Despite Kevin Love’s issues with the Minnesota Timberwolves as a
franchise, the team has played well of late.
Not even the return of New Orleans’ prized rookie has helped the
Hornets end their latest slide.
The visiting Timberwolves look to match a season high with a
third straight victory and hand the Hornets a sixth consecutive
defeat Friday night.
Hours before Minnesota (10-9) beat Denver 108-105 on Wednesday
for its fifth win in seven games, Love tried to clarify his
comments from a recent Internet story in which he questioned
decisions made by team president David Kahn. Though Love stood by
what he said about Kahn’s building of the team and his complaint of
getting a four-year deal instead of the maximum five-year contract
extension last January, he remains happy with the team’s
Minnesota has averaged 97.9 points over the last seven games
after averaging 91.8 in losing each of its previous five.
“I’m not going to fall back and say I didn’t mean the things
that I said,” Love said prior to Wednesday’s victory. “I do
believe this is the closest-knit team that we have, the coaching
staff has been great and we have a chance to make something very
special this year and for years to come.”
Love was jeered by some Minnesota fans, and not entirely because
he shot 3 of 17 and had eight points to go with 14 rebounds against
the Nuggets. It was the worst shooting performance when attempting
at least eight shots in his career.
“If we can win and I can have a game like that, I’m not going to
be mad,” said Love, averaging 19.9 points and 14.2 boards in 10
games since missing the first nine with a broken hand. “I was very
With Love struggling, Nikola Pekovic had 22 points with 11
rebounds while Andrei Kirilenko scored 18 and J.J. Barea added 17,
eight assists and five rebounds as Minnesota set a season high for
“It was a team win,” Barea told the Timberwolves’ official
website. “Our star Kevin struggled a little bit, but everyone else
stepped up. That’s when a team becomes good.”
The Timberwolves have not played all that well lately against
the Hornets, averaging 86.8 points and shooting 39.2 percent in
losing two straight and three of four. Love, however, has averaged
30.0 points and 14.7 boards in the last three at New Orleans.
If the Hornets’ success versus Minnesota is to continue they
must snap a five-game skid in which they’ve averaged 84.8 points
and shot 41.1 percent. Though New Orleans (5-16) has had No. 1
overall pick Anthony Davis back for the last two contests after an
11-game absence due to a sore ankle, the results have been the
Brian Roberts scored 16 points off the bench while Davis added
11 in Wednesday’s 92-88 loss at Oklahoma City. The Hornets led by
11 late in the third quarter before the Thunder used a 16-2 run to
ultimately control the contest.
“I thought we competed,” New Orleans coach Monty Williams said.
“I thought we brought an edge. Obviously we lost the game, but when
we compete that way you give yourselves a chance.”
The Hornets will try to avoid matching their season high with a
fourth consecutive home loss Friday.
The Timberwolves learned Friday that guard Malcolm Lee, a
starter for 12 of the last 13 games, will be out indefinitely with
an injury to his right knee.