Kevin Love's 42 points help lead Timberwolves over Portland
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Kevin Love scored 42 points in his home state, leading the Timberwolves to a 122-110 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday. The Wolves return home after a 2-2 road trip to the West Coast.
Love -- the leading scorer in Oregon high school basketball history -- was just a point shy of his career-high and played by far his best game in a city in which he normally struggles.
The victory was the first for the Wolves (19-19) in Portland since 2005 and puts them back at .500 as they get set for a four-game homestand.
Martell Webster also helped end the Wolves' ugly losing streak in Portland by scoring a season-high 21 points off the bench against his former team.
The Wolves came out blistering hot in the first quarter from behind the three-point line, shooting eight of 10 in the first quarter and taking a 40-28 lead. Love led the way by making three of three shots as he scored 15 of his 42 points.
Rubio ended up playing 38 minutes and collected 12 assists, However, he struggled from the field, connecting on just one of eight from the field and getting six points.
But for as good as the Wolves were in the first quarter, the wheels came unraveled in the second.
The Blazers took a 52-49 lead with 4:16 left in the half as the Wolves' hot shooting evaporated. The Wolves would rally and take a 61-60 lead at the half after Love hit a 25-foot jumper on assist No. 11 for Rubio.
The Wolves would lead by as many as nine in the third quarter but once again failed to step on the Blazers' throat and put the game away, letting them get within two points heading into the fourth quarter.
Webster scored 21 in his second return to the city in which he played his first five NBA seasons. He scored 11 points in his loan appearance in Portland a season ago after the Wolves traded a first-round pick for him in the 2010 NBA draft.
Webster got extended run in the second-half after Johnson picked up his fourth foul with 10:14 in the third quarter and was instrumental in the win, playing 34 minutes and shooting seven of 10 from the field.
Love drove to the basket, scored anddrew a foul with 4:29 left in the game. Not only did Love make the lay-in, he also got LaMarcus Aldridge to foul out after basically owning the fellow All Star. Love held Aldrdige to just 14 points -- well below his 22.5 average.
Love got the subsequent rebound after Love's play on the other end and the Wolves rode their 12 point lead to the victory.
7: Calendar years since the Wolves won a game in Portland.
10: First-quarter assists for Rubio which ties a franchise mark for assists in the quarter. He shares the record with Pooh Richardson and Stephon Marbury.
30: Tickets bought by Love for his friends and family in his hometown of Portland.
J.J. Barea was active for the game after suffering a calf strain on Wednesday in Los Angeles and missing Thursday's loss at Phoenix.
Barea wore a compression sleeve on the injured calf. He played the majority of second-quarter, running the point and scoring six points on 3 of 4 shooting.
Odds and ends
Anthony Randolph was inactive to make room for Barea on the roster.
Lee in the D-League
Rookie Malcolm Lee played the second game in his most recent stint with the Sioux Falls SkyForce of the NBA Developmental League.
Lee was in for 35 minutes in Saturday's 110-98 loss to the Erie Bayhawks, starting and scoring 18 points on six of 15 shooting. He also added seven rebounds, seven assists, five turnovers and three steals.
Lee also played in Thursday's 115-102 loss to the Bakersfield Jam. He scored 12 points on five of 15 in shooting, including 0 of 4 from behind the arc. He also added nine assists and six turnovers in 32 minutes.
Lee is fully recovered from a procedure to repair a torn meniscus on his left knee on Dec. 30, but there isn't room for him in the rotation right now and coach Rick Adelman has stressed the importance of being patient with the second-round pick out of UCLA rather than give him a baptism by fire that isn't necessary right now.
This is Lee's second stint with SkyForce. He has averaged 10.3 points, 2.8 rebounds and 6.8 assists in five games with the team. Per NBA rules, a first our second year player is allowed to play up to three stints with the Developmental League team affiliated with their franchise.
The Wolves finally get to sleep in their own beds after a rugged four games in five-night stretch on the West coast in a different time zone.
The Wolves start a four-game home stretch on Monday against the Los Angeles Clippers before heading out of town for a season-long seven-game road trip that makes stops in Phoenix, Utah, Los Angeles (Lakers), Sacramento, Golden State, San Antonio and Oklahoma City.
The game Monday will be the third of four games between the Wolves and the Clippers. The teams have split the series one game apiece so far.