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Updated: January 1st, 2014 10:32pm
Bench hears Kevin Love's challenge to score more, drops 42 on Pelicans

Bench hears Kevin Love's challenge to score more, drops 42 on Pelicans

by Derek Wetmore
1500ESPN.com
Email | Twitter

MINNEAPOLIS - Following Monday's 100-98 loss to the Dallas Mavericks, Kevin Love had some choice words for the team's bench - a concerning unit all season.

"We need to get our bench going," Love said Monday. "I don't know what we need to do to light a fire under them, but five points is not OK."

Challenge accepted.

The Wolves consistently controlled the game in Wednesday's win over the New Orleans Pelicans. The starters were good, but Minnesota's bench played a critical role in stretching the lead to 14 points by halftime. The lead was 24 by the end of the third quarter.

Love said he talked to bench players after Wednesday's game and told them the 42 combined points from non-starters was "awesome."

"I love when they play like that," Love said Wednesday. But at least one player took exception to the way Love handled Monday's lack of production.

"I don't like it. I'm not going to comment on that a lot but I definitely don't like it," J.J. Barea said Wednesday of Love's challenge. "But I think the bench heard it and I think the bench played good tonight. It's something that we need to keep doing the rest of the season."

"Nobody's ever going to like that. But it wasn't me being down on them it was just me asking for more because we're going to need them in 2014," Love said. "They're going to have to really help us if we want to win.

"It was, more than anything, just a challenge. I wasn't mad at them; I wasn't pissed at them; I wasn't saying they were bad or anything like that. It was just tough love and sometimes that's the best way to do things."

Of course, playing in a blowout allows the bench to play more minutes than it did in Monday's game. The Wolves trailed by as many as 21 points Monday and Rick Adelman kept the starters in the game to attempt to erase the deficit. 

Here is how the numbers stack up for Minnesota's key bench players.

Player

Monday minutes

Wednesday minutes

Monday points

Wednesday points

Dante Cunningham

14:36

22:43

0

10

J.J. Barea

17:02

18:02

5

17

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute

14:16

15:10

0

3

Alexey Shved

6:14

16:32

0

10

Robbie Hummel

5:42

4:24

0

0

Derek Wetmore is the senior editor for 1500ESPN.com. His previous stops include MLB.com and the Minnesota Daily.
Email Derek | @DerekWetmore
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