With six seconds left to play in the game the Minnesota Timberwolves had a chance to beat the Los Angeles Clippers. Kevin Martin missed a jumper that Nikola Pekovic rebounded— but Pekovic missed the layup, Kevin Love grabbed the ball, but missed again and that put an end to the game 109-107.
The ball hit the rim for a second, tipped outward instead of into the basket. Love reacted with a smile of disbelief.
“I thought I just had to touch it real quick ‘cause the time was running out,” Love said. “I didn’t want to have them go to the scorers table, and it just sat on the rim, didn’t go anywhere. Came right off.”
Even with the Clippers taking 11-point leads late in both the second and fourth quarters, Minnesota found ways to come back and make their runs. In the end, they were a basket away from overtime.
The Wolves are starting to show their willingness to fight back and establish who they are.
“We believe we can win,” Corey Brewer said. “To come back means you believe you can win. So we were down, we gave ourselves a chance. That’s all you can ask.”
Love was an all-around presence throughout the contest. He finished with 23 points, 19 rebounds and six assists—that’s his eighth double-double in eight games. He hit four 3-pointers on the night, tying Kevin Martin for the team’s high.
Minnesota battled back from 11 down in the second and even took a fourth quarter lead at 87-86 but L.A. put together a 14-2 run to take the lead 100-89. But that didn’t stop the Wolves who fouled DeAndre Jordan and Ryan Hollins and that put them on the line. That was the opportunity the Wolves needed to claw their way back to the top when L.A. missed free throws.
They succeeded, thanks in large part to Kevin Martin. He was the fire that Minnesota needed late in the game. He went on a 10-1 run, highlighted by two 3-pointers and a driving layup by Martin, and all of a sudden the Wolves cut the lead to two.
Martin had 30 points and 3 assists for the night and continues to be a key factor for the Wolves.
“They believe,” Adelman said. “They believe they can get back in it. I think they made the right plays defensively and converted at the other end. It’s the way you can to play if you’re going to have a chance to win.”
Other Wolves scorers included Pek’s 25 points and 10 rebounds. Brewer finished with seven points, and Ricky Rubio finished with five points and 10 rebounds.