Wolves dial up the power in beating Rockets again

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 18, 2012 - 6:56 AM

Nikola Pekovic showed All-Star-caliber dominance inside and partnered with Kevin Love for a pair of milestone double-doubles.

view larger photos

  

HOUSTON - Seated in the noisy afterglow of a 111-98 victory at Houston, Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic leaned a little closer and cocked his head, his ear nudging into a conversation Ricky Rubio conducted with reporters about him at the locker stall next door.

"Don't worry," Rubio said as he turned and stared into Pekovic's bulging biceps tattoo that depicts an armored warrior standing on a bed of skulls just inches away. "I only say nice things about you."

What else was he going to do after the Wolves improved to 7-6 away from Target Center on Friday night, when Pekovic carried his teammates on his big, broad shoulders to victory's edge and then Kevin Love took them there?

Pekovic and Love produced the first pair of 30-10 point-rebound games in franchise history.

They combined for 63 points and 29 rebounds -- three more rebounds than their opponents had all night -- and for the third time in four games already this season beat the Rockets and their new head coach Kevin McHale, who coincidentally brought both players to Minnesota before he was fired and Wolves basketball boss David Kahn was hired.

Pekovic scored 28 of his 30 points in the first three quarters, when the Wolves built a 17-point lead -- one that the Rockets twice whacked down to one point in the fourth quarter.

Love then stepped forth, scoring eight consecutive points that included two huge, consecutive three-point shots during a closing 16-4 flurry just when it looked like the Wolves might completely collapse.

"This isn't about me," Love said after delivering a 33-point, 17-rebound double-double that included 14 points the fourth quarter. "This is about us competing as a team down the stretch."

Afterward, Wolves coach Rick Adelman campaigned for his second-year center, arguing that the NBA should add Pekovic to next week's All-Star weekend Rising Stars game, just like it made New York Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin and Miami's Norris Cole late additions on Thursday.

"Lin has been a great story, but we're going to make a movement for Pek," said Adelman, who sounded like he was ready to go paint some signs. "Lin deserves all the credit and this just may be because we're in Minnesota, but if they're going to put [Lin] in that game, does anybody notice what this guy has done in the last two, three weeks? He has been every bit impressive as that kid.

"The only difference is they've won seven in a row and they're in New York. It's like it's all about TV and TNT and the hype, which is great. But it's incredible Pek doesn't get any recognition."

Pekovic's response: Thanks, but no thanks. He plans to spend All-Star break with friends in Minneapolis instead.

"I'm not, no," he said when asked if he shares Adelman's outrage. "I'm fine. I'm just the same. I'm just trying to be happy with all I got now. I was never the guy who's going to look for something, 'Why am I not here,' or 'Why am I not there?' I'm just happy to be here with these guys, the coaching staff, everybody. We're winning the games. That tells you."

And Rubio is happy he sits at the locker stall next to his big, best friend.

"I'm safe with having him next to me," Rubio said with a grin. "He's huge, he's strong and everybody's scared of him. And he's playing unbelievable."

  • related content

  • BOX SCORE: Wolves-Houston

    Friday February 17, 2012

  • Postgame: McHale says Wolves 'kicked our tail'

    Saturday February 18, 2012

    Wolves go over .500 on the road, at 7-6

  • Love hears hostility, but he's seen worse

    Saturday February 18, 2012

    Those relatively few fans who made it through the driving rain in time for pregame introductions Friday night at Toyota Center booed heartily when Timberwolves forward Kevin Love's...

  • Chart: Wolves' dual 30-point scorers across the years

    Saturday February 18, 2012

    When Kevin Love scored 33 points and Nikola Pekovic 30 on Friday, it was the 17th time in franchise history...

  • Recap: Wolves 111, Houston 98

    Saturday February 18, 2012

    MVP: Kevin Love, WolvesHard to pick against Pek, but Love's 14 fourth-quarter points and huge back-to-back three-pointers won the game...

  • Minnesota Timberwolves' Nikola Pekovic, rear, steals the ball from Houston Rockets' Kyle Lowry (7) during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game on Friday, Feb. 17, 2012, in Houston.

  • WOLVES 111, HOUSTON 98

    Up next: 6 p.m. Sunday vs. Philadelphia • Target Center • TV: FSN (830-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Baltimore - K. Gausman 1:20 PM
Chicago Cubs - J. Arrieta
Houston - B. Peacock 6:05 PM
Cleveland - C. Carrasco
San Francisco - T. Hudson 6:05 PM
Washington - D. Fister
St. Louis - A. Wainwright 6:05 PM
Philadelphia - K. Kendrick
Chicago WSox - J. Danks 6:05 PM
NY Yankees - S. Greene
Tampa Bay - D. Smyly 6:07 PM
Toronto - M. Stroman
Atlanta - M. Minor 6:10 PM
Cincinnati - M. Latos
Seattle - F. Hernandez 6:10 PM
Boston - J. Kelly
Kansas City - Y. Ventura 7:05 PM
Texas - C. Lewis
Pittsburgh - J. Locke 7:10 PM
Milwaukee - Y. Gallardo
Detroit - R. Ray 7:10 PM
Minnesota - T. Milone
Miami - H. Alvarez 7:40 PM
Colorado - F. Morales
San Diego - O. Despaigne 8:40 PM
Arizona - J. Collmenter
LA Angels - H. Santiago 9:05 PM
Oakland - S. Gray
NY Mets - J. Niese 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - D. Haren
Pittsburgh 21 FINAL
Philadelphia 31
Carolina 6:30 PM
New England
NY Giants 6:30 PM
NY Jets
Jacksonville 6:30 PM
Detroit
Oakland 7:00 PM
Green Bay
Chicago 9:00 PM
Seattle
Tampa Bay 8/23/14 3:30 PM
Buffalo
Tennessee 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Atlanta
Dallas 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Washington 8/23/14 6:30 PM
Baltimore
New Orleans 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Indianapolis
Minnesota 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Houston 8/23/14 8:00 PM
Denver
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Arizona
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:00 PM
ULM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Vanderbilt
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
Real Salt Lake 8:00 PM
FC Dallas
Montreal 7:30 PM
Winnipeg
Toronto 8/23/14 3:00 PM
Edmonton
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 2:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Chicago 6:30 PM
Atlanta
Los Angeles 9:00 PM
Phoenix
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How do you like the Kevin Love trade?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close