Everybody has
the big picture of getting to the playoffs.”
A healthy Love would surely help after he was limited to 18
games last season due to various injuries, including a twice-broken
The All-Star forward seems to have put those injuries behind
him, averaging 29.7 points and 14.7 rebounds while making 50.0
percent from the floor – 8 for 21 from 3-point range – this
He had a season-high 34 points, 15 boards and five assists
against the Knicks.
“We don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves because of the
injuries,” Love said. “So don’t want to live in the past, don’t
want to live too far in the future, we just want to try to plan for
Love had 36 points and 13 rebounds in a 91-73 home win over the
Cavaliers on Dec. 7. Minnesota completed the season sweep without
him Feb. 11, winning 100-92 at Cleveland behind Ricky Rubio’s 13
points, 10 assists and five steals.
The point guard, though, is coming off his worst performance of
the season, making 3 of 11 from the field to finish with eight
points and 10 assists.
The Cavaliers (1-2) hope to avoid a third straight loss after a
season-opening 98-94 home win over Brooklyn.
They turned in their worst offensive performance of the season
Saturday, shooting 34.9 percent from the floor – including 3 of 15
from long range – in an 89-74 loss at Indiana.
Still, coach Mike Brown came away feeling positive.
“As crazy as this sounds, I thought (Saturday) was our best
offensive night, from the standpoint that the ball moved and bodies
moved,” he said. “Just watching the game, I thought we tried to
play with some flow.
“I thought we tried to move the basketball. We had weak-side
shots open. We had more of those than any other time.”
Like the Cavs, Kyrie Irving is off to a slow start, averaging
15.3 points and 7.0 assists. The point guard averaged 22.5 points
and 5.9 assists last season, and was a first-time All-Star.
Irving had 20 points and seven assists against the Timberwolves
on Feb. 11, while Dion Waiters made all six of his shots to finish
with 12 points.
Minnesota has won four of five against Cleveland after a
nine-game losing streak in the series.