With Love out, Wolves fall 106-97 at Oklahoma City

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 6, 2014 - 2:53 AM

A gift three-pointer helped Oklahoma City pull away.

– Somebody asked Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman before Saturday’s loss at Atlanta what he would do if battered and bruised All-Star Kevin Love couldn’t play that night and after saying he didn’t know, Adelman suggested dryly, “Fly home?”

Adelman chose a different option Wednesday when that scenario came true in a 106-97 loss at Western Conference-leading Oklahoma City.

Missing his entire starting front line, Adelman plugged Luc Mbah a Moute, Dante Cunningham and Ronny Turiaf in for Love, injured Nikola Pekovic (ankle bursitis) and absent Corey Brewer (son’s birth) and hoped for the best.

That meant a competitive game until third quarter’s end, when a Thunder team missing Russell Westbrook, but steaming toward the West’s best record regardless, pulled away.

“I couldn’t be prouder the way they competed,” Adelman said about his team. “What it showed was, these guys compete. They weren’t afraid to go out there and play with three starters out. It gave the other guys an opportunity play.”

And so Adelman played everyone from Cunningham’s 42-plus minutes to varying roles for seldom-used Robbie Hummel, Gorgui Dieng, Shabazz Muhammad and A.J. Price, in a game where the Wolves gave the Thunder a gift three-pointer at third quarter’s end that it used to transform a tied game.

Adelman believed Love would play until the team finished its pregame meeting about 20 minutes before the opening tip. Adelman said that’s when Love told the team’s medical trainer he couldn’t play because of a stiff neck suffered when his head whipped back during a scary fall late in Tuesday’s home victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Love received extra treatment on his neck Wednesday until he decided he couldn’t play. He declined comment after the game.

“I thought he was going to play the whole time,” Adelman said. “But his neck and his whole body is pretty stiff, so it didn’t surprise me.”

Adelman told Cunningham that it was next man up.

“He said I was going to play, about 48 minutes jokingly,” Cunningham said. “But I guess it was for real.”

Cunningham made nine of 13 shots and scored 18 points, one fewer than Ricky Rubio did. Rubio shot 6-for-12 from the floor — that’s often about a week’s worth of shots for the pass-first, shoot-last point guard.

“I think everyone got their week’s worth of shots up tonight,” Cunningham said.

With the team’s entire starting frontcourt out, Cunningham and Rubio stepped forth, keeping the Wolves in the game until late in the third quarter, when it was tied 77-77.

“Without them, there are more shots and you have to take more responsibility and you just have to attack,” Rubio said.

When asked if he needs to more often assert himself offensively like he did Wednesday, Rubio said: “I mean, sometimes. But I’m the point guard, I’m the guy who has to get my teammates playing.”

He and his teammates stayed close until Dieng reached for Derek Fisher’s long, missed three-pointer at third quarter’s end and tipped it into the basket, incurring a goaltending call on a rookie’s mistake that turned a tie score into an 80-77 Thunder lead.

When Jeremy Lamb opened the fourth quarter with a real made three-pointer, Oklahoma City led by six, and the Wolves never got any closer than that again while the Thunder built its lead back to as many as 13.

  • related content

  • Video: From the Locker Room: Thunder beats depleted Wolves

    Thursday February 6, 2014

    Rick Adelman, Dante Cunningham and Ricky Rubio discuss Wednesday's loss at OKC in which the Wolves played without Kevin...

  • BOXSCORE: Oklahoma City 106, Wolves 97

    Wednesday February 5, 2014

  • Wolves notes: Front line starters all missing in action

    Thursday February 6, 2014

    mall forward Corey Brewer stayed behind in Minnesota to be with his newborn son

  • Wolves are eager for Pekovic to return

    Monday February 3, 2014

    The injured center was clearly missed in back-to-back losses over the weekend.

  • Wolves-Oklahoma City game recap

    Wednesday February 5, 2014

    GAME RECAPImpact playerKevin Durant, OKCAlmost an off night by his standards, the superstar scored 26 points nonetheless and had nine...

  • Minnesota Timberwolves guard Kevin Martin (23) moves past Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka (9) for a shot during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

