Two nights after they looked so shocked and stunned against New Orleans, the Wolves on Monday night began that seven-game trip that could define their season by outlasting the Suns 127-124 in Phoenix.
Here's the game story from Monday night and...
Here's a little of this, a little of that supplied by the team from the game as well as a good bit of video from post-game interviews:
* The Wolves were missing their most creative playmaker and yet set season highs for points, assists (30) and three-pointers made (14).
Their 63.6 percentage from three-point range was the best this season as well.
* After consecutive losses at home on Friday to the Lakers and Saturday to New Orleans, the Wolves have climbed back over .500 once again at 22-21 and they're back to a half-game behind Houston for that eighth and final playoff spot.
* Kevin Love made five of those 14 threes and scored 23 of his 30 points in the second half, including 14 in the fourth quarter alone.
He set a franchise record with his 15th 30-point game of the season, surpassing the 14 Tony Campbell had in 1989-90, the team's inaugural season. He now has 24 of those 30-point games in his career, behind Kevin Garnett (82) and Campbell (30) on the franchise list.
With those five threes, he now has five games this season with five or more threes and ties the club single-season record held also by Randy Foye in 2008-09, Latrell Sprewell in 2004-05 and James Robinson in 1996-97.
* And get this: Love is leading the NBA in scoring in March with a 32.2 ppg average.
Player G Pts FG% 3FG% FT% Reb Ast
------------------- - ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ----------------------------
Kevin Love, Min. 6 32.3 .471 .467 .804 12.7 2.2
Kobe Bryant, LA-L 6 30.5 .427 .324 .830 4.7 3.8
LeBron James, Mia 6 29.5 .574 .353 .689 10.3 5.2
Kevin Durant, OkC 6 29.0 .454 .325 .883 7.3 3.5
Dwight Howard, Orl. 6 28.5 .670 .000 .500 14.0 1.2
* Love also moved into second place on the team's all-time rebounding list.
With 7 Monday, Love now has 3,035 career rebounds and passed Sam Mitchell (3,030).
He now trails only Kevin Garnett who finished with 10,542 rebounds for his Minnesota career.
"Only 7,500 more?" he asked. "Is that all?"
* The Wolves ended a 9-game losing streak to the Suns, including five straight in Phoenix. The Wolves last beat them Jan. 16, 2009 during that fine January they put together after Kevin McHale took over for Randy Wittman as coach.
* About those 30 assists, Luke Ridnour had nine, J.J. Barea had a season-high 8 in 15 minutes in his first game back after missing two games because of a sprained ankle and Martell Webster set a career-high with six.
* Those 127 points tied the eighth most in franchise history and it's also the most in a non-overtime road games in team history.
Until Monday, their season high was 122 at Portland just nine days earlier. The 35 points in the second quarter was a season high.
* The Wolves have 10 or more threes for the sixth time in the last 10 games, and they're 6-0 in those games.
They're shooting 41.9 percent on threes in that time and seven players all are making better than 40 percent each.They are:
Wes Johnson 13-24 54.2%
Mike Beasley 9-19 47.4%
Derrick Williams 14-30 46.7%
Wayne Ellington 5-11 45.5%
K-Love 21-49 42.9%
Martell Webster 8-19 42.1%
J.J. Barea 5-12 41.7%
* Barea played 15-plus minutes in his first game back after missing two with that sprained ankle and reported he came through it feeling fine.
* Beasley scored 15 points in 11-plus minutes in the first half on 6-for-7 shooting and then barely played after halftime because of a sore toe that Markieff Morris stepped on and bent in the second quarter.
He yelped when he tried to put his shoe on that left foot and I wouldn't be surprised a bit if he misses some time because of it.
* The win was the Timberwolves NBA-leading 7th win in games decided by 3 points or less (tied with the LA Lakers), and an NBA high 13th game (7-6) in that category. No other team in the NBA has more than 10.
* The Wolves now are 10-9 on the road. In the West, only Oklahoma City (14-7), San Antonio (11-9) and Denver (11-9) have better road records. Remember, the Wolves won 10 road games total the last two seasons (5-36 in each of the last two seasons).
That's all from Phoenix on Monday night.
The Wolves will have an optional practice on Tuesday here and then will have a full regular practice on Wednesday before they fly to Salt Lake City for Thursday's game at Utah.
These two days between games are the first of only three such breaks between All-Star weekend and the season finale on April 26.
Good night from Phoenix...