Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love was one assist short of his first career triple-double in Wednesday night’s win against the Portland Trailblazer’s. But Love wasn’t the only player who was on his game, center Nikola Pekovic scored a season-high 30 points and the Timberwolves won against Portland 120-109.
Love had 29 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists for the Wolves (13-13), who ended the Trail Blazers’ five-game winning streak.
But it wasn’t all roses for the Wolves, they were up by 32 points in the second quarter and 26 at halftime, but they struggled to close out the Blazers, who were playing for the fourth time in five nights.
Nonetheless this victory ended the Wolves’ five-game losing streak to the Blazers (22-5), who entered the game with the best record in the NBA.
The Blazers were down 32 points in the second quarter, but they pulled within 10 on center Joel Freeland‘s layup with 3:34 left in the third quarter. But Love scored the next seven points for the Wolves, who ended the quarter on an 18-8 run to push the lead to 98-78.
Portland guard Damian Lillard scored a game-high 36 points, 26 coming after halftime. The Blazers had the clear momentum at the end, pulling within 114-109 on forward Nicolas Batum‘s 3-pointer in the final minute.
Guard Kevin Martin scored 22 points and guard J.J. Barea came off the bench to record 10 points and five assists for the Wolves, who had lost 21 of 23 games to the Blazers entering Wednesday night.
Batum scored 20 and guard Wesley Matthews had 16 for Portland.
The Wolves opened the game moving the ball very well and attacking the middle, and Love was right in the middle of it. He had nine rebounds, five assists and six points in the first quarter, which the Wolves ended on an 11-4 run. The Wolves scored 26 of their 31 first-quarter points in the paint, with Pekovic scoring eight and Martin nine.
But then the second quarter happened. Love had 11 points as the Wolves went on a 20-6 run to go up 51-28. And the Wolves’ bench just kept it going, the run eventually went to 31-8 and the lead went up to 62-30 on Pekovic’s layup with 4:52 left in the half.
By the time the quarter ended, the Wolves led 69-43 and Love was two assists away from a triple-double.
Predictably, the Blazers came out firing in the third quarter. Lillard scored 17 points, and Minnesota’s lead shrank.
The Blazers got within 80-70 on Freeland’s lay-in. But the Wolves were quick to respond. Love scored seven points, Barea hit two 3-pointers and Martin one in an 18-8 run that pushed the lead back to 20 entering the fourth quarter.
Up next for the Wolves is the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center. You can watch the Wolves on Fox Sports North or listen at WCCO 830 AM Radio.