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Love, Martin spark Timberwolves over Mavs

The SportsXchange

MINNEAPOLIS -- Kevin and Kevin. Sounds like a pop band, maybe a law firm. But in Minnesota it is just what the fans were looking for.

Timberwolves power forward Kevin Love and shooting guard Kevin Martin each scored 32 points Friday night in a 116-108 victory over the Dallas Mavericks at Target Center.

It was the second time they had each scored 30 in a game in a week, and it was further proof that the Timberwolves (4-2) knew just what they were doing when they signed Martin as a free agent this summer, giving the team a scoring two-guard who could compliment Love.

"I saw the potential in this team, what it was missing," said Martin, who scored 21 of his points in the second half, 12 in a tense fourth quarter that didn't open up until late. "I felt like I was the perfect fit."

Love couldn't agree more. If it was Martin who kept the Wolves holding a tentative lead throughout much of the final quarter, it was Love who finished things off. Coming out of a time out and the Wolves up three, Love hit a step-back 3-pointer with 2:12 left. After point guard Monta Ellis missed at the other end, Love hit a falling-away 17-footer. Martin's 17-foot turn-around moments later put the game out of reach.

"I just told him, 'Pick for me, I'm going to take this shot,' '' Love said of the 3-pointer. ''And I knocked it down.''

In an early season of superlatives, Love's game continues to grow. His 32 points and 15 rebounds aren't a surprise. But he continues to improve as a facilitator. His eight assists were one off his career high. This was his second 30-point, 15-rebound, five-assists game of the season, and he remains the only player in the league to do it this year. Many of his eight assists came on long outlet passes, many to small forward Corey Brewer, who scored 17 points. Center Nikola Pekovic had 15 points and three blocks.

But Love and Martin, together?

"It helps," Wolves coach Rick Adelman joked. "It makes you look a lot better. That play they ran at the end, with the three out of the time out? That was a clutch play."

The Wolves needed it in a back-and-forth game. Martin had nine points in a 16-4 third-quarter run that put the Wolves up 11. But the Mavericks came right back, to within four, entering the fourth quarter.

And that's when the Kevins took over.

"He's a very good player," said Dallas coach Rick Carlisle. "He's the kind of guy that causes problems and creates difficult situations. The (3-pointer) in the fourth was a huge shot. And that's just one of those plays, by a good player, that is really difficult to guard.

Dallas guard Jose Calderon scored 21 points on 7-for-11 shooting. Ellis had 23, power forward Dirk Nowitzki 14 for the Mavericks, who lost their second straight game, falling to 0-3 on the road this season.

The Wolves, meanwhile, ended a two-game losing streak with big back-to-back games looming against the Lakers and Clippers.

"Me and Kevin, we challenge each other," Martin said. "That's one thing I like about our relationship, we challenge each other a lot.''

NOTES: Dallas F/G Vince Carter was suspended for Friday's game, without pay, for throwing an elbow and making contact with Steven Adams head in Dallas' game with Oklahoma City Wednesday. The foul, for which Carter was assessed a Flagrant Foul 2 and ejected, occurred with 4:01 left in the third quarter. "It's a big loss for us," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. "We'll have to make up for it other places." ... The Wolves will have played a franchise-record 18 games by Nov. 30 this season. ... Wolves F Corey Brewer spent the latter part of the regular season and the playoffs in Dallas when the Mavericks won the NBA title in 2011. He said he learned a lot from the experience. "You've always got to be ready," he said. "You have to work your butt off and be ready." ... Carlisle called Wolves G Kevin Martin one of the best pure scorers in the league the last few seasons. "He's very underrated, in my opinion," Carlisle said. ... Wolves F Derrick Williams missed the game with back spasms.
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