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Continued: Love, Rubio use playoff mentality to help Wolves win in Dallas

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Last update: March 20, 2014 - 1:47 AM

Hummel played the game’s final 17 minutes because Adelman feels he needs a third power forward behind Love and Dante Cunningham while centers Nikola Pekovic and Ronny Turiaf both remain out and because he wanted Hummel’s perimeter shooting threat to spread the defense when the Mavericks double-teamed Love in the post with the game on the line.

“He helps us so much because he spreads the court, he forces them to adjust because he’s on the floor,” Adelman said about Hummel. “He plays hard and sometimes he’s overmatched, but I thought he was the best chance tonight in the overtime and the fourth quarter.”

Hummel had the chance to win the game outright, but his three-pointer from the left corner rimmed around and came out with fewer than three seconds in regulation after he had already made two fourth-quarter threes.

“I thought it was in,” Hummel said.

So, too, did Rubio.

“I was under the basket and I thought the basketball was going in,” Rubio said. “But the rim didn’t like it.”

Love passed up a three-point shot and moved the ball along to Hummel for that final shot, just as he had done moments earlier when he moved the ball along to Kevin Martin for an open shot.

Both players missed, but Love said both times he made the right play.

“Just trusted my teammate that he’d make the shot,” Love said. “I’ll take that from those guys every time.”

Love delivered the winner himself in overtime, the last of his six points in those final minutes after the Mavericks twice led by five points early in overtime.

Nowitzki’s step-back jumper on a night when he shot just 11-for-27 gave the Mavericks a 122-121 lead with 33.9 seconds left in overtime. But the Wolves went right to their power-forward star next possession and Love faked defenders into the air when the Dallas defense collapsed on him before he made a floating 11-foot jumper with 17 seconds left.

Love did the same when he faked a three-point shot, got Vince Carter in the air and forced contact that fouled Carter out of the game with 2:16 left in overtime. Love made all three free throws to tie the game and continue a closing 8-2 Wolves’ run that ended the game.

Love’s shot with 17 seconds remaining became the winner when Nowitzki missed just before the final buzzer and Corey Brewer held tight the rebound as time expired.

“I just wanted to get the ball into his hands,” Adelman said. “I think eventually he’s going to be able to do a lot of things that Dirk does when the gets the ball at the free-throw line.”

The victory put the Wolves two games over .500 – at 34-32 – for the first time since they were 8-6 after beating Brooklyn on Nov. 22.

They have much more work to do if the season’s final month becomes anything more than their early version of the playoffs.

“There’s a lot riding on these games,” Love said. “We’re just fighting trying to get every win we can. Tonight was a fun game for us.”

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