Kevin Love has been on a torrid run in March and the Minnesota
Timberwolves will need of more of that from him as they press on
without Ricky Rubio.
Love and the Timberwolves continue a seven-game road trip
Thursday night against the Utah Jazz.
With Rubio out for the season with a torn ACL, Minnesota’s
chances of making the playoffs rest primarily on keeping Love
healthy and productive.
While Love missed last Friday’s game against the Los Angeles
Lakers with back problems, he continued his hot stretch during the
next two games. Love scored 31 points in Sunday’s loss to New
Orleans – the team’s first without Rubio – and had 30 in a 127-124
win over Phoenix on Monday.
The Suns were ahead by five with 6:10 remaining, but Love scored
13 points in the fourth quarter while going 3 of 5 from 3-point
range to help Minnesota (22-21) win the opener of its longest road
trip of the season.
“The biggest thing for me is I didn’t get a good warm up,” said
Love, who set a franchise mark with his 15th 30-point game of the
season. “I had good looks in the first half but the ball never
really felt right in my hand. I decided to get my legs under me in
the second half and that was the biggest difference.”
Love is leading the NBA with 32.3 points in six games this month
– up from his season average of 25.7 points.
However, Love has been held below his scoring and rebounding
averages in both meetings with Utah this season. He had 15 points
and eight boards in a 108-98 loss in Salt Lake City on Jan. 21 and
scored a season low-tying 10 with 10 rebounds in a 100-98 win at
home Feb. 22.
Despite Rubio’s absence, Minnesota scored its most points of the
season in its last game. That may not be good news for the Jazz
(20-22), who are coming off a poor defensive effort in a 120-111
loss at Phoenix on Wednesday.
Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson each scored 18 points, but Utah
couldn’t slow the Suns, who shot 56.4 percent overall and hit nine
“We couldn’t get over the hump,” coach Tyrone Corbin said. ”We
didn’t get the break we needed, but we have another one
The Jazz have lost three of four, but will play their next two
at home, where they have won three straight and are 15-6.
While Utah has allowed at least 104 points in its last three
road losses, the Jazz are giving up 93.9 points at home this
season, including 90.3 in the last three contests there.
Minnesota has struggled to contain Utah’s frontcourt. Millsap
has averaged 25.5 points and 9.0 rebounds while Jefferson has added
18.0 points and 11.5 rebounds per game in two meetings this
The Jazz have won four straight at home against the