Big numbers give Wolves a big victory over Cavs

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 8, 2012 - 9:42 AM

He found his shot, got to the line and dominated his inside matchup.

Timberwolves two-time All-Star Kevin Love seemingly accomplished so much during Friday's 91-73 victory over Cleveland at Target Center.

He helped hold rival rebounding fiend Anderson Varejao to a mere 14 of them.

"I mean, that's two under his season average," he said, exaggerating the facts ever so slightly.

He finally made his free throws.

"Well, most of them," he said after shooting twice as many as the opposition did all night.

And if he allowed himself just a bit of optimism late Friday, one might say he'd almost come around to feeling like his old self.

While the Wolves continue to wait for Ricky Rubio's return from March knee surgery, Love's 36-point, 13-rebound performance just might be the comeback for which he and his team have been waiting.

Maybe ...

"It's one game," he said afterward. "Hopefully, it's not fool's gold."

His 36 points surpassed by a bucket his season scoring high set the night he made his sudden, surprise season debut against Denver more than two weeks ago.

And two nights after he lamented how his healing broken hand inhibits his shooting touch, Love made shots than he missed for the first time in nine games back this season.

He made 10 of 19 shots and got to the free-throw line 18 times, making 14. The Wolves shot 35 free throws to the Cavs' nine.

"It's a step in the right direction," he said. "I've been putting in work, but it's just one game. I don't want to put too much pressure on myself. It might take me 15 or 20 games to get me back to where I want to be."

His eighth double-double in his ninth game back helped the Wolves persevere on a night when both teams combined for 39 turnovers while each played without its young, blossoming starting point guard.

When the two teams meet again for the final time this season in February, Rubio and Kyrie Irving both will be well along in their recovery from injury, and that rematch in Cleveland just might rack up the style points that Friday's game so badly lacked.

"It was a win we really needed," Wolves coach Rick Adelman said after his team reached .500 with a 9-9 record. "We gutted it out."

The Wolves led 12-2 and 27-18, then allowed Cleveland to tie the score late in the first half before they put the visitors away.

Love himself got to the free-throw line twice as many as times as the entire Cavaliers team, a statistical oddity that left Cleveland coach Byron Scott carefully groping for just the right words.

"I am trying to figure out a way to say this without getting fined," he said. "It was that bad. It really was."

The Wolves welcomed starting small forward Andrei Kirilenko back Friday after four games away because of back spasms, and he delivered eight points, seven rebounds and six assists in 31 minutes, looking like he had never been away.

His return to good health meant that second-year forward Derrick Williams once again didn't get off the bench. It also meant that the Wolves had back the defensive specialist who helped them hold the Cavaliers to 34.5-percent shooting.

Both that and the point total were season lows by a Wolves opponent.

"He's just so active. He does so many energy plays for us," Adelman said. "We have to have that energy."

  • WOLVES 91, CLEVELAND 73

    Up next: 7 p.m. Wednesday vs. Denver Target Center • TV: FSN (830-AM)

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Los Angeles - WP: C. Kershaw 14 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: E. Jackson 5
Boston - WP: J. Tazawa 5 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: D. O`Day 3
Milwaukee - LP: J. Broxton 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: J. Holdzkom 4
Toronto - LP: M. Buehrle 3 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: H. Kuroda 5
Washington - WP: D. Fister 3 FINAL
Miami - LP: T. Koehler 2
Chicago WSox - WP: J. Quintana 4 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: J. Hellickson 3
NY Mets - WP: Z. Wheeler 5 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: J. Teheran 0
Cleveland - LP: K. Crockett 4 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: J. Burton 5
Detroit - WP: J. Verlander 10 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Vargas 1
Seattle - WP: T. Walker 10 FINAL
Houston - LP: B. Peacock 5
Arizona - LP: C. Anderson 3 FINAL
Colorado - WP: J. Lyles 15
Cincinnati - LP: D. Holmberg 1 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: J. Lackey 2
Philadelphia - LP: D. Buchanan 1 FINAL
Oakland - WP: J. Lester 3
Texas - WP: L. Bonilla 12 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: H. Santiago 3
San Francisco - LP: T. Hudson 0 FINAL
San Diego - WP: O. Despaigne 5
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
(5) Auburn 20 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 14
Connecticut 14 FINAL
So Florida 17
Old Dominion 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:00 AM
NC State
Duke 9/27/14 2:00 AM
Miami-Florida
North Carolina 9/27/14 2:00 AM
(22) Clemson
Colorado 1 FINAL
Real Salt Lake 5
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
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