Notebook: Wolves able to release some frustration before week off
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MINNEAPOLIS -- For all the disappointment the season's first half brought the Minnesota Timberwolves, they at least went into the All-Star break Wednesday on a positive note, albeit a small one.
The Wolves finally found an end to their recent downward slide in a week that saw them fall to their worst record of the year, four games below .500.
Wednesday felt like a long-awaited release of frustration and anxiety, pent up from a 2-6 losing skid that served as a snapshot of their wildly inconsistent season.
There was a lasting energy to the Wolves' play that has been rarely seen as of late. The Wolves (25-28) kept the Denver Nuggets out of contention from the opening tip, leading by as many as 36 points in a 117-90 rout.
"We just got off to a good start and never really looked back," said Kevin Love, who put up 32 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists in his All-Star game send-off. "We needed a game like that, especially heading into the break because we had been treading water there."
But one game isn't the cure to the Wolves' problems. They have a massive undertaking in front of them if they are to have any chance of making a run back into playoff contention. With 29 games remaining, Minnesota sits six games out of the eighth and final playoff spot.
The odds are not in their favor, but there hope still exists within the locker room that a second-half rally is possible, especially if Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Martin are able to return from injury soon after the break.
"We've got a lot of work to do just to get ourselves a chance to get in," forward Corey Brewer said. "But I feel like we're going to get everybody back when the All-Star break's over. Pek's coming back, K-Mart should be there, hopefully, and we've got to try and make our run."
Rubio gets hit, but still has big night
Guard Ricky Rubio got rolling early. In the first six minutes, Rubio either scored or assisted on nine of the Wolves' first 10 baskets en route to a double-digit lead.
But Rubio went from being in a groove to being ripe with anger after taking an elbow to the chin from Denver's Randy Foye. The hit opened a sizeable cut that required five stitches.
When he came back in the second quarter, there seemed to be an extra, aggressive edge to his game.
"I was really mad, because I was having a good game," Rubio said afterward with a slight grin.
Rubio finished off the night at the same level he started at, posting his ninth double-double (11 points, 12 assists) of the year and finishing only three steals shy of making it a triple-double.
Rick Adelman was back on the Wolves' bench after being absent from the team for two days to be with his wife, Mary Kay, who suffered a minor health setback.
Adelman did not go into specifics about her recent scare besides saying it was a "little problem" and is now doing fine.
"We're just taking it day by day," Adelman said. "It's fine. I just had to take care of it, and I planned on being here today, and it's worked out that way, so it's a good time for the All-Star break, even though we're in Minnesota with the snow and the cold."
Last season, Adelman missed 11 games as his wife battled with a seizure disorder.