Jerry Zgoda missed the entire Kevin Garnett era, but he's back covering the Timberwolves after working the beat for their first four seasons two decades ago. In between, he covered a bit of everything: Gopher men's and women's basketball and NCAA athletics, golf, outdoor recreation, sports media and a little Vikings and Twins.

Wolves win "Dirt Bowl Championship" 103-99

Posted by: Jerry Zgoda under Wolves postgame, Wolves news Updated: December 23, 2009 - 11:53 PM

Well, as I wrote in tonight's game story somebody had to win.

http://www.startribune.com/sports/wolves/80016527.html

Turns out, that somebody was the Wolves.

The same teams that met on opening night re-convened Wednesday at the Meadowlands.

It's believed to be a meeting of the teams with the second-worst combined record at this stage of the season ever, second only to a 1998 game featuring the 2-28 Denver Nuggets and 5-27 and Dallas Mavericks.

But, as Kevin Love said when I told him that afterward, look at where the Nuggets and Mavs are now.

Of course, it's also nearly 12 years later.

"I'm young enough that hopefully in that time span, we'll turn it around," Love said.

Love, borrowing a line from Brian Cardinal, called the game the "Dirt Bowl Championship."

Love had another double-double tonight -- his 10th in 12 games this season -- with 13 points and 16 rebounds.

The Wolves are now 6-24, the Nets 2-27.

Al Jefferson scored 27 before he fouled out in the final 28 seconds after trying to defend Brook Lopez all night. Kurt Rambis called Jefferson's performance "the Al's that I want to see."

Jefferson said he's feeling and moving better and said it seemed like everyone else was in slow motion tonight while he was playing in regular speed.

The guy who stepped up in the final minutes was....er, Corey Brewer?

Yep, he scored four points in the final 39 seconds, including a crucial, spinning left-handed finger roll just before the shot clock expired with 39.4 seconds.

It answered Courtney Lee's three-pointer at the shot-clock buzzer that got the Nets within a point on a night when they trailed by 11 points in both halves but used a 14-4 fourth-quarter run to get within a point.

The Wolves also got the kind of break that has eluded them so far this season. At least a couple times I can remember this season they had basket later disallowed after officials used rules new this season to go back and review the video minutes later.

This time, the officials looked at the video and immediately overturned their own call that had given the Nets the ball with a chance to tie after Brewer was stripped of it with 25.6 seconds left.

The Nets were forced to foul instead and Brewer made a pair of free throws less than two seconds later than turned what could have been a tied game into a 101-97 lead.

A few other things:

* Cardinal saw his first action since Dec. 2...and picked up three fouls in 1:22 played in the first half.

* Oleksiy Pecherov, as Phil Miller predicted last night, didn't play after he was sent onto the floor late in Tuesday's loss to Atlanta and almost immediately jacked up a shot. He now has five DNP-CDs this month after not having one through November.

* Jonny Flynn sure looked inspired against Devin Harris. Or maybe that was just Harris' lousy defense. Flynn scored 17 of his 22 points in the first half and at one point literally had Harris stumbling trying to keep in front of him. Even Rambis commented that Flynn looked "certainly inspired."

While Flynn played 36:51 one night after Rambis sat him down quickly in Tuesday's lousy start, Ramon Sessions played a season-low 11:09 tonight.

The Wolves hustled out of Izod Center after tonight's game hoping they'll beat to the Twin Cities the worst of the approaching snowstorm.

I got a morning flight because I couldn't get the Star Tribune corporate jet, for some reason.

Wish me luck.

And Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everybody!

 

 

 

 

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