Denver at Minnesota

Wolves overcome Love's poor shooting night, edge Nuggets

CBSSports.com wire reports
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Kevin Love heard a couple of snide remarks from the normally adoring Minnesota crowd, and it had nothing to do with his 3-for-17 shooting night against Denver.

Some disparaging comments about the Timberwolves organization and his contract appeared to get a few fans a little riled up, and Nikola Pekovic and JJ Barea stepped in to deliver a much-needed win against the road-weary Nuggets.

Pekovic had 22 points and 11 rebounds and the Timberwolves used a big advantage at the free throw line to overcome Love's shooting struggles in a 108-105 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night.

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Barea had 17 points, eight assists, five rebounds and two steals, while Love finished with eight points and grabbed 14 rebounds on a day he had to explain to Minnesota's owner some critical comments he made about the franchise.

"I heard a few things from the fans that weren't too pleasant," Love said.

The Timberwolves shot under 40 percent for much of the game, but made 30 of 37 from the free throw line. The Nuggets were just 14 of 24 at the line.

Kenneth Faried had 26 points and 14 rebounds for the Nuggets, who missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer that would have tied the game.

Andrei Kirilenko added 18 points and four steals and Dante Cunningham scored 12 for Minnesota.

"If we can win and I can have a game like that, I'm not going to be mad," Love said. "I was very happy."

The Wolves led by 11 with less than two minutes to play, but the Nuggets pulled within three and had the ball with 34 seconds to play. Ty Lawson's 3-pointer at the buzzer was short, and the Wolves breathed a sigh of relief.

Lawson had 17 points and 11 assists, and Danilo Gallinari scored 24 for Denver.

"We really had that no-quit attitude, especially with what Kevin Love put out in the media, challenging his teammates," Faried said.

That's not entirely accurate. Love did question the decisions made by team president David Kahn in a Yahoo! Sports story, but spent the morning meeting with reporters to say that he was happy with the direction of the team.

He then played like a guy with other things on his mind. He missed his first six shots and couldn't contain Faried's boundless energy on the defensive end. But Love said it had nothing to do with the events of the day.

"That's not why I shot poorly," Love said. "They were good looks that I just missed."

Faried has gone through peaks and valleys this season and entered the night with 22 points total in his previous four games. The Manimal got off to a ferocious start on Wednesday night, scoring 14 points and grabbing five boards in the first quarter alone. He gobbled up rebounds then blew the doors off the Minnesota big men in transition for easy buckets.

That it was coming on the second night of a back-to-back against a Wolves team that had the previous four days off was even more impressive. Then again, the Nuggets have been hardened by a grueling schedule to open this season. They've played 17 of their first 23 games on the road and were finishing up a five-game road trip.

"We lost. Any time we lose, it's a terrible game," Faried said. "You can't put stats on that or what you did well because it's a team effort. We kept pushing and we kept fighting, and that's what I admire."

The last time these two teams met, the Timberwolves sprang quite a surprise on coach George Karl and the Nuggets. Love made his season debut on that night, which came more than a week before anyone expected. His activation wasn't known until about an hour before game time, and Karl wondered if the Wolves might throw Ricky Rubio out there on Wednesday night for his first game of the season.

Karl said he received a text earlier Wednesday that "guaranteed" Rubio would not be playing that night. "That made me even more suspicious," he said. Rubio did not play. He's expected to play Saturday night against Dallas.

The Nuggets turned the ball over 19 times, leading to 27 points for the Timberwolves. Andre Iguodala had five of those errors and scored just two points on 1-for-9 shooting.

"We just didn't play an intelligent game," Karl said. "To overcome those three areas of fundamentals and to have a shot to tie is pretty impressive."

Notes

  • Gallinari entered the night shooting 28 percent from 3-point range. He was 4 for 5 on Wednesday night.
  • Timberwolves G/F Josh Howard missed the game because of an illness.
  • Wolves SG Malcolm Lee left the game just before halftime with a hyperextended right knee and did not return.
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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Center Nikola Pekovic helps fuel the Wolves past the Nuggets with his 22-point, 11-rebound effort. (AP)
Center Nikola Pekovic helps fuel the Wolves past the Nuggets with his 22-point, 11-rebound effort. (AP)

Scoreboard
Denver (10-12)29212035105
Minnesota (10-9) «21302631108
DEN:K. Faried 26 Pts
DEN:K. Faried 14 Reb
DEN:T. Lawson 11 Ast
MIN:N. Pekovic 22 Pts
MIN:K. Love 14 Reb
MIN:J. Barea 8 Ast
Players of the Game
DenverMinnesota

Kenneth Faried

Nikola Pekovic
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
2614122112
Denver
K. Faried, SF3810-166-10141326
T. Lawson, PG376-154-6411217
A. Iguodala, SG351-90-05722
D. Gallinari, SF359-132-241524
K. Koufos, C223-30-07056
C. Brewer, SF266-110-010214
A. Miller, PG211-61-11413
J. McGee, C164-61-53059
J. Hamilton, SF102-40-03034
T. Mozgov, C10-00-00020
W. Chandler, SFDid Not Play
A. Randolph, PFDid Not Play
J. Stone, PGDid Not Play
E. Fournier, SGDid Not Play
Q. Miller, SFDid Not Play
Totals 42-8314-24422430105
 50.6%58.3% 
Minnesota
A. Kirilenko, SF366-126-642318
N. Pekovic, C327-108-8112222
K. Love, PF313-172-414158
L. Ridnour, PG285-123-414315
M. Lee, SG100-20-01100
A. Shved, PG313-102-22528
J. Barea, PG276-125-758217
D. Cunningham, SF235-52-432212
D. Williams, PF132-62-21016
G. Stiemsma, C101-10-02022
J. Howard, SFDid Not Play
B. Roy, SGDid Not Play
L. Amundson, PFDid Not Play
C. Budinger, SFDid Not Play
R. Rubio, PGDid Not Play
Totals 38-8730-37442522108
 43.7%81.1% 
Other Games
Cle 81 Final
Ind 96
Atl 86 Final
Orl 80
Brook 94 Final
Tor 88
GS 97 Final
Mia 95
Chi 96 Final
Phi 89
LAC 100 Final
Char 94
Dal 115 Final
Bos 117
Wash 93 Final
Hou 99
Sac 85 Final
Mil 98
NO 88 Final
OKC 92
Mem 80 Final
Pho 82
SA 96 Final
Utah 99