Kevin Love rescues Wolves, who snap 3-game skid against Warriors
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The Minnesota Timberwolves did everything they could to give away Monday's 97-93 win over the Golden State Warriors, but Kevin Love basically willed them to victory to end an ugly three-game skid that had their season squarely on the brink.
Love put up 36 points and 17 rebounds -- gaudy numbers that have become routine for the two time All Star.
How impressive were the numbers for Love?
He was the only Wolf to score in double-figures until Luke Ridnour hit two free throws with 37 seconds left to put Ridnour at 11 points.
His 17 rebounds were as many as the starting five for the Warriors grabbed combined.
Love had to shoulder even more of the burden than he usually does this season. The Wolves were without Nikola Pekovic, who played just 11 minutes before leaving after aggravating the ankle injury that kept him off the court in Sunday's loss.
The Wolves also had to do without their best bench scorer, Michael Beasley, who left the game after 10 minutes, deeming his lingering toe injury was too painful to continue.
This was a win the Wolves desperately needed after the debacle in Sacramento on Sunday night that saw Love and J.J. Barea need to be restrained after things got heated during a timeout.
The Wolves are now 2-3 on the longest road trip in franchise history with two games left. They still have a chance to salvage a winning record on the seven-game jaunt that would surely keep their playoff hopes. They're 1½ games back of Houston for the final spot in the Western Conference.
Neither team could have been particularly proud with the way the game started.
The Warriors didn't score until the 6:54 mark in the first quarter and the fans greeted it with largely sarcastic applause. The Wolves weren't exactly lighting the world on fire either, shooting just 3-of-12 to start, but they turned it around and took a seven-point lead after the opening quarter.
From there, the Wolves opened up the game even further, holding the Warriors to just 33.3% shooting in the first half -- a new season-best defensive field goal percentage in a half -- and appeared to be in cruise control.
But after a 38-minute halftime because of a jersey retiring ceremony, the game completely flipped. The Warriors unleashed a 27-15 run to take a 62-61 lead with less than three minutes in the quarter.
The Wolves regained control, taking a 71-67 lead into the fourth quarter, and Love carried them down the stretch, playing 44 minutes on the second night of a back-to-back and every minute of the second half.
Anthony Tolliver hit two 3-pointers -- his first since Jan. 25 -- scored all 10 of his points in the fourth quarter and may played his way back in coach Rick Adelman's rotation.
A 3-pointer from Tolliver with 4:46 to go gave the Wolves an 87-85 lead they never relinquished.
17: The jersey number will never be worn by a Warrior again after the team retired Chris Mullin's jersey during a halftime ceremony.
8: Games this season in which Love has scored at least 30 points and grabbed at least 15 rebounds.
2: Players with 10 assists for the Wolves. Ridnour and Barea each dished out 10.
Pekovic and Beasley are in question for Wednesday's game after leaving on Monday because of their injuries.
The Wolves get a much-needed day off Tuesday before facing San Antonio on Wednesday night. The Wolves have already won the season series and will look to make it a clean 3-0 sweep against their division rival.
From there, the Wolves play one more game on their marathon road trip Friday against the Oklahoma City Thunder before finally returning back to Target Center for a game on Sunday against the Denver Nuggets.