Wolves Cruise Past Nets, 111-81

Wolves Cruise Past Nets, 111-81

It might have came against a depleted Brooklyn Nets team, but after losing two straight games, the Wolves were just fine with their 111-81 win on Friday night at the Target Center.

Brooklyn was without Jason Terry (knee), Deron Williams (ankle), Brook Lopez (ankle) and former Wolves forward Andrei Kirilenko (back). Needless to say, they were missed dearly.

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Wolves vs. Nets

It was Kevin Garnett’s first trip of the 2013-14 season to the Target Center, a place where he called home for 12 seasons. It turned out to be the first time Minnesota has beaten a Garnett team with KG in the lineup since he was traded to Boston in 2007.

Garnett made the first shot of the game and later in the quarter he received a standing ovation from the Target Center crowd after a video tribute. After that, though, there weren't a lot of positives for KG and the Nets.

Behind nine points and 11 rebounds in the first quarter, Kevin Love not only was the “Kevin of the Quarter,” he also got the Wolves off to a 30-14 lead despite the team shooting 37.5 percent. Brooklyn got off to a rough start, shooting just 4-of-19 in the first.

“We just needed to bring energy and effort from the very beginning, you know?” said Wolves center Nikola Pekovic. “I think we did it the right way and we finished the game great.”

It was more of the same in the second quarter. The Nets continued to struggle and the Wolves took full advantage of that.

The Wolves finished the half with a 57-37 lead thanks to 13 points and five rebounds from Pekovic and Love's 11 points and 12 rebounds. J.J. Barea also added eight off the bench.

Joe Johnson was Brooklyn’s lone bright spot, shooting 5-of-8 from the field and 2-of-2 from the 3-point line, leading the Nets with 12 points. Andray Blatche added 10 off the bench. The Nets were hindered after 13 first-half turnovers.

The Wolves built a 80-58 lead going into the fourth quarter, giving Rick Adelman a much-needed chance to rest his starters — especially important with the squad traveling later that night to play the Houston Rockets. A unit of Barea, Robbie Hummel, Alexey Shved, Dante Cunningham, A.J. Price and Gorgui Dieng all saw time in the fourth quarter and the played with some confidence, scoring 21 points in the quarter.

Both Kevin Martin and Kevin Love scored 17 points in the win. Love hauled in 16 rebound as well. After starting the game 2-of-7 from the floor, Brewer finished 6-of-13 and 3-of-6 from downtown for 15 points. Pekovic also scored 15 points in 26 minutes of play.

The Wolves were great from the free-throw line, finishing 20-for-23.

Blatche led Brooklyn with 16 points off the bench. Johnson finished 15 points, while Alan Anderson scored 11 off the bench. Garnett scored eight points and hauled in eight rebounds in his return. Paul Pierce was 2-for-11 from the field and scored just six points.

With the win, the Wolves move to 8-6 overall and ended a two-game losing streak. The Wolves now travel to play the Houston Rockets.

“This is going to be tough, we have a long flight ahead of us tonight,” Adelman said. “We are playing a good team that plays very well in their building.”

Leader of the Pack: Kevin Love

He played just three quarters, but really, he could have gotten away with just playing one quarter after scoring those nine points and hauling in11 rebounds. Love ended tied for a team-high with 17 points and a game-high 16 rebounds while shooting 5-of-11 from the field and 7-of-7 from the free-throw line. He also added four assists. It was Love's 13th double-double of the season.

Highlight of the Night

Love ended his first quarter in style. Barea started the possession with a missed 3-pointer. After an offensive rebound, Barea got the ball back and drove to the hole, losing the ball in the process. After regaining the ball while nearly out of bounds, the point guard passed it quick to a Love who instantly threw it up for a layup as time expired, giving the Wolves a 16 point lead going into the second quarter.

The Numbers Game

  • Fourteen points is the lowest the Nets have scored in the first quarter all season.

  • Love's 11 first-quarter rebounds were the most by him in a first quarter in his career.

  • The Nets started the game shooting 3-of-17.

  • Postgame Podcast

    with John Focke

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    Quote of the Night

    "Well, he didn’t want Kevin (Love) to score. I mean, he just stayed with him the whole time and we talked about at halftime, we talked at timeouts… Kevin just kept telling guys to come off me and that opened up things for Pek inside.” — Wolves head coach on Kevin Garnett’s defense on Kevin Love and how it opened things up for his teammates

    Looking Ahead

    The Wolves will hit the road immediately to play Dwight Howard and the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center at 7 p.m. on Saturday. Following that, they will stay on the road to play the Eastern Conference-leading Indiana Pacers at 6 p.m. on Monday. Both games will be on Fox Sports North and WCCO 830-AM.

    For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter, and join the conversation at WolvesNation.com