Wolves Top Nuggets, 117-90

The Minnesota Timberwolves, despite what’s happened over the last week, will go into the All-Star Break on a positive note after beating the Denver Nuggets 117-90 at the Target Center on Wednesday night.

“It was a good win to get before the break,” said head coach Rick Adelman. “Guys came out with a lot of energy, ready to play. We got a good win.”

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Wolves vs. Nuggets

Most of the momentum came early on, thanks to the efforts of Chase Budinger, Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love. The three combined for 21 first-quarter points to give the wolves a 12-point lead going into the second quarter. After that, it was about not letting that lead slip away against a team that had just 10 active players.

The Wolves continued their hot streak throughout the game, and really, the difference was not letting up, something they’ve done previously this season, allowing opponents back into the game.

“We have a tendency to give up points quickly,” Adelman said. “A 20-point lead can suddenly become 10 going into the fourth quarter and now it’s anyone’s game. That’s what we stressed at halftime.”

Love led all scorers with 32 points to go with 11 rebounds and eight assists. He fell just two assists short of his first career double-double. Rubio had 11 points and a game-high 12 assists. The crafty guard also had seven steals. The Nuggets as a team had just seven steals. He shot an efficient 4-of-6 from the field. Budinger finished with 12 points, marking his third consecutive game with 12 or more points. Barea led the second unit with 18 points, going a perfect 8-of-8 from the field. Against his former team, Brewer had 22 points.

The team now has seven days off before its next contest, which is invaluable considering the health of the team. Nikola Pekovic (ankle) and Kevin Martin (thumb) have missed significant for the team. Pekovic could return after the break, while Martin could be back as soon as that Friday.

The Wolves are now sit at 25-28 on the season and six games back from the eighth seed in the Western Conference.

Leader of the Pack: Kevin Love

It seemed fitting that Love had the night he had just four days before making his first start as a Western Conference All-Star. He finished with 32 points, 11 boards and 8 assists. He shot 11-of-20 from the field and 6-of-11 from the 3-point line. Hopefully he can keep those numbers up at the 3-point contest on Saturday night.

Highlight of the Night

With 5:41 left in the first quarter, Ronny Turiaf secured his second block in the same possession as he swatted a shot away from J.J. Hickson. Perhaps