Wolves step on Rockets to finally reach .500 mark

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 5, 2012 - 11:26 AM

Kevin Love put his foot down, figuratively with 27 points and literally on Luis Scola.

view larger photos


It's only been five years, that's all.

Almost exactly, by the way. The last time the Timberwolves stood at .500 more than two games into a season, Kevin Garnett was still calling Target Center home and Kevin Love had yet to arrive.

The Wolves beat Houston for the second time in a week, a 100-91 victory Saturday that featured a strong start and a fairly controversial third-quarter play that dialed up an already intense game to the physical extreme.

But the Wolves withstood a late Houston run to improve to 12-12. The Wolves have had a few chances to reach that level lately. Finally, at home, they did it.

"We responded, and we needed to respond," said Love, who scored 25 points and had 18 rebounds. He was referring to the Rockets who, down 16 early in the third quarter, pulled to within three twice in the fourth quarter. The second time came when Kyle Lowry drove the lane to make it 88-85 with 5:16 left.

The response: Nikola Pekovic scored off Love's pass. After Houston's Chandler Parsons missed at the other end, Luke Ridnour (22 points) hit a three in the corner off a pass from J.J. Barea. Coming out of a timeout, the Wolves did enough to keep ahead of the Rockets down the stretch.

"We needed to get up on their shooters and rebound the basketball," Love said. "Ultimately, we got stops."

The Wolves, who entered the game 5-8 at home, got off to a great start, leading by eight after shooting a season-high 68.4 percent in the first quarter. That lead grew to 55-42 at halftime and grew to 16 early in the third quarter.

But then the Rockets got motivated. It came with about 8 1/2 minutes left in the third when Luis Scola (24 points) fell to the floor after a drive towards the hoop. Love stepped on Scola's head and chest with his left foot on his way down the court. At the other end, the Rockets bench was called for a technical, and from then on it was game on.

With the physical play getting more intense, the Rockets started coming back. They got within nine at the end of the third quarter, then within three on Lowry's drive.

But the Wolves, gaining confidence by that time, didn't fold.

Wolves coach Rick Adelman was thrilled with the way the Wolves responded to the physical challenge after not doing so in a loss at home to Indiana two games ago.

"We really talked about that this afternoon," Adelman said. "I think they're staying with it more. They're not hanging their head when someone gets a run on us. We have to play through that. Tonight I was upset in the third quarter, because we seemed to let what happened on the court, the calls, affect our play. ... You can't play that way, and they're starting to learn that. You have to be mentally tough to play through anything."

Rubio finished with 13 points, 11 assists and three steals. Pekovic had 11 points and nine rebounds.

And the Wolves, finally, are a .500 team. The last time they were even this late was after a victory over Phoenix on Jan. 29, 2007. Just as a reference, and as a lesson in perspective: That was two games into Randy Wittman's tenure as interim coach after Dwane Casey had been fired after a 20-20 start.

But enough of the past.

"We were playing so-so at home," Rubio said. "We knew we had to improve, and we did today. We played a pretty good team, and now we have to be ready for the next game."

Because nobody in the locker room was happy with just getting to .500.

"It does feel good," Love said. "But we want to come out and keep this thing going in the right direction."

  • WOLVES 100, HOUSTON 91

    Up next: 7 p.m. Tuesday vs. Sacramento

    Target Center • TV: FSN (830-AM)

    wolves 100, houston 91
  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Minnesota 35 FINAL
Miami 37
Baltimore 13 FINAL
Houston 25
Detroit 20 FINAL
Chicago 14
Cleveland 13 FINAL
Carolina 17
Atlanta 30 FINAL
New Orleans 14
Green Bay 20 FINAL
Tampa Bay 3
Kansas City 12 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
New England 17 FINAL
NY Jets 16
NY Giants 37 FINAL
St. Louis 27
Buffalo 24 FINAL
Oakland 26
Indianapolis 7 FINAL
Dallas 42
Seattle 35 FINAL
Arizona 6
Denver 7:30 PM
Denver 6:00 PM
Portland 7:00 PM
Utah 7:00 PM
Toronto 7:00 PM
Atlanta 7:30 PM
LA Clippers 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Sacramento 9:30 PM
Golden State
Ottawa 6:00 PM
Nashville 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh 6:30 PM
Arizona 9:00 PM
San Jose 9:00 PM
Calgary 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Ark-Little Rock 1:00 PM
Brown 1:00 PM
Central Conn St
Stetson 1:00 PM
Florida State
Ill-Chicago 1:00 PM
Ohio 1:30 PM
George Washington
Southern Utah 2:00 PM
Ark-Pine Bluff
Elon 2:00 PM
Kennesaw St
Dartmouth 3:00 PM
Penn State
Green Bay 3:30 PM
UC Irvine
DePaul 3:30 PM
Lewis & Clark 4:00 PM
SC State 4:30 PM
Abilene Christian
Manhattan 5:00 PM
Truett-McConnell 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Citadel 5:00 PM
Michigan State
Miami-Ohio 5:00 PM
Ohio State
Gardner-Webb 5:00 PM
Idaho 5:00 PM
Northern Ky
Fairfield 6:00 PM
North Dakota St 6:00 PM
Alcorn State
UT Martin 6:00 PM
SE Louisiana 6:00 PM
Oakland 6:00 PM
Florida A&M 6:00 PM
East Carolina
Eastern Ky 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
IUPU-Ft Wayne 6:00 PM
Illinois State
Norfolk State 6:00 PM
James Madison
Binghamton 6:00 PM
Mount St Marys
Towson 6:00 PM
Long Island 6:00 PM
New Hampshire
Northern Ill 6:00 PM
Notre Dame
William & Mary 6:00 PM
Old Dominion
Liberty 6:00 PM
Delaware 6:00 PM
Robert Morris
MD-Eastern Shore 6:00 PM
St Bonaventure
Colgate 6:00 PM
Kansas 6:00 PM
Mercer 6:00 PM
East Tenn St 6:00 PM
VA Commonwealth
Va Military 6:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Bucknell 6:00 PM
Wake Forest
Alabama A&M 6:00 PM
Western Mich
New Orleans 6:05 PM
Columbia 6:30 PM
Long Beach State 6:30 PM
St Johns
Wofford 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Southern U 7:00 PM
UAB 7:00 PM
Char Southern 7:00 PM
Colorado State
North Florida 7:00 PM
NC Central 7:00 PM
Jackson State
Rice 7:00 PM
Central Mich 7:00 PM
McNeese State
Coppin State 7:00 PM
Furman 7:00 PM
SE Missouri St 7:00 PM
Ole Miss
Weber State 7:00 PM
Grambling St 7:00 PM
Loyola-Chicago 7:00 PM
Texas Tech
Incarnate Word 7:00 PM
Penn 7:00 PM
Chicago State 7:00 PM
SIU Edwardsville
Simpson 7:05 PM
Tenn Tech 7:05 PM
Murray State 7:05 PM
Southern Ill
Oral Roberts 7:05 PM
Missouri State
Jacksonville St 8:00 PM
Air Force
Milwaukee 8:00 PM
Wisconsin 8:00 PM
Coll of Charleston 8:00 PM
North Dakota 8:00 PM
Northern New Mexico 8:00 PM
New Mexico St
UC Santa Barbara 8:00 PM
Miami-Florida 8:00 PM
Northeastern 8:00 PM
St Marys-CA
Kent State 8:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
UC Davis 8:00 PM
Northern Colorado
Lewis-Clark State 8:05 PM
Eastern Wash
Walla Walla 8:05 PM
Portland State
TX A&M-CC 9:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Marshall 9:00 PM
Boise State 9:30 PM
UC Riverside 10:00 PM
San Diego St
Tulane 10:00 PM
Loyola Marymount 10:00 PM
Wichita State
Nebraska 12/23/14 12:00 AM
Nevada 3 FINAL
Louisiana 16
Utah State 21 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 6
(23) Utah 45 FINAL
Colorado State 10
Western Mich 24 FINAL
Air Force 38
South Alabama 28 FINAL
Bowling Green 33
BYU 1:00 PM
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 3:00 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
UMass Lowell 57 2nd Half 5:27
Holy Cross 64
Temple 26 2nd Half 13:20
Villanova 41
Georgia Southern 31 1st Half 1:22
Southern U 20
Xavier 31 1st Half 1:00
Kennesaw St 32
Eastern Michigan 18 1st Half 1:45
Michigan 42
Brescia 12:00 PM
(21) West Virginia 1:00 PM
Ohio State
UMBC 1:00 PM
MD-Eastern Shore
Cornell 1:00 PM
St Bonaventure 1:00 PM
New Hampshire 1:00 PM
Eastern Washington 1:30 PM
Rice 2:00 PM
Texas Southern
Butler 3:05 PM
Illinois State
UC Davis 4:00 PM
(16) Stanford
Washington St 4:00 PM
Loyola Marymount
Sacramento St 4:00 PM
San Jose St
SIU-Edwardsville 4:30 PM
Oakland 6:00 PM
IUPU-Ft Wayne
Belmont 6:00 PM
(14) Georgia
George Mason 6:00 PM
Kansas 6:05 PM
Abilene Christian 7:00 PM
Kansas State
UT Martin 7:00 PM
Hampton 7:00 PM
Florida State 7:00 PM
Murray State 7:00 PM
Fla Gulf Coast 7:05 PM
Arkansas State
BYU 8:00 PM
Utah State
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite pro sports coach in the Twin Cities?

Weekly Question