Love returns, but Wolves fall 101-94 to Denver

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 22, 2012 - 8:56 AM

The Wolves got a boost from Kevin Love's surprise return from a broken hand, but a second-half slowdown cost them in the end.

When it started, you couldn't hear anything for the roar. In the final moments, you couldn't see much for the people leaving early.

What an extraordinary emotional swing.

Wednesday night at Target Center began with buzz that All-Star forward Kevin Love was about to return after missing four-plus weeks because of a broken hand. As word spread, the Wolves' crowd grew; about 1,000 walk-up tickets were sold in the hour before the game with the Denver Nuggets, 200 more than normal. The game began with Love and the Wolves doing everything right while building a 14-point halftime lead.

But it ended with a 101-94 Wolves loss.

How could a Timberwolves team getting Love, center Nikola Pekovic and guard J.J. Barea back from injury on the same night see a lead that reached as many as 17 in the second quarter get wiped away? How could a night that began with so much promise, that included 34 points and 14 rebounds from Love -- in 35 minutes -- that seemed to be just this side of magical, end with a third consecutive loss?

"A very telling two halves," said Love, who scored 22 first-half points on 9-for-16 shooting but scored 12 in the second half, hitting three of nine shots.

After setting season highs in points in both the second quarter (32) and the first half (58), the Wolves scored only 36 points in the second half.

The Nuggets, who got 19 points from Danilo Gallinari, 18 each from Andre Iguodala and Ty Lawson and 12 from Andrew Miller, cut the Wolves' 14-point halftime lead to four entering the fourth, thanks to Iguodala's 11 third-quarter points. Miller then scored 11 fourth-quarter points for the Nuggets (6-6).

Love had 34 points and 14 rebounds in a return that came nearly two weeks earlier than expected. Nobody else had more than 12 points.

"We played really well in the first half and took care of the ball and got some stops," Wolves coach Rick Adelman said. "The third quarter we didn't start going. We had 11 turnovers in the second half. We missed opportunities at the basket, and they got running."

The key sequence was a 12-5 Denver run that came right after Barea's three-pointer with 4 minutes, 47 seconds left gave the Wolves their final lead of the game.

It was a disappointing end to a very promising evening. The news that Love would play came moments after Adelman, during his pregame meeting with reporters, had demurred on the subject.

But it spread quickly. Actually, Love and some of his teammates knew on Tuesday, when Love got word back from his specialist in New York that the X-ray of the hand looked good enough for Love to play.

Love had said the minute he got clearance he was going to go. So, without as much as a full practice under his belt, with a fingerless glove-like protective wrap on his hand, he did.

"I told my teammates," he said. "They didn't really believe me. Once they saw the jersey in my locker they believed it was true."

There weren't a lot of fans in the arena when the Wolves took the court for pregame warmup, but those there made a lot of noise and many lined up near the tunnel to take pictures of Love running onto the court. And then the introductions: First Luke Ridnour, then Malcolm Lee, Pekovic and Andrei Kirilenko.

Finally came Love, and the crowd roared.

And it was like Love had never been gone; he indicated he'd been fouled after missing his first shot, a three-point attempt from the top of the key.

In 9 1/2 first-quarter minutes Love had 16 points and six rebounds. The Wolves, up by 11 after a quarter, were up by just three when Love returned to the game with 6:59 left in the half, then the Wolves went on a 23-12 run to take a 14-point halftime lead.

"I knew he would play, and play well," Barea said. "He was just waiting on the doctor. He was happy. I knew he was going crazy sitting. He was talking too much."

After the game Love said the hand still hurt but he'd fight through it.

  • DENVER 101, WOLVES 94

    Up next: 9 p.m. Friday at Portland • Rose Garden • TV: FSN (830-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Tampa Bay 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Arizona 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia 11/2/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Jacksonville 11/2/14 12:00 PM
San Diego 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Washington 11/2/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis 11/2/14 3:05 PM
San Francisco
Denver 11/2/14 3:25 PM
New England
Oakland 11/2/14 3:25 PM
Baltimore 11/2/14 7:30 PM
Indianapolis 11/3/14 7:30 PM
NY Giants
Cleveland 11/6/14 7:25 PM
Memphis 97 FINAL
Indiana 89
Cleveland 114 FINAL
Chicago 108
Philadelphia 81 FINAL
Milwaukee 93
Portland 94 FINAL
Sacramento 103
San Antonio 89 FINAL
Phoenix 94
LA Clippers 99 4th Qtr 6:18
LA Lakers 101
Toronto 4 FINAL
Columbus 1
Los Angeles 2 FINAL
Detroit 5
Anaheim 2 FINAL(OT)
Dallas 1
Nashville 3 FINAL
Calgary 4
(2) Florida State 42 FINAL
Louisville 31
Troy 10 FINAL
Ga Southern 42
Cincinnati 38 FINAL
Tulane 14
Tulsa 20 FINAL
Memphis 40
Air Force 11/1/14 10:30 AM
ULM 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Texas A&M
(19) Oklahoma 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Northwestern 11/1/14 11:00 AM
(24) Duke 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Maryland 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Wisconsin 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Rice 11/1/14 11:00 AM
(21) East Carolina 11/1/14 11:00 AM
UCF 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Boston College 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Washington 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Central Mich 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 11/1/14 1:30 PM
Western Ky 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Virginia 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech
Purdue 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(17) Nebraska
BYU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(20) West Virginia
Indiana 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Florida 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(9) Georgia
Georgia State 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Kentucky 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Kansas 11/1/14 3:00 PM
(12) Baylor
Texas State 11/1/14 3:00 PM
New Mexico St
Houston 11/1/14 3:00 PM
So Florida
USC 11/1/14 3:30 PM
Washington St
Arkansas State 11/1/14 4:00 PM
South Alabama 11/1/14 4:00 PM
New Mexico 11/1/14 4:30 PM
UAB 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
(4) Auburn 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(7) Ole Miss
Old Dominion 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State 11/1/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St
Arkansas 11/1/14 6:15 PM
(1) Miss State
Stanford 11/1/14 6:30 PM
(5) Oregon
Tennessee 11/1/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina
Texas 11/1/14 6:30 PM
Texas Tech
Southern Miss 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
(6) Notre Dame 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Illinois 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(13) Ohio State
(14) Arizona 11/1/14 9:30 PM
(25) UCLA
California 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
San Diego St 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Wyoming 11/1/14 9:45 PM
Fresno State
(18) Utah 11/1/14 10:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Utah State 11/1/14 10:00 PM
Bowling Green 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Toledo 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Kent State
Buffalo 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ohio U
Northern Ill 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ball State
(22) Clemson 11/6/14 6:30 PM
Wake Forest
Memphis 11/7/14 6:30 PM
Utah State 11/7/14 7:00 PM
(12) Baylor 11/8/14 2:00 AM
(19) Oklahoma
(11) Kansas State 11/8/14 2:00 AM
(10) TCU
Hamilton 34 FINAL
Ottawa 25
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Ottawa 11/7/14 6:00 PM
Calgary 11/7/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Montreal 11/8/14 3:00 PM
Edmonton 11/8/14 6:00 PM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: How many games will the Timberwolves win this season?

Weekly Question