Pekovic's late surge leads Wolves over Memphis

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 15, 2013 - 11:46 PM

Unlike in Friday’s loss to San Antonio, other Wolves, particularly Pek, responded when Kevin Love was covered.

– With the reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year seated on the opponent’s bench in a big man’s suit, Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman’s 40 years of professional experience told him to get the ball to center Nikola Pekovic during the final minutes of Sunday’s 101-93 victory at Memphis.

Even when he was yelling at his team not to do so.

The Wolves ended an 11-game losing streak to the Grizzlies and won at FedEx Forum for the first time since January 2009 on Sunday after Pekovic scored the Wolves’ final six points in the final 2:08 to preserve a victory in which they once led by 19 points in the second quarter.

Included was a closing layup before which Adelman shouted to J.J. Barea to protect the ball, but he rewarded Pekovic for running the floor with a pass for a layup that served as final punctuation with 26 seconds left.

“Those two points were important to finish the game,” Pekovic said. “So I just ran. I was hoping he’d see me. It was end of the game, so I was kind of exhausted.”

Two nights earlier, the Wolves found no other answers in San Antonio when the Spurs clamped down on star Kevin Love late on a 42-point night and produced a victory after they trailed by nine points entering the third quarter.

On Sunday, the Grizzlies chopped that big first-half deficit down to just a bucket in the fourth quarter when the opposition defense again focused on Love at every turn.

This time others, namely Pekovic, responded to push the Wolves back to .500 at 12-12.

While Memphis starting center Marc Gasol missed his 10th consecutive game because of a sprained knee ligament, Pekovic came back into the game with five personal fouls and just 2:26 left and put away a Grizzlies team that until then refused to go quietly into the good night.

The Wolves got the ball to Pekovic twice down low and he drew fouls each time and created four free throws, sinking all four. Then he capped a finishing 6-1 run over the final two-plus minutes by barreling down the floor while Adelman yelled at Barea in the open court to pull the ball back.

“Oh yeah, you hear him,” Barea said with a smile after playing nearly the entire fourth quarter while Adelman sat who he called a “hurting” Kevin Martin.

“But if you have a secure play, you go for it.”

Adelman said he just didn’t want a turnover at that point of the game, not after his team had come so far in 48 hours showing it had learned what to do when the opponent tries to take Love out of the game.

On Sunday, Love scored 25 of his 30 points through three quarters before defensive stopper Tayshaun Prince buckled down on him in the fourth quarter.

“We’re not instinctively ready to know what to do if they front Kevin,” Adelman said.

“All you’ve got to do is move the ball. If they want to do that, that leaves Pek inside. So we wanted to try to take advantage of that.”

On Friday, both Pekovic and Ricky Rubio missed crucial shots during the Spurs’ closing 12-2 run. On Sunday, Pekovic’s hard work redeemed shots he couldn’t believe he missed Friday and delivered the Wolves their first victory in Memphis since Love’s rookie season.

  • related content

  • BOXSCORE: Wolves 101, Memphis 93

    Sunday December 15, 2013

  • Photo gallery: Wolves 101, Memphis 93

    Sunday December 15, 2013

    Kevin Love had 30 points and nine rebounds and the Wolves hit a season-high 12 three-pointers to beat the...

  • Wolves still not protecting the basket

    Sunday December 15, 2013

    Coach Rick Adelman said he knows opponents watch game footage and note his team’s defensive weaknesses.

  • Wolves-Memphis game recap

    Sunday December 15, 2013

    GAME RECAPImpact playerKevin Love, WolvesHe didn’t get it Friday when his 42-point performance so richly deserved it, so let’s give...

  • Wolves-Boston game preview

    Sunday December 15, 2013

    6:30 P.M. at BOSTON • TD Garden • FSN, 830-AMPreview: The Celtics ended a two-game losing streak by beating New...

  • Minnesota Timberwolves' Nikola Pekovic (14), of Montenegro, goes to th...

  • Memphis Grizzlies' Zach Randolph, left, and Minnesota Timberwolves' Kevin Love (42) go for a rebound in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Memphis, Tenn., Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

  • The Grizzlies’ Jerryd Bayless was fouled by Nikola Pekovic on Sunday. Pekovic finished with 19 points and five rebounds.

  • wolves 101, MEmphis 93 • 6:30 p.m. today at Boston • TV: FSN (830-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Detroit 69 FINAL
Philadelphia 89
Portland 94 FINAL
Cleveland 99
Sacramento 102 FINAL
Toronto 119
Boston 98 FINAL
Minnesota 110
Dallas 94 FINAL
Houston 99
Denver 93 FINAL
New Orleans 85
Brooklyn 102 FINAL
Atlanta 113
Oklahoma City 92 FINAL
New York 100
Charlotte 86 FINAL
San Antonio 95
LA Clippers 94 FINAL
Utah 89
Washington 98 FINAL
Phoenix 106
Toronto 1 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 2
Pittsburgh 0 FINAL
Washington 4
Chicago 3 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Temple 86 FINAL
UCF 62
Winthrop 75 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 68
Lafayette 59 FINAL
Colgate 54
Northeastern 60 FINAL
Drexel 65
Wake Forest 76 FINAL
Florida State 82
Rhode Island 64 FINAL
Fordham 63
Delaware 82 FINAL
James Madison 88
South Carolina 58 FINAL
LSU 64
New Hampshire 63 FINAL
Maine 58
Seton Hall 80 FINAL
Marquette 70
Binghamton 68 FINAL
UMBC 56
American Univ 54 FINAL
Navy 64
Elon 65 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 82
Wright State 76 FINAL
Oakland 84
Minnesota 58 FINAL
Penn State 63
Duquesne 55 FINAL
Richmond 86
SMU 63 FINAL
South Florida 52
Hartford 66 FINAL
Stony Brook 72
Albany 47 FINAL
Vermont 44
Hofstra 79 FINAL
William & Mary 100
UNC-Asheville 74 FINAL
Longwood 64
Radford 84 FINAL
Char Southern 77
Holy Cross 0 Postponed
Loyola-Maryland 0
Duke 73 FINAL
Notre Dame 77
Texas Tech 36 FINAL
Oklahoma 81
Oregon State 55 FINAL
Arizona State 73
Morehead State 82 FINAL
Austin Peay 69
Drake 69 FINAL
Bradley 57
Lehigh 62 FINAL
Bucknell 68
Rice 48 FINAL
Houston 59
Missouri State 57 FINAL
Illinois State 67
Loyola-Chicago 47 FINAL
Wichita State 58
Nebraska Omaha 64 FINAL
South Dakota St 86
Northern Iowa 59 FINAL
Southern Ill 52
Louisville 81 FINAL
Boston College 72
St Johns 74 FINAL
Creighton 77
East Carolina 58 FINAL
Memphis 70
Georgia Tech 70 FINAL
Miami-Florida 50
Miss State 73 FINAL
Ole Miss 79
Clemson 68 FINAL
NC State 57
Indiana 67 FINAL
Purdue 83
Kansas 64 FINAL
TCU 61
Oregon 56 FINAL
Arizona 90
Air Force 66 FINAL
San Jose St 52
Stanford 84 FINAL
Washington 74
Rider 56 FINAL
Siena 49
Dayton 76 FINAL
Richmond 62
Eastern Kentucky 53 FINAL
Jacksonville St 73
Saint Josephs 0 Postponed
Saint Louis 0
UMBC 71 FINAL
Binghamton 55
Akron 60 FINAL
Ohio U 72
Ball State 72 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 55
Memphis 56 FINAL
Cincinnati 44
East Carolina 32 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 87
Murray State 59 FINAL
Eastern Illinois 75
Kent State 63 FINAL
Central Michigan 65
UT Martin 64 FINAL
Tennessee St 58
Eastern Michigan 56 FINAL
Western Mich 83
Bucknell 61 FINAL
Lehigh 76
Indiana 57 FINAL
Michigan State 72
Colgate 56 FINAL
Lafayette 58
Fordham 66 FINAL
Davidson 45
Duquesne 76 FINAL
St Bonaventure 64
George Mason 66 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 70
Detroit 59 FINAL
Youngstown St 58
Army 0 Postponed
Boston U 0
Loyola-Maryland 0 Postponed
Holy Cross 0
SMU 58 FINAL
Tulsa 74
Oklahoma St 54 FINAL
Kansas State 52
West Virginia 57 FINAL
Texas Tech 73
Denver 56 FINAL
South Dakota 82
Northwestern St 46 FINAL
Central Arkansas 63
Austin Peay 67 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 87
Kansas 61 FINAL
Iowa State 56
Bowling Green 50 FINAL
Northern Ill 67
Penn State 64 FINAL
Minnesota 75
San Jose St 80 FINAL
Air Force 83
Boise State 82 FINAL
Colorado State 83
Utah State 51 FINAL
Wyoming 86
San Diego State 50 FINAL
Fresno State 57
Nevada 52 FINAL
UNLV 75
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 local team is currently the biggest disappointment?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close