Wolves top New Orleans to finally get back above .500

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 30, 2014 - 6:32 AM

They shot poorly but New Orleans was worse, enabling the Wolves to leapfrog the .500 mark for the first time since November.

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Beauty is a subjective thing. But this was a game maybe only a Timberwolf could love.

Why, even Rick Adelman, up on the podium addressing the media as the coach of an NBA team with a winning record for the first time in two months, found plenty to find fault with.

“No energy in the game, anywhere,” he said.

The Wolves struggled on offense and spent most of the night letting a New Orleans team without three top players hang around. But in an 88-77 victory at Target Center — the Wolves’ lowest point total in a victory this season — there were some beautiful nuggets to be found.

The Wolves won without injured center Nikola Pekovic. They won while shooting only 40.2 percent. For the first time in 11 tries since Thanksgiving, the Wolves entered a game at .500 and won, period.

“We don’t want to get too up,” forward Kevin Love said. He scored 30 points with 14 rebounds and five assists while playing a season-high 43 minutes and 26 seconds, and then immediately went downstairs for a weightlifting session. “We’ve been playing some good basketball. … But we still have a lot of work to do.”

The Wolves have now won consecutive games while scoring 95 and 88 points. One of the league’s highest-scoring teams is learning to win games when the going gets a little tougher. The Wolves (23-22) have won five of six games, perhaps the beginnings of the kind of run the team has been looking for all season.

“This is a game where, earlier in the season, we might not have been able to have the mental toughness to stick with the program and weather the storm,” said Ronny Turiaf, who had four points and eight rebounds starting in Pekovic’s place. “I feel it shows some growth.”

While the Wolves barely cracked 40 percent shooting and were 4-for-20 from three-point range, the team turned in another strong defensive opponent. Two nights after holding Chicago to 37.6 percent shooting, the Wolves coaxed the punchless Pelicans into a 29-for-82 evening (35.4 percent).

“It looks like we’re finally having fun playing defense, which is sometimes allergic to a lot of guys,” joked guard Kevin Martin, who scored 18 points. “I won’t say who.”

Still, this was a close game throughout, even though the Wolves never trailed. New Orleans (19-26), already injury-riddled, was without rising star Anthony Davis, who dislocated the index finger on his left hand Tuesday in Cleveland.

The Wolves led only 23-16 after one quarter. That lead was cut to four midway through the second, prompting an animated talking-to by Adelman. Up 67-62 entering the fourth quarter, Love took over. He scored on a layup, hit a 21-footer, then two free throws in an 8-0 run to start the quarter that put the Wolves up 13 when Dante Cunningham (12 points) hit from the lane with 9:57 remaining. The Pelicans, who got 18 points from Al-Farouq Aminu and 14 from Eric Gordon, never got closer than eight points again.

So does this feel like the start of something?

“It feels a lot better than the other runs we’ve had,” Adelman said. “No, it’s what we have to do. We have to get a feeling of how we win games. On that trip [the team’s recently concluded 3-1 road trip], we’re finding we can win these games. But we can’t stop here. Memphis [Friday’s opponent] is the type of game we have not won.”


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New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Detroit 69 FINAL
Philadelphia 89
Portland 94 FINAL
Cleveland 99
Sacramento 102 FINAL
Toronto 119
Boston 98 FINAL
Minnesota 110
Dallas 94 FINAL
Houston 99
Denver 93 FINAL
New Orleans 85
Brooklyn 102 FINAL
Atlanta 113
Oklahoma City 92 FINAL
New York 100
Charlotte 86 FINAL
San Antonio 95
LA Clippers 94 FINAL
Utah 89
Washington 98 FINAL
Phoenix 106
Toronto 1 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 2
Pittsburgh 0 FINAL
Washington 4
Chicago 3 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Temple 86 FINAL
UCF 62
Winthrop 75 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 68
Lafayette 59 FINAL
Colgate 54
Northeastern 60 FINAL
Drexel 65
Wake Forest 76 FINAL
Florida State 82
Rhode Island 64 FINAL
Fordham 63
Delaware 82 FINAL
James Madison 88
South Carolina 58 FINAL
LSU 64
New Hampshire 63 FINAL
Maine 58
Seton Hall 80 FINAL
Marquette 70
Binghamton 68 FINAL
American Univ 54 FINAL
Navy 64
Elon 65 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 82
Wright State 76 FINAL
Oakland 84
Minnesota 58 FINAL
Penn State 63
Duquesne 55 FINAL
Richmond 86
South Florida 52
Hartford 66 FINAL
Stony Brook 72
Albany 47 FINAL
Vermont 44
Hofstra 79 FINAL
William & Mary 100
UNC-Asheville 74 FINAL
Longwood 64
Radford 84 FINAL
Char Southern 77
Holy Cross 0 Postponed
Loyola-Maryland 0
Duke 73 FINAL
Notre Dame 77
Texas Tech 36 FINAL
Oklahoma 81
Oregon State 55 FINAL
Arizona State 73
Morehead State 82 FINAL
Austin Peay 69
Drake 69 FINAL
Bradley 57
Lehigh 62 FINAL
Bucknell 68
Rice 48 FINAL
Houston 59
Missouri State 57 FINAL
Illinois State 67
Loyola-Chicago 47 FINAL
Wichita State 58
Nebraska Omaha 64 FINAL
South Dakota St 86
Northern Iowa 59 FINAL
Southern Ill 52
Louisville 81 FINAL
Boston College 72
St Johns 74 FINAL
Creighton 77
East Carolina 58 FINAL
Memphis 70
Georgia Tech 70 FINAL
Miami-Florida 50
Miss State 73 FINAL
Ole Miss 79
Clemson 68 FINAL
NC State 57
Indiana 67 FINAL
Purdue 83
Kansas 64 FINAL
TCU 61
Oregon 56 FINAL
Arizona 90
Air Force 66 FINAL
San Jose St 52
Stanford 84 FINAL
Washington 74
Rider 56 FINAL
Siena 49
Dayton 76 FINAL
Richmond 62
Eastern Kentucky 53 FINAL
Jacksonville St 73
Saint Josephs 0 Postponed
Saint Louis 0
Binghamton 55
Akron 60 FINAL
Ohio U 72
Ball State 72 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 55
Memphis 56 FINAL
Cincinnati 44
East Carolina 32 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 87
Murray State 59 FINAL
Eastern Illinois 75
Kent State 63 FINAL
Central Michigan 65
UT Martin 64 FINAL
Tennessee St 58
Eastern Michigan 56 FINAL
Western Mich 83
Bucknell 61 FINAL
Lehigh 76
Indiana 57 FINAL
Michigan State 72
Colgate 56 FINAL
Lafayette 58
Fordham 66 FINAL
Davidson 45
Duquesne 76 FINAL
St Bonaventure 64
George Mason 66 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 70
Detroit 59 FINAL
Youngstown St 58
Army 0 Postponed
Boston U 0
Loyola-Maryland 0 Postponed
Holy Cross 0
Tulsa 74
Oklahoma St 54 FINAL
Kansas State 52
West Virginia 57 FINAL
Texas Tech 73
Denver 56 FINAL
South Dakota 82
Northwestern St 46 FINAL
Central Arkansas 63
Austin Peay 67 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 87
Kansas 61 FINAL
Iowa State 56
Bowling Green 50 FINAL
Northern Ill 67
Penn State 64 FINAL
Minnesota 75
San Jose St 80 FINAL
Air Force 83
Boise State 82 FINAL
Colorado State 83
Utah State 51 FINAL
Wyoming 86
San Diego State 50 FINAL
Fresno State 57
Nevada 52 FINAL


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