Jerry Zgoda missed the entire Kevin Garnett era, but he's back covering the Timberwolves after working the beat for their first four seasons two decades ago. In between, he covered a bit of everything: Gopher men's and women's basketball and NCAA athletics, golf, outdoor recreation, sports media and a little Vikings and Twins.

Reverse image: Bulls do all the right things, beat Wolves 108-91

Posted by: Jerry Zgoda under Wolves injury report, Wolves postgame, Wolves news Updated: March 31, 2011 - 3:53 AM

The way Kevin Love saw it Wednesday night in his return from that groin injury, the Wolves just might have very well met a Chicago Bulls team that could go "very, very far" in the playoffs, perhaps as far as the NBA Finals.

Three nights after the Wolves trailed the Celtics by 25 and lost by three, they got completely taken apart by MVP favorite Derrick Rose and a Bulls team missing injured Joakim Noah.

The Wolves trailed 30-19 after a quarter and by as many as 26 in the second half against an opponent that moved the ball so crisply, they racked up 31 assists on 41 field-goals made while Rose made another case for that MVP award (23 points, 10 assists). With Noah out, Carlos Boozer stepped forth with a double-double (24 points, 14 rebounds).

The Wolves now have lost eight straight and 19 of their last 23 while the Bulls boosted their Eastern Conference lead to 2.5 games over the Celtics and Heat.

Here's the game story from Wednesday night, when the Wolves saw a team that sure looked like everything they're not.

Just a couple quick things from the game:

* What's happened to Wes Johnson?

Remember that 29-point game against Kobe and the Lakers in L.A. not long ago?

That was only two weeks ago, but it seems like an eternity.

He went scoreless tonight  (0 for 6) for the first time since a Feb. 16 game against the Clippers and now has scored 28 points in his last five games since he scored those 29..

He has shown encouraging flashes this season, but certainly not the consistency needed to be considered a primary piece to this puzzle, at least not for now

* Remember all those point guards David Kahn has collected in his relatively short time here?

What wouldn't the Wolves give for one of them to turn out just a little bit like Rose, who leads a Bulls team that Love says he "envies" because play for each other and "are in it to win it."

"In that regard, I envy that, I salivate for that," Love said.

* This probably, normally would be a good place to say something about Darko and Jonny Flynn, but, well, what's the point?

* Love played almost 27 minutes in his first game back from that injury, and came within a rebound in double-double No. 65 (16 points, 9 rebounds) even though he and the other Wolves starters didn't play at all in the fourth quarter because it was such a blowout.

"I felt fine, still a little tender, still a little restrictive," he said, "but that's no excuse for how we played tonight."

* Tom Thibodeau, an assistant for Bill Musselman on the first two Wolves teams long ago, has this mixture of youth with Rose (and Noah) and experienced supporting and role players humming, although my throat got sore just listening to Thibodeau push and prod and yell all night.

* Remember when there was that great debate over whether Rose or Michael Beasley should be the No. 1 pick?

It wasn't that long ago -- only 2008 -- although tonight it seemed like a lifetime away, didn't it?

That's all I've got from Target Center.

This tough stretch for the Wolves doesn't get any easier: After games against the Celtics and Bulls already this week, LeBron James and the Heat come to town for Friday's game.

Actually, they're already in town, landing in Minnesota late tonight after winning in Washington earlier this evening.

 

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