New Jersey at Minnesota

Timberwolves 103, Nets 88 wire reports

MINNEAPOLIS -- Kurt Rambis has been preaching defense to his young Minnesota Timberwolves for two years, for the most part to no avail.

Maybe he should reserve a courtside seat for Kim Kardashian every night.

Kevin Love had 23 points and 10 rebounds and the Timberwolves played the kind of defense that has been an afterthought in these parts in a 103-88 victory over the New Jersey Nets on Saturday night.

Darko Milicic scored 16 points on 8-for-9 shooting and the porous Wolves, who allow more points than any team in the NBA, held the Nets to nine points in the third quarter to win for the third time in four games.

"That's how we've got to play," Milicic said. "The first half we didn't show up. Thirty-three points for two quarters, that's great defense."

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Sasha Vujacic tied a career high with 22 points for the Nets, who have lost five in a row. Former University of Minnesota star Kris Humphries added 12 points and 14 rebounds, but managed just two points and four rebounds in the second half as the Nets fell apart.

"It hurts. People at home, don't think that we sit there and we lose, and it's on to the next one, maybe we'll get the next one," Humphries said. "We're putting in time, all the players are watching film and trying to correct things and really working hard at it. We're staying after it. That's really all I can say."

The teams have combined for 50 losses and 18 victories this season, which is fewer than 12 teams have on their own, and it showed. The Nets and Wolves turned the ball over 38 times, and the game was a mishmash of poor decisions, sloppy ball handling and fouling.

About the only thing good the Nets had going for them on Saturday night was Kardashian, the bombshell who came to town to watch boyfriend Humphries play in his home state.

The former Golden Gopher got off to a fast start with 10 points and 10 rebounds in the first half, thoroughly outplaying Love, the NBA's leading rebounder.

Maybe Kardashian was making the young pups on the Timberwolves a little nervous as well. They turned the ball over 11 times in the first half, leading to 14 New Jersey points.

Coach Avery Johnson had his guards crashing the boards and converging on Love, surrounding him to make it more difficult for him to gain position as the ball caromed off the rim. The Nets outrebounded Minnesota 20-16 and shot 53.5 percent in the first half en route to a 55-54 lead.

Rambis had a few choice words for his team at halftime.

"If I had $100 for every four-letter word he said, I'd be a rich man," Love said.

But the sultry brunette was not at her seat at the start of the second half, and the Wolves ripped off a 14-0 run to take control.

The Nets missed their first seven shots and committed seven turnovers in the period. By the time Kardashian returned, Wes Johnson's two free throws made it 72-57. So she was a plus-one for the game while the Nets were a minus-15.

New Jersey was just 4 for 17 in the quarter, and the nine points allowed were a season low for the Timberwolves, who have been one of the worst defensive teams in the league.

"Boy, we had a terrible third quarter," Johnson said. "We started off the quarter not focused on defense, and then our offense went in the tubes. We just didn't move the ball. We turned it over, which put a lot of pressure on our defense. So we weren't very good."

The Nets shot 33 percent in the second half and Martell Webster scored 10 points and hit two big 3s in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.

Devin Harris had 16 points and eight assists for the Nets, but made just 3 of 13 shots in a lifeless effort. Brook Lopez added just six points and four rebounds.

"I'll take most of the blame," Harris said. "We came out very lethargic offensively. You know that goes on the point guard's shoulders, and I'll take responsibility."


Timberwolves PG Jonny Flynn missed the game with a sprained right ankle. He is expected to practice on Sunday and play on Monday. ... The Nets played without F Troy Murphy (illness) and PG Jordan Farmar (knee). ... The Timberwolves won for the first time this season when Milicic scores more than 14 in a game. ... The Nets missed 11 of 28 free throws.

Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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New Jersey (9-25)292692488
Minnesota (9-25) «36182326103
NJ:S. Vujacic 22 Pts
NJ:K. Humphries 14 Reb
NJ:D. Harris 8 Ast
MIN:K. Love 23 Pts
MIN:K. Love 10 Reb
MIN:L. Ridnour 6 Ast
Players of the Game
New JerseyMinnesota

Sasha Vujacic

Kevin Love

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Magic Bill Ball: NBA Over/Unders
New Jersey
D. Harris, PG333-1310-1318216
T. Outlaw, SF326-143-440017
B. Lopez, C313-70-24136
K. Humphries, PF295-72-4141212
S. Graham, SF242-30-03124
S. Vujacic, SG359-161-254422
J. Petro, C223-80-03246
B. Uzoh, PG200-31-22501
D. Favors, PF122-20-10054
Q. Ross, SG30-00-00000
T. Murphy, PFDid Not Play
J. Farmar, PGDid Not Play
A. Morrow, SGDid Not Play
D. James, SFDid Not Play
Totals 33-7317-2836222288
K. Love, PF397-127-8104223
L. Ridnour, PG333-82-20619
M. Beasley, PF324-102-230310
D. Milicic, C208-90-023516
W. Johnson, SG172-83-44227
C. Brewer, SF292-72-24117
M. Webster, SG253-51-222510
N. Pekovic, C202-54-45058
S. Telfair, PG154-70-00128
K. Koufos, C82-21-24025
W. Ellington, SG20-00-01000
S. Gaines, PG10-00-20000
A. Tolliver, PFDid Not Play
J. Flynn, PGDid Not Play
G. Stiemsma, CDid Not Play
L. Hayward, SFDid Not Play
Totals 37-7322-28351928103
Other Games
Cle 91 Final
Chi 100
NO 92 Final
Wash 81
GS 107 Final
Miami 114
OKC 74 Final
SA 101
Sac 86 Final
Den 104
Dal 87 Final
Mil 99
Mem 92 Final
Utah 98