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Wolves notes: Rubio, Love, Barea play through pain

  • Article by: Jerry Zgoda
  • Star Tribune
  • January 26, 2014 - 12:30 AM

– Battered, bruised but unbowed, the Timberwolves played on at Portland on Saturday, one night after surviving, and winning, a close, physical game at Golden State.

Starters Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio and backup point guard J.J. Barea played in Saturday’s 115-104 loss to the Trail Blazers after each came off the court limping in that 121-120 victory over the Warriors.

Rubio sprained his ankle drawing a charge from Andre Iguodala late in Friday’s game and couldn’t finish at the very end because of it.

“Not a big deal,” Rubio said.

Love turned his ankle twice and banged his knee Friday, but finished the game even though he limped his way through a good portion of it.

“I was a little worried about him; him and Ricky seemed to be the two that were real aggravated,” Wolves coach Rick Adelman said, referring to Love.

Barea bruised his back when he fell hard late in the third quarter. He played only the game’s final 20 seconds after that, when Rubio could no longer go. He came off the bench with a second unit that gave up a two-point lead after the first quarter and got outscored 16-4 to start the second quarter.

“I’m still sore from the fall, but I’m moving fine, as long as I don’t get hit again,” said Barea, who played 11 scoreless minutes against the Trail Blazers, going 0-for-4 from the floor. “I’ll be fine, I’ll play the same way. It’s a bruise, so no big deal.”

The most powerful?

Saturday’s game was the second meeting this season between Love and Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge, and Blazers coach Terry Stotts wasted no time during his pregame media availability in playfully addressing who is the game’s best power forward.

“You have two of the best [power] forward in the league,” he said when asked about the matchup. “We have the best. They probably have the second best.”

Ricky’s new math

The Wolves’ Friday victory was their first this season by four or fewer points after they started 0-11 in games with that margin.

Adelman has always contended that number is misleading because there have been games his team trailed by more, then made the final score appear closer than it actually was.

Rubio did his own kind of math when asked about ending that 0-for.

“Well, we won the first game in the overtime,” he said, referring to a season-opening, five-point victory over Orlando saved by Love’s tying three-pointer late in regulation time, “so that should be 1-11, you know.”

Feeling better

That discolored and lacerated pinkie finger on Wolves starter Kevin Martin’s right shooting hand apparently is fine.

He played with it Friday taped after suffering a cut across the knuckle in Tuesday’s victory at Utah. Martin made 10 of 17 field-goal attempts against the Warriors and scored 26 points, including the winning shot with 8.4 seconds left. Then he went out and scored 30 points Saturday, including 20 in the first half.

“Maybe I should hurt it more,” he said with a smile. “Once you get in the game, you don’t even think about it. It might limit you a little bit, but you find ways around it. That’s what I did.”

Masked man

Reserve guard Alexey Shved played again Saturday with a plastic protective mask that he will wear for the next three weeks on his broken nose.

He played the final 27 seconds of Friday’s second quarter without it when he was suddenly put back in the game for Rubio.

“He just told me, ‘Go,’ ” Shved said, referring to Adelman. “I didn’t have time to put my mask on.”

Worth talking about

Adelman went onto the court after Golden State’s Harrison Barnes missed a potential game-winning shot at the buzzer Friday and engaged his two Kevins in conversation.

Just what was it about? Answer: The two-man game between Martin and Love that the Wolves have tried often this season but that never really clicked until it worked for Martin’s winner.

“It’s something we’ve talked about,” Adelman said. “When they play together, I think they can do things together. Kevin Martin, he’s someone who can really benefit from him [Love] being on the floor because they don’t leave Kevin [Love]. In fact, sometimes we run things and two guys go to him. I think Kevin Martin is the one guy, with his quickness, who can get shots.

“I was just talking to them that it took us 40-something games to make the play we’ve been talking about for 40 games.”

Etc.

• Rookies Robbie Hummel and Shabazz Muhammad were the team’s two inactive players Saturday.

• Love leads the league in 20-point, 10-rebound games after reaching his 27th Friday with a 26-point, 14-rebound, eight-assist night.

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