Love scores 33 in Wolves' win over Bucks

Andrew Wagner, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

MILWAUKEE -- Making just two shots in the fourth quarter of an NBA game rarely, if ever, leads to good things.
Unless, of course, you've scored 103 points through the first three quarters and are sitting on a 27-point lead.
Such was the case Saturday for the Minnesota Timberwolves, who rolled to a 117-95 victory against the Bucks behind a 33-point effort from forward Kevin Love.
Love was dominant from the get-go. He scored 10 in the first quarter and 15 just two minutes into the second, finishing the day 11 of 17 with 15 rebounds and six assists in 35 minutes.
"He's been very, very good for us," Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman said. "He does so much for us, and night after night he continues to be very good."
As powerful a presence as he is in the paint, Love also hurt the Bucks from beyond the arc, where he went 4 of 6.
"He's good and he's improved his game now to the point that you have to get out and defend him at the perimeter," Drew said.
He paced a Timberwolves offense that shot 48 percent and was 11 of 24 from beyond the arc.
Along with Love, Kevin Martin had a big night for the Timberwolves (15-15), finishing with 20 points. Center Nikola Pekovic had 19 points and 11 rebounds and forward Corey Brewer added 12 points.
"We've had a few games this month where I really wish we would have pulled out, that we've had a chance to win and I feel like we blew a couple of them," Love said. "I feel like we're playing good basketball now. We're back to .500 and need to get over that hump."
Forward Khris Middleton led Milwaukee (6-24) with 23 points and nine rebounds. Guard O.J. Mayo had 19 points off the bench and point guard Brandon Knight finished with 18 points and five assists.
The Bucks shot well early but had problems holding on to the ball. Milwaukee's 16 turnovers led to 25 points for Minnesota, but the Bucks couldn't stop the Timberwolves' offense, especially Love and Pekovic.
"They're tough coverage," Middleton said. "You've got Kevin Love, who likes to pop-and-shoot the 3-pointer. And Pekovic, he's a load in the paint. It's a good balance with them, but you just have to always be on their bodies, just be right where they are."
Milwaukee shot 56 percent in the first half but turned the ball over nine times for 14 Minnesota points and struggled to contain the Timberwolves inside. Love scored 18 on 7-of-11 shooting (3 of 4 3-pointers) as Minnesota went ahead by as many as 14 points and led 64-55 going into the break.
The Timberwolves opened the second half on a 14-0 run to boost the lead to 78-55. Mayo finally got Milwaukee on the board with a 3-pointer with 7:20 left in the third quarter.
"When you give up that many points, chances are things aren't going good," Bucks coach Larry Drew said. "We didn't make shots early in the third quarter; we didn't execute. You miss a couple of shots, they make a couple of shots and next thing you know, they create a little separation."
Minnesota outscored Milwaukee 39-21 in the quarter and Adelman turned to his bench. But he sent Love, Pekovic and guard Ricky Rubio back in after Minnesota went 1 of 17 from the field with seven turnovers to open the fourth quarter, allowing Milwaukee cut the lead to 14 with five minutes to play.
"I didn't want to wait until there were three minutes to go and the lead only be six," Adelman said. "I just put them in for a couple minutes to get a couple baskets and that was it."
NOTES: Bucks C Larry Sanders made his first start since suffering a thumb injury on Nov. 3 and finished with nine points and 10 rebounds. Sanders was moved into the starting lineup in place of F John Henson, who was sidelined with a lower leg injury. ... Milwaukee's opponents have scored at least 10 3-pointers in each of the last seven games. ... The Timberwolves have won four in a row against Milwaukee, sweeping the series with the Bucks in each of the last two seasons. ... Milwaukee F Khris Middleton has scored 10 points or more in his last eight games. ... Minnesota F Kevin Love has 25 points or more in his last 10 games.

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