"You never want to accept losing and we're not trying to lose to get more lottery chances," said Love after posting 20 points and 12 rebounds while helping Minnesota to a 105-97 victory against the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday.
"We do want to have some luck in the lottery this year, don't get me wrong ... but we still want to win. We don't want to lose that competitive edge, especially rolling into next year."
Minnesota is 24-55, the sixth-worst record in the league.
Love, a leading candidate for NBA rookie of the year, is certainly doing his part. He had his 27th double-double of the season and 18th in the past 32 games, despite sitting out the entire fourth quarter.
"He's just going to get better and better," Minnesota coach Kevin McHale said. "He's just a puppy and he's still figuring out what to do out there a little bit, but with good, hard work ... his game will improve. His efficiency will go way up."
Sebastian Telfair came off the bench to score 21 points, including a pair of key 3-pointers down the stretch in the fourth quarter when the Timberwolves went with a three-guard offense. Telfair shouldered Minnesota's offense in the fourth quarter with 14 points, including 10 straight in the final six minutes.
Craig Smith had 14 points for Minnesota, which had six players score in double figures while avenging a 24-point loss at home to the Warriors on March 3.
The Timberwolves have won three of their past four and four of six.
"Tonight we came out and beat them at their own game," Telfair said. "At some point, we're going to turn this thing around and we're going to be one of those teams that's winning night in and night out. Unfortunately it hasn't happened yet, but it's coming."
The Warriors led 61-58 at halftime but scored only 12 points in the third quarter, matching their lowest single-quarter total of the season.
"It was pretty ugly," said Golden State's C.J. Watson, who had 10 points and three assists. "We stopped doing pretty much everything we wanted to do, moving the ball, playing defense, rebounding. Even running on the fastbreak, we stopped doing [that] in the third quarter."
Love did most of his damage in the first half. He was 5-for-12 from the floor overall and 10-for-10 at the line.
Love, the fifth overall pick in the 2008 draft, also moved within two rebounds of breaking the Timberwolves' single-season rookie record, held by Christian Laetner (708).
"I think I might get that," Love said with a grin. "It's pretty cool to me because one thing right out of the gate, I knew I could rebound. There's no such thing as a selfish rebound."
Telfair took over for Minnesota in the fourth quarter. He hit a 19-foot fadeaway jumper early in the quarter then added an 18-footer to make it 94-86 with 6:04 remaining.
After Crawford's 3-pointer cut the gap to five, Telfair scored on a drive down the lane then followed with back-to-back treys to push the Timberwolves lead to 102-92 with less than two minutes left.
Andris Biedrins had nine points and six rebounds in his return to Golden State's lineup for the first time since suffering a sprained left ankle against Dallas on March 13. The Warriors were 5-7 without their leading rebounder.
"They just basically outplayed us all game long," Golden State coach Don Nelson said. "When they were missing shots, we were in the game ... but once they started making those same shots that were open before, they just put us away."
|The T-Wolves' Kevin Love returns from the flu and finishes with his 27th double-double. (Getty Images)|
|Minnesota (24-55) «||26||32||20||27||105|
|Golden State (28-50)||27||34||12||24||97|
|MIN:S. Telfair 21 Pts
MIN:K. Love 12 Reb
MIN:M. Miller 6 Ast
|GS:J. Crawford 31 Pts
GS:A. Randolph 11 Reb
GS:R. Turiaf 6 Ast
|Players of the Game|
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|K. Ollie, PG||31||2-6||4-6||4||1||2||8|
|M. Miller, SF||31||2-5||2-2||7||6||2||6|
|R. Gomes, PF||27||3-11||4-8||2||3||1||11|
|K. Love, PF||25||5-12||10-10||12||0||0||20|
|B. Cardinal, PF||24||4-6||0-0||3||1||3||10|
|S. Telfair, PG||32||9-17||0-0||2||4||1||21|
|C. Smith, PF||27||5-10||4-4||4||1||3||14|
|S. Williams, PF||23||2-6||1-2||11||3||2||5|
|B. Brown, PG||21||5-8||0-0||0||1||4||10|
|M. Madsen, PF||Did Not Play|
|J. Collins, C||Did Not Play|
|A. Jefferson, PF||Did Not Play|
|R. Carney, SF||Did Not Play|
|R. Foye, PG||Did Not Play|
|C. Brewer, SF||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|
|K. Azubuike, SF||44||11-19||2-4||8||3||4||26|
|J. Crawford, SG||43||10-23||6-6||3||3||1||31|
|A. Morrow, SG||35||2-11||2-2||2||3||3||6|
|R. Turiaf, PF||28||1-4||0-0||6||6||5||2|
|A. Randolph, SF||28||5-13||0-0||11||2||3||10|
|C. Watson, PG||29||4-10||1-1||3||3||1||10|
|A. Biedrins, C||26||4-4||1-2||6||2||3||9|
|R. Kurz, SF||7||1-2||0-0||2||0||1||3|
|C. Maggette, SF||Did Not Play|
|S. Jackson, SG||Did Not Play|
|M. Ellis, SG||Did Not Play|
|M. Belinelli, SG||Did Not Play|
|B. Wright, SF||Did Not Play|
|J. Davidson, PF||Did Not Play|
|M. Williams, PG||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|