Wolves struggle to top depleted Lakers 109-99

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 5, 2014 - 6:56 AM

Kevin Love took a beating but persevered in a victory that didn’t come easily.

With just over four minutes left in the Timberwolves’ game Tuesday with the Los Angeles Lakers, Kevin Love went up for a shot in the paint and got hit by Lakers center Robert Sacre.

Hard.

Love crashed to the floor and stayed there. His first thought: Ouch, my hip. His second thought: Ouch, my head. His third: Get up.

So Love rose, slowly. He worked his way to the bench, rested through a full timeout, walked back out and hit both free throws for two of his 31 points. Minnesota needed nearly every one. With Love and Kevin Martin (32 points) leading the way, the Wolves beat a feisty Lakers team 109-99, beginning a stretch of four games in five nights with a gutty, physical, perhaps harder than it needed to be win.

Led by Love, of course.

On the way to 31 points and 17 rebounds — his seventh 30-15 game this year and the 25th of his career, one more than Kevin Garnett had in a Wolves uniform — Love was knocked to the floor at least three times.

Each time he got up.

“He gets dirty down there,” Martin said. “That’s why we pay him the big bucks. That’s why he’s an All-Star starter.’’

Playing again without injured center Nikola Pekovic, Love played more than 40 minutes, took nearly a hit per minute, and kept ticking. In the process he willed the Wolves past a beat-up Lakers team that, though it got guards Steve Nash and Steve Blake back, was without center Pau Gasol, superstar Kobe Bryant, and without guards Jordan Hill (neck) and forward Jodie Meeks (ankle) for much of the game. Blake played much of the game with a ruptured eardrum.

Against a depleted team, Love continued an amazing streak that has seen him shake off a turned ankle, a banged-up knee and, Tuesday, a banged up everything, culminating in that collision with the Target Center floor that quieted the arena.

“First it was the hip,” he said. “And then I got a real bad whiplash. Haven’t seen the play, but it felt like my head snapped back pretty good, hit the floor. More than anything, what worried me the most was that [head athletic trainer Gregg Farnam] was 2 inches from my face. I feel bad for his wife.”

It’s easy to joke when you’ve scored 163 points in your past five games. And when you’ve won.

J.J. Barea and Corey Brewer each scored 11 points for the Wolves. Ricky Rubio had just four points but 13 assists. But it was Martin and Love who accounted for the bulk of the Wolves offense, and they needed it against a Lakers team that has lost 13 of its past 15 games.

Because the Lakers, down 25 in the second quarter, wouldn’t go away. With Nick Young and Manny Harris coming off the bench to score 24 and 19 points, respectively, and with Nash able to play nearly 25 minutes the Lakers trimmed that 25 point lead to 16 by halftime and to within seven once in the third quarter and again early in the fourth.

Each time the Wolves responded, at a price. Love and Martin both played over 40 minutes with a game Wednesday at Oklahoma City looming. Indeed for Wolves (24-24), who reached .500 yet again, the game mirrored an up and down season. It also showed Love’s toughness again.

“He’s a soldier,” center Ronny Turiaf said of Love.

Said Rubio: “He plays aggressive. That’s why he’s so good. But you have to pay [the price].’’

For Love, it was just another night at the office.

“I”ve taken a physical beating, but you have to expect that,” he said. “You get knocked down, you get back up and you keep going at it.”

  • related content

  • BOXSCORE: Wolves 109, LA Lakers 99

    Tuesday February 4, 2014

  • Wolves notes: New practice facility hailed as best in pro sports

    Wednesday February 5, 2014

    By NBA standards, the Wolves feel they’ll be going from relatively low-rent to high class when they move into their...

  • Gameday preview: Wolves at Oklahoma City

    Tuesday February 4, 2014

    wolves gameday7 P.M. At OKLAHOMA CITY FSN, 830-AMPreview: The Wolves play on the back end of the first of two...

  • Wolves -L.A. Lakers game recap

    Tuesday February 4, 2014

    GAME RECAPImpact playerKevin Love, WolvesThe forward known for stretching the floor with his three-point shooting turned to an inside game...

  • Wolves back to .500 with game at Oklahoma City next

    Tuesday February 4, 2014

    Love, Martin lead the way

  • Kevin Love rebounded the ball in the second half during an NBA game between the Timberwolves and the L.A. Lakers at Target Center on Tuesday, February 4, 2014.

  • Minnesota Timberwolves' Ricky Rubio, right, of Spain, tries to break away from Los Angeles Lakers' Steve Nash during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

  • wolves 109, Lakers 99

    Up next: 7 p.m. today at Oklahoma City • TV : FSN (830-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Brooklyn 109 FINAL
Boston 107
Cleveland 98 FINAL
Orlando 89
Indiana 109 FINAL
Detroit 119
Milwaukee 107 FINAL
Atlanta 77
Houston 117 FINAL
Memphis 111
San Antonio 90 FINAL
New Orleans 97
Charlotte 75 FINAL
Oklahoma City 98
LA Lakers 98 FINAL
Dallas 102
Minnesota 102 FINAL
Denver 106
Philadelphia 93 FINAL
Portland 114
Phoenix 115 FINAL
Sacramento 106
Illinois 18 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 35
Rutgers 40 FINAL
North Carolina 21
NC State 34 FINAL
UCF 27
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
(15) Arizona State 12/27/14 1:10 PM
Duke
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
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: Who is your favorite pro sports coach in the Twin Cities?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close