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.
"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."
|Tampa||1||Top 7th Inning|
|LA Clippers||89||4th Qtr 2:22|
|Golden State||5:00 PM|
|Oklahoma City||5:30 PM|
|New Orleans||7:00 PM|
|Los Angeles||3:00 PM|
|Tampa Bay||4:00 PM|
|St. Louis||8:30 PM|
|SMU||33||2nd Half 18:03|
|Quinnipiac||38||2nd Half 17:31|
|Fairfield||35||2nd Half 17:02|
|Marist||30||2nd Half 14:39|
|Iona||39||2nd Half 14:08|
|Oregon State||4||1st Half 13:46|
|South Florida||5||1st Half 13:49|
|Michigan State||3:00 PM|
|Arizona State||7:30 PM|
|Washington St||8:30 PM|
|Coll of Charleston||65|
|Rhode Island||33||2nd Half 13:48|
|Richmond||28||2nd Half 15:50|
|Davidson||27||2nd Half 12:50|
|St Bonaventure||27||2nd Half 14:26|
|George Mason||26||2nd Half 14:05|
|(22) George Washington||61|
|Indiana||30||2nd Half 14:27|
|(12) Texas A&M||37||2nd Half 18:56|
|Ole Miss||25||2nd Half 14:56|
|(11) Miss State||35|
|Clemson||43||2nd Half 10:31|
|Maine||36||2nd Half 11:20|
|Vermont||22||2nd Half 20:00|
|Quinnipiac||49||2nd Half 15:42|
|Saint Peters||38||2nd Half 11:09|
|(4) Notre Dame||46||2nd Half 11:57|
|Wisconsin||38||2nd Half 15:38|
|Stony Brook||24||2nd Half 16:39|
|Northeastern||26||2nd Half 11:13|
|William & Mary||47|
|St Johns||43||2nd Half 10:06|
|James Madison||54||2nd Half 11:41|
|Towson||2||1st Half 14:20|
|Illinois State||2||1st Half 16:00|
|Southern Ill||5||1st Half 15:40|
|Northern Iowa||2||1st Half 15:00|
|Minnesota||2||1st Half 14:44|
|(15) North Carolina||9||1st Half 15:33|
|Alabama||11||1st Half 12:00|
|(9) Florida State||4||1st Half 17:20|
|Arkansas||8||1st Half 12:34|
|Georgia||3||1st Half 14:27|
|Dayton||20||1st Half 13:50|
|Drake||10||1st Half 13:24|
|(10) Arizona State|
|(19) Stanford||3:00 PM|
|Southern Miss||3:00 PM|
|(2) South Carolina||4:00 PM|
|Ohio State||4:00 PM|