  • Wolves guard Ricky Rubio scored on a fast break, beating Thunder center Kendrick Perkins in the third quarter. Rubio, shooting often with so many teammates missing, had 19 points and five assists.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Kansas City - LP: B. Finnegan 4 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: Y. Petit 11
Detroit 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
New Orleans 10/30/14 7:25 PM
Carolina
Buffalo 2 FINAL
San Jose 1
Boston 4 FINAL
Toronto 1
NY Rangers 1 FINAL
Montreal 3
New Jersey 3 FINAL(OT)
Ottawa 2
Dallas 5 FINAL
NY Islanders 7
Detroit 2 FINAL
Philadelphia 4
Chicago 2 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Pittsburgh 3 FINAL
Nashville 0
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Minnesota 7
Florida 1 FINAL(OT)
Arizona 2
Washington 3 FINAL
Calgary 1
So Florida 17 FINAL
Cincinnati 34
Troy 13 FINAL
South Alabama 27
BYU 30 FINAL
Boise State 55
(6) Oregon 59 FINAL
California 41
North Texas 21 FINAL
Rice 41
UAB 17 FINAL
Arkansas 45
Rutgers 24 FINAL
(16) Nebraska 42
Maryland 7 FINAL
Wisconsin 52
Texas 0 FINAL
(11) Kansas State 23
Minnesota 24 FINAL
Illinois 28
Memphis 48 FINAL
SMU 10
North Carolina 28 FINAL
Virginia 27
San Jose St 31 FINAL
Navy 41
Northern Ill 28 FINAL
Eastern Mich 17
(25) UCLA 40 FINAL
Colorado 37
Akron 21 FINAL
Ball State 35
Massachusetts 35 FINAL
Toledo 42
Ohio U 21 FINAL
Western Mich 42
Ga Southern 69 FINAL
Georgia State 31
Kent State 3 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 10
Oregon State 14 FINAL
Stanford 38
Fla Atlantic 16 FINAL
(23) Marshall 35
Louisiana Tech 31 FINAL
Southern Miss 20
(1) Miss State 45 FINAL
Kentucky 31
Georgia Tech 56 FINAL
Pittsburgh 28
(22) West Virginia 34 FINAL
Oklahoma State 10
Texas Tech 27 FINAL
(10) TCU 82
Michigan 11 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 35
Boston College 23 FINAL
Wake Forest 17
Central Mich 20 FINAL
Buffalo 14
Vanderbilt 14 FINAL
Missouri 24
Old Dominion 51 FINAL
Western Ky 66
UNLV 20 FINAL
Utah State 34
Temple 14 FINAL
UCF 34
(15) Arizona 59 FINAL
Washington St 37
Texas-El Paso 34 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 0
Wyoming 31 FINAL
Colorado State 45
Syracuse 6 FINAL
(21) Clemson 16
Texas State 22 FINAL
ULM 18
(3) Ole Miss 7 FINAL
(24) LSU 10
(4) Alabama 34 FINAL
Tennessee 20
So Carolina 35 FINAL
(5) Auburn 42
(13) Ohio State 31 FINAL
Penn State 24
(20) USC 21 FINAL
(19) Utah 24
(14) Arizona State 24 FINAL
Washington 10
Nevada 26 FINAL
Hawaii 18
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Louisville
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulane
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Memphis
Purdue 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
(17) Oklahoma 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa State
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(22) West Virginia
Texas 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Texas Tech
Northwestern 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa
Maryland 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Penn State
Air Force 11/1/14 10:30 AM
Army
ULM 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Texas A&M
Duke 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Wisconsin 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
Rice 11/1/14 11:00 AM
FIU
(18) East Carolina 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Temple
UCF 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Connecticut
Boston College 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Miami-Florida
Washington 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Central Mich 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 11/1/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Western Ky 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Syracuse
Texas State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico St
Virginia 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech
BYU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
Indiana 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(9) Georgia
Georgia State 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Kentucky 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Kansas 11/1/14 3:00 PM
(12) Baylor
Houston 11/1/14 3:00 PM
So Florida
(20) USC 11/1/14 3:30 PM
Washington St
Arkansas State 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
South Alabama 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Louisiana
New Mexico 11/1/14 4:30 PM
UNLV
UAB 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
(5) Auburn 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss
Arkansas 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(1) Miss State
Old Dominion 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Colorado State 11/1/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St
Stanford 11/1/14 6:30 PM
(6) Oregon
Tennessee 11/1/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina
Southern Miss 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
(7) Notre Dame 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Navy
Illinois 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(13) Ohio State
(15) Arizona 11/1/14 9:30 PM
(25) UCLA
California 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
San Diego St 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Wyoming 11/1/14 9:45 PM
Fresno State
(19) Utah 11/1/14 10:00 PM
(14) Arizona State
Utah State 11/1/14 10:00 PM
Hawaii
Los Angeles 0 FINAL
Seattle 2
D.C. 1 FINAL
Montreal 1
Toronto FC 0 FINAL
New England 1
Portland 2 FINAL
FC Dallas 0
Colorado 0 FINAL
Vancouver FC 1
Montreal 23 FINAL
Ottawa 17
Saskatchewan 27 FINAL
Calgary 40
Hamilton 24 FINAL
Toronto 26
Brt Columbia 28 FINAL
Winnipeg 23
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 are you currently most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close