Kevin Love plays through flu, helps balanced Wolves beat Bucks
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Alexey Shved scored 10 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter and Kevin Love overcame a nasty stomach bug to collect 15 points and 14 rebounds in the Minnesota Timberwolves' 95-85 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night.
Nikola Pekovic had 14 points and tied a career high with 16 rebounds and J.J. Barea added 15 points and five assists for the Wolves, who are getting star guard Ricky Rubio back at practice this weekend for the first time since he tore an ACL last March.
Larry Sanders had a career-high 10 blocks to go with 10 points and 12 rebounds and Brandon Jennings had 18 points and six boards for the Bucks, who lost backup point guard Beno Udrih to a right leg injury in the fourth quarter.
Love was a game-time decision, but was almost forced to gut it out given the Wolves' long list of injuries. He missed 13 of his first 17 shots and was clearly laboring throughout the game. He was able to dig deep enough for a key putback during an 11-0 run in the fourth quarter that put the Wolves in control for good, and Shved really did the rest.
After the Wolves managed just 11 points in a dreadful third quarter, Shved scored the team's first seven points of the fourth. He also hit Luke Ridnour with a beautiful cross-court feed for a jumper and drilled a deep 3 with the shot clock winding down that put the game out of reach with 1:15 to play.
The rookie been every bit the playmaker he was in leading the Russians to the bronze medal in London, and coach Rick Adelman is leaning on him more and more to get the Wolves through this onslaught of injuries, a string that continued on Friday night.
Andrei Kirilenko missed his second straight game with back spasms while guard Malcolm Lee was out with a sore left groin. Lee was thrust into the starting rotation the last eight games due to injuries to Brandon Roy and Chase Budinger.
J.J. Barea started in Lee's place, but the Wolves were able to stack up a little better against the smaller Bucks backcourt of Monta Ellis and Jennings. The super-quick duo has struggled in the efficiency department for much of the season, and that again was the case in Minnesota. Ellis was 8 for 22 while Jennings went 6 for 19.
Ellis had 18 points and Jon Henson had 10 points and seven boards.
Ridnour scored 16 points for Minnesota.
Udrih had to be helped off the court after getting tangled with Love on a drive to the basket with eight minutes left. Joel Przybilla had to shoot the free throws for him and went 0 for 2, much to the delight for a home crowd that has booed him ever since he left the University of Minnesota early 13 years ago. ... The Timberwolves held a moment of silence for Sasha McHale, the 23-year-old daughter of former Wolves coach and executive and current Rockets coach Kevin McHale. A funeral for Sasha was held this week after she died from Lupus.© The Associated Press