Well, you don’t see this every day, or year …
The Timberwolves set franchise records for points and field-goal percentage in a game in Friday’s 143-107 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.
And almost as unusual, they beat the NBA’s glamour franchise — the one with 16 championship titles — by their largest margin ever. And they defeated the team Kevin Love supposedly, if you listen to national media outlets, badly wants to play for in a season series for only the third time in the Wolves’ 25-year history.
The Wolves welcomed center Nikola Pekovic back to the starting lineup after six games away on the same night Love delivered his second career triple-double — 22 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists. He did that in just 29 minutes before he and the other starters watched for the entire fourth quarter.
In doing so, they made 67.1 percent of their shots and surpassed the franchise-record 134 points they scored in a regulation-length game against Denver in 1991 and the 140 they scored in a double-overtime loss to Oklahoma City in 2012.
And they did it by beating an opponent that, before this season, they hadn’t in nearly seven years, since March 2007. This time, they won three of four games in the season series that ended Friday.
“It’s always good to beat the Lakers,” said Wolves forward Corey Brewer, who until this season did so with more regularity when he played for Dallas and Denver. “The Lakers are like America’s team.”
This season, the Lakers are 24-48 and counting their lottery pingpong balls.
On Friday, the Wolves brought Pekovic back for an efficient 26-point, 21-minute performance even though he said still feels pain when he runs in that sore ankle.
“The wins can make it better, always, that’s for sure,” Pekovic said. “I was really happy that I come back and we get a win.”
They thumped a Lakers team that started Kent Bazemore, Kendall Marshall and Jodie Meeks and played on without Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Xavier Henry and Jordan Farmar but got Steve Nash back for 15 modest minutes off the bench.
“Oh sure,” Love said when asked if it’s weird to see the Lakers in such a state. “It’d be like the Spurs coming out and having a bad year. Stuff like that doesn’t happen. I guess it’s a little weird.”
The Wolves led 26-7 to start the game, doubled up the Lakers 60-30 midway through the second quarter and led 69-32 with less than three minutes left before halftime.
Until Friday, their biggest margin of victory over a Lakers team was 23, and that was November’s 113-90 decision in which the Wolves scored a franchise-record 47 first-quarter points. The Wolves’ 36-point victory was the team’s largest since they beat Oklahoma City by 42 in January 2009, and it pushed them back over the .500 mark, at 36-35.
Love reached that second career triple-double — both in a season when he also has come within an assist of four others — when he corralled a bouncing rebound just as the third-quarter buzzer sounded. Whether he actually grabbed it in time remained a topic of discussion afterward.
“Well, he was coming out, so he better get it there or he wasn’t going to get it,” Wolves coach Rick Adelman, who took his starters out after the third quarter because of a 34-point lead. “The ball bounced on the floor, too, didn’t it?”