Mavericks-Timberwolves Preview

The Associated Press

The Dallas Mavericks didn't see Kevin Love during his injury-plagued 2012-13, but they have seen plenty from him already this season.

Love looks to record his NBA-best 28th double-double Monday night and help the Minnesota Timberwolves improve to 3-0 this season against the visiting Mavericks.

The star power forward now has six straight double-doubles after he had 33 points, 15 rebounds and six assists in Saturday's 117-95 victory at Milwaukee. The effort came even though Love had both feet soaking in a bucket of cold water and ice packs wrapped around his knees before the contest.

''He wakes up getting double-doubles,'' teammate Kevin Martin said.

Love is averaging 30.7 points, 14.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists over his last six games, failing by one assist to record his first career triple-double in one game within this run.

"He's really an intelligent player," coach Rick Adelman said. "He sees the floor and so I think he's just gotten his teammates much better and he's playing much better as a team defender, so I think that's just a growth he needs to make."

Dallas (17-13) and Minnesota (15-15) split four meetings last season, with Love missing all of them due to a broken right hand and a knee injury.

Love is averaging 26.5 points on 51.4 percent shooting along with 13.0 rebounds per game and 5.0 assists per contest in two wins over the Mavericks this season. His 32-point, 15-rebound, eight-assist performance in a 116-108 home victory Nov. 8 caused Dallas coach Rick Carlisle to compare him to an NFL quarterback for his passing ability.

The Mavericks have been outrebounded both times against the Timberwolves and have also had trouble slowing down Martin, who has averaged 29.5 points while getting to the free-throw line 21 times. Martin is 6 of 11 from the 3-point line in the season series.

The Wolves are seeking their first three-game win streak since a 3-0 start along with a season-high fourth straight home win.

Dallas cruised in the opener of a three-game trip Saturday with a 105-83 victory over Chicago. The Mavericks scored 61 first-half points and led by as many as 32.

''There is no doubt that we played well,'' Carlisle said. ''When we rebound and defend like that, we are a formidable team."

Monta Ellis scored 22 and Dirk Nowitzki and reserve Vince Carter each added 18 for the Mavs, who are seeking their first three-game road win streak.

''We were locked in from the jump and we didn't have to play catch-up, and I think that's good for our team,'' Carter said. ''We had to bring more energy and we had to do it from the beginning. We had to hit those guys first because they do a great job of trying to take teams out of their game early.''

Ellis is averaging 24.5 points in the season series while Nowitzki is shooting 62.5 percent and averaging 18.5 points.

Point guard Jose Calderon missed the last meeting with a bone bruise on his right ankle and will have to be wary of counterpart and Spanish compatriot Ricky Rubio, who leads the Western Conference with 2.8 steals per game.

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