Wolves win, but Love hurt again

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 15, 2012 - 12:28 PM

Injuries, including one to Kevin Love, forced Rick Adelman to improvise, but Nikola Pekovic and Andrei Kirilenko responded.

NEW ORLEANS - And so it goes for the Timberwolves.

On the eve of Ricky Rubio's expected return after nine months away, the Wolves' 113-102 victory at New Orleans on Friday night was their third in a row and their fifth in the past six games. And yet two-time All-Star Kevin Love sat dejected at his locker afterward, head down, holding his healing right hand in pain.

Love injured the thumb on the same hand that was fractured two months ago with his team leading by 16 points in the final 80 seconds.

X-rays taken at New Orleans Arena came back negative, but news of a swollen but only bruised thumb did little to cheer him on a night when the Wolves started with Malcolm Lee out indefinitely and then lost just-returned Josh Howard for the night because of a hyperextended knee.

"It's tough, man, it's really tough," Love said about the team's seemingly endless string of injuries. "I'm a little down because I'm trying to work through stuff with my hand and then this happens. But we won. That's what's keeping me out of the gutter. I thought I was going to break down if it [the X-rays] had said something else. Luckily it was negative. ... Whatever you want to call it, it's stiff right now, real stiff. It hurts."

Love was injured while reaching to stop Hornets rookie Austin Rivers' driving layup with less than 1 minute, 20 seconds remaining. The injury came one night before Rubio, barring an unforeseen development, will play for the first time since March knee surgery.

"I don't know," Love said when asked if he could play Saturday. "I don't know."

Love made four of 18 shots with that still-healing shooting hand and now is 7-for-35 in his past two games, or since Love had to publicly defuse comments he made to Yahoo! Sports criticizing the Wolves organization for not giving him a five-year contract extension.

As they had against Denver on Wednesday, the Wolves won anyway, with a balanced performance that led an NBA advance scout to call them a mini-version of the Spurs for the way they execute their offense.

This time, they scored a season-high 113 against a young 5-17 Hornets team that has lost six in a row and eight of its past nine.

This time, starting center Nikola Pekovic followed Wednesday's 22-point, 11-rebound game by scoring a career-high 31 points, and starting small forward Andrei Kirilenko delivered a well-timed performance (21 points, 11 rebounds), more evidence that he's worth every penny of his $10 million salary.

"He's terrific," Adelman said. "You just watch the plays he makes. He's all over the court. He's the glue of our team. He really is."

Pekovic ran the floor all night, showing no signs of the injured ankle that bothered him a week ago. His work helped the Wolves clobber the Hornets 70-42 on points in the paint and overcame Rivers' breakout 27-point night.

"Everybody is trying to do more, not just me," Pekovic said. "Everybody tries to step up."

The Wolves' 29 assists were one off their season high, with Luke Ridnour and Barea combining for 15. Barea also had five rebounds, as many as big Pek.

"Pek was doing all the scoring," Barea said, "so I took care of the boards."

It all added up to a three-game winning streak and an 11-9 record, good for sixth place in the Western Conference.

"I'm not concerned because we won," Love said when asked about his thumb. "Two games above .500, the guys played great. I'm not concerned."

  • related content

  • Photo gallery: Timberwolves 113, New Orleans 102

    Friday December 14, 2012

    NBA action, Friday, Dec.14

  • Injuries make Rubio return timely

    Friday December 14, 2012

    NEW ORLEANS - It's a good thing Ricky Rubio is ready to return Saturday after nine months away, because the Timberwolves need fresh bodies just to keep up with their...

  • No words needed: Kevin Garnett and Kevin McHale + video

    Friday December 14, 2012

    As time ran out in Friday's night game between Houston and Boston, Kevin Garnett reached out to his former boss with the Timberwolves, Kevin McHale.

  • Recap: Wolves 113, New Orleans 102

    Friday December 14, 2012

    The versatile forward had a big game, scoring 21 points on 10-for-16 shooting and grabbed 10 rebounds.

  • Gameday: Wolves vs. Dallas

    Friday December 14, 2012

    Is this it? Ricky Rubio's return from March knee surgery? Very likely, although a decision likely won't be made until a meeting of medical and basketball staff earlier in the...

  • Zgoda: Love bruises thumb on shooting hand

    Saturday December 15, 2012

    Love's thumb on that healing shooting hand is bruised, not broken, x-rays show

  • Hornets center Robin Lopez blocked a shot by Timberwolves forward Kevin Love in the first half Friday night.

  • WOLVES 113, NEW ORLEANS 102 • Up next: 7 p.m. today vs. Dallas • Target Center • TV: FSN (830-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Fla Southern 2 FINAL
Detroit 12
FIU 2 FINAL
Miami 7
Toronto 114 FINAL
Philadelphia 103
Golden State 108 FINAL
Brooklyn 110
Phoenix 98 FINAL
Miami 115
LA Clippers 110 FINAL
Minnesota 105
New Orleans 93 FINAL
Dallas 102
Nashville 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Carolina 2 FINAL
Chicago 5
Montreal 0 FINAL
San Jose 4
Virginia 59 FINAL
Syracuse 47
Baylor 59 FINAL
Texas 61
SE Louisiana 79 FINAL
Northwestern St 92
Central Arkansas 49 FINAL
Sam Houston St 76
Norfolk State 59 FINAL
Howard 61
Bethune-Cookman 50 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 75 FINAL
Delaware State 85
Lamar 69 FINAL
McNeese State 70
Nicholls 89 FINAL
New Orleans 79
Incarnate Word 62 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 83
NC Central 62 FINAL
Savannah State 49
Texas Southern 77 FINAL
Alabama A&M 75
Prairie View 67 FINAL
Alabama State 65
Oklahoma 70 FINAL
Iowa State 77
Grambling St 62 FINAL
Miss Valley St 66
Boston College 66 FINAL
Virginia Tech 59
Jackson State 62 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 64
Bethune-Cookman 55 FINAL
NC A&T 58
Hampton 78 FINAL
Delaware State 63
Norfolk State 63 FINAL
Howard 60
NC Central 54 FINAL
Savannah State 65
Texas Southern 83 FINAL
Alabama A&M 46
Prairie View 42 FINAL
Alabama State 60
Jackson State 78 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 74
Grambling 56 FINAL
Miss Valley St 61
Tulsa 71 FINAL
Cincinnati 58
(1) Connecticut 88 FINAL
South Florida 65
UCF 57 FINAL
East Carolina 67
Central Conn St 53 FINAL
Bryant 55
Wagner 66 FINAL
Robert Morris 60
Sacred Heart 75 FINAL
Fairleigh Dickinson 84
St Francis-NY 73 FINAL
Long Island 49
Mount St Marys 87 FINAL
St Francis-PA 90
Temple 56 FINAL
Houston 45
Texas Tech 65 FINAL
(6) Baylor 75
Iowa State 64 FINAL
Kansas 68
SMU 60 FINAL
Memphis 53
Oklahoma 66 FINAL
Oklahoma St 56
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: Which is your favorite 'return' by a Minnesota athlete?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close