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Minnesota at Phoenix

Wolves win back-n-forth battle vs. Suns

CBSSports.com wire reports
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PHOENIX -- Kevin Love got comfortable Monday night and then he got in a groove at the right time.

Love scored 13 of his game-high 30 points in the fourth quarter and the Minnesota Timberwolves outlasted the Phoenix Suns 127-124.

"The biggest thing for me is I didn't get a good warm up," said Love, who set a franchise mark with his 15th 30-point game of the season. "I had good looks in the first half but the ball never really felt right in my hand. I decided to get my legs under me in the second half and that was the biggest difference."

Love had been relatively quiet over the first three quarters, hitting only one 3-pointer and scoring 14 points through the game's first 34 minutes.

But he hit a 3 to key a 7-0 Minnesota run late in the third then hit consecutive 3s in the first minute of the fourth as the Timberwolves took a 98-92 lead.

Love finished 11 of 23 from the floor, including 5-of-9 shooting from behind the arc.

"We just have to do a better job of understanding what happens in [defensive] rotations," said Suns coach Alvin Gentry. "We can't let Kevin Love catch the ball and shoot nine threes without ever putting it down."

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Nikola Pekovic scored 24 points and Derrick Williams added 19 to help the Timberwolves snap a nine-game losing streak in Phoenix.

The Timberwolves got 52 points from their reserves, with Michael Beasley and Wayne Ellington scoring 15 apiece.

"There are people on this bench who can start for other teams," Williams said. "We don't have a weak point."

Jared Dudley scored a season-high 28 points, Steve Nash had 25 and Channing Frye added 18 for the Suns, who had their three-game winning streak snapped.

"We just did a poor job defensively, obviously," Dudley said. "But even with that our offense kept us in the game and still gave us a chance to win the game."

Sebastian Telfair scored six points in seven seconds -- converting a four-point play and stealing the ensuing inbounds pass and scoring a layup -- to give the Suns a 111-107 lead with 6:38 left.

Luke Ridnour put Minnesota ahead for good, 121-120, with 1:50 to go and the Timberwolves made six straight free throws in the final 37.8 seconds to close out the game.

Phoenix had an opportunity to tie the score in the final seconds but Dudley missed a 3-pointer and Marcin Gortat, who was fouled going for the rebound, missed both free-throw attempts.

Minnesota set season highs for points scored and second-quarter points with 35 while also allowing a season-worst point total. The Suns also set season marks for points scored and allowed and second-half points scored.

Pekovic scored most of his points in the game's opening quarter, totaling 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting to go with four rebounds and a block shot in the first 12 minutes.

"Pekovic really took control of the game early and from there we were chasing guys off threes and chasing off screens," Gentry said. "If you score 125 points you expect to win."

Notes

  • Even without Ricky Rubio, who suffered a season-ending ACL injury Friday night, Minnesota finished with a season-best 30 assists.
  • Love also moved into second place on Minnesota's career rebounding list, passing Sam Campbell with 3,029. He remains in a distant second to Kevin Garnett.
  • Gortat was in foul trouble from the get-go while defending Pekovic, picking up two-first quarter fouls and his third just over two minutes after he checked into the game in the second. Gortat finished with eight points and four rebounds in just more than 19 minutes.
  • Nash and Dudley combined to outscore Minnesota's starting backcourt of Ridnour and Martell Webster 53-12.
  • Minnesota shot 56 percent from the floor, Phoenix 52 percent.. Telfair finished with 10 points in just under 16 minutes.
Copyright 2014 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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Kevin Love erupts for 13 of his game-high 30 points in the fourth quarter to carry the Timberwolves past the Suns.  (Getty Images)
Kevin Love erupts for 13 of his game-high 30 points in the fourth quarter to carry the Timberwolves past the Suns. (Getty Images)

Scoreboard
Minnesota (22-21) «28352935127
Phoenix (19-22)34223434124
MIN:K. Love 30 Pts
MIN:N. Pekovic 8 Reb
MIN:L. Ridnour 9 Ast
PHO:J. Dudley 28 Pts
PHO:J. Dudley 9 Reb
PHO:S. Nash 10 Ast
Players of the Game
MinnesotaPhoenix

Kevin Love

Steve Nash
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
307125310
Minnesota
K. Love, PF3711-233-571130
N. Pekovic, C3611-172-481324
L. Ridnour, PG334-92-249310
W. Johnson, SF233-62-23139
M. Webster, SG201-20-02642
W. Ellington, SG346-90-002315
D. Williams, PF217-103-480219
M. Beasley, PF166-70-021215
J. Barea, PG151-31-43803
A. Randolph, PF50-30-02110
B. Miller, CDid Not Play
D. Milicic, CDid Not Play
A. Tolliver, PFDid Not Play
M. Lee, SGDid Not Play
R. Rubio, PGDid Not Play
Totals 50-8913-21393022127
 56.2%61.9% 
Phoenix
J. Dudley, SF3610-156-691128
G. Hill, SF324-92-224010
S. Nash, PG3210-163-3310225
C. Frye, C327-110-054418
M. Gortat, PF203-62-64048
S. Brown, PG284-133-353211
R. Lopez, C242-56-830210
M. Morris, PF202-80-05024
S. Telfair, PG164-61-112210
M. Redd, SGDid Not Play
J. Childress, SFDid Not Play
H. Warrick, PFDid Not Play
R. Price, PGDid Not Play
Totals 46-8923-29372419124
 51.7%79.3% 
Other Games
Mil 105 Final
NJ 99
Char 73 Final
NO 71
NY 99 Final
Chi 104
Wash 97 Final
SA 112
Det 90 Final
Utah 105
Bos 94 Final
LAC 85