Kevin Love fired up after incident in loss: 'I don't like the Pacers'
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Kevin Love made his feelings for the Indiana Pacers clear after the Minnesota Timberwolves' 109-99 loss on Wednesday night at Target Center.
"I've said all along," Love said, "I don't like the Pacers."
Love and Pacers forward Danny Granger almost came to blows with 23.7 seconds remaining the third quarter after Love was whistled for a foul and Granger approached him aggressively.
"I know that none of them were going to do anything," said Love, who finished with 21 points. "Just play ball. It's part of the game -- a hard foul, everybody is getting fouled out there."
The escalating feud between the two teams extends back to last season, when they split a pair of physical contests with each team winning on their home court.
"(They think) they are so tough," Love said. "They take those pills and they got all that toughness. I don't know where that comes from. They all think they are tough guys. I just don't know where that comes from. It just blows my mind. They are all tough and that makes me laugh."
The teams won't play each other again until April 16 at Indiana, but it appears Love is already looking forward to it.
"I guarantee the next time we play them, it will be just as physical," he said.
The Timberwolves wore Minnesota Muskies throwback jerseys, and the 15,017 fans in attendance may have gotten a better game if the surviving members of the 1967-68 Muskies they were honoring played instead.
The Wolves turned in an uninspired effort and blew another opportunity at home to pull to the .500 mark this late in the season for the first time since 2006-07.
"Very disappointed in our effort," coach Rick Adelman said. "I didn't think we played well on ether end all night long. They were very physical and just took the game from the start."
The Wolves shot 37% from the floor and 17.6% from behind the arc, turned the ball over 16 times and allowed a team averaging 93 points a game to score 109.
"Everything was the problem," Adelman said.
Said Love, "It was our own self. We missed a lot of shots, bad defensive breakdowns. Obviously, they score 93 points a game and we let them off the hook for 109."
The Wolves cannot fall back on the grueling schedule excuse this time around. They were given a day off after a blowout win in Houston on Monday while the Pacers were coming off a 106-99 win over New Jersey.
After the skirmish, which yielded a technical foul on Granger, the Wolves appeared to be gaining some momentum. A layup by J.J. Barea with 3.7 seconds remaining in the third quarter put the Wolves within striking distance at 76-70 but that was as close as they got.
"They played hard and we didn't," Ricky Rubio said. "We didn't play at all (Wednesday)."
0: Minutes for Anthony Randolph, who was the first healthy scratch of the season. The NBA permits teams to dress 13 players during this 66-game shortened season, but the Wolves have been so injury-plagued they had never had 13 healthy players until Wednesday.
7: Players with at least two turnovers.
27: Shooting percentage from the field for Michael Beasley, one game removed from scoring 34 points.
Barea returned to the court for just his seventh game in a Wolves jersey since signing a four-year, $20 million contract during training camp.
He had missed the last seven games and 10 of the past 11 after dealing with both a sprained ankle and a reoccurring hamstring pull he originally suffered the second game of the season Dec. 27 at Milwaukee.
The third-year player made his return to action with 1:28 left in the first quarter, giving Rubio precious seconds to rest on the bench.
Barea played into the second quarter and ended up with a seven-minute tour of duty that showed he still has some rust to work off. He was 0-for-4 from the field and dished three assists.
Overall, he looked disjointed and displayed some uncharacteristically questionable decision-making. He finished with seven points on 2-of-8 shooting, three assists, two rebounds in 14 minutes.
The trainers told Adelman before the game the six-year veteran's time on the court needed to limited to just four- to six-minute bursts and that he couldn't be left out there too long for fear his hamstring would once again tighten up.
Rookie Malcolm Lee is still recovering from surgery on Dec 30 to repair a torn meniscus he suffered during training camp and has yet to make his NBA debut. Adelman said the Wolves will be sending him to undergo a rehab stint in the NBA Developmental League.
"We will probably send him to the D-League fairly soon and let him play down there for about a week and see how he responds to that," he said.
Much like in baseball, the NBA allows players in their first or second years to rehab injuries with their team's affiliate -- in this case, the Sioux Falls Skyforce.
Former Wolves guard Jonny Flynn did two separate stints with the Skyforce last season as he rehabbed from hip surgery.
-- A frustrated fan in the stands as Wesley Johnson hoisted up another miss on a 2-of -6 shooting night in 17 minutes.
The Wolves will practice on Thursday , then fly out to face former "U" standout Kris Humphries and the New Jersey Nets (7-15) on Friday night.
They fly right back to Minnesota after the game and will have a rubber match against the Houston Rockets, with whom they have split with in two games in the past 10 days.
Neither game will be televised locally in the Twin Cities.