After suffering a heartbreaking overtime loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, Kevin Love and the Minnesota Timberwolves bounced back with two impressive victories. Minnesota showed signs of greatness with a 120 – 98 victory over the Washington Wizards and a 117 – 95 win over the Milwuakee Bucks the very next day. With back-to-back 22 point wins, the Timberwolves show promise as they look towards their next match-up against Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks.
The Timberwolves did not allow the overtime loss against the Clippers affect them for long. After four off days, Minnesota defeated the young and explosive Washington Wizards in convincing fashion. Kevin Love led the Timberwolves with 25 points and 11 rebounds, while Nikola Pekovic contributed a solid double-double performance, scoring 18 points and collecting 10 rebounds. Minnesota displayed a balanced scoring attack as each member of the starting lineup tallied at least 11 points, with an additional 44 points coming from the bench. Ricky Rubio assumed the role of game manager, scoring 11 points and dishing out 9 assists.
Minnesota also made a conscious effort on the defensive end of the floor. Although allowing John Wall to score 26 points, the Timberwolves held him to only 7 assists, causing other players to create shots for themselves. The interior defense from Love and Pekovic proved too much for the seasoned Washington front court, as Trevor Booker and Marcin Gortat were held to a combined 18 points. Corey Brewer rose to the occasion and locked down on small forward Trevor Ariza. Brewer contained Ariza throughout the contest, allowing only 10 points and 2 rebounds from the exciting forward.
Minnesota followed their dominant performance against Washington with another well deserved blowout against the Milwuakee Bucks. Love showed viewers again why he is among the league’s elite by scoring 33 points, grabbing 15 rebounds and finding his teammates for buckets on six different occasions. Pekovic also had a strong game in the paint as he scored 19 points and collected 11 rebounds. Kevin Martin contributed 20 points of his own, helping the Timberwolves cruise to seemingly effortless victory.
The Timberwolves have proved that they are capable of competing with elite teams with big wins over Oklahoma City and Portland, and even though they came up short against the Clippers, they are starting to show the rest of the league that they will be in the playoff picture come the end of the season. One of Minnesota’s biggest obstacles to over come is relying too much on Kevin Love to score over 30 points and come up with 15 boards every single game. Players such as Pekovic, Brewer, and Martin are begin to emerge as the perfect pieces around Love to share the load. They have also cutting down on the amount of turnovers by only giving the ball up four times against Washington.
The Timberwolves look to continue their recent success against Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks. Kevin Love will more than likely continue to lead his team in points and rebounds, but other players must continue to step up in order for long lasting success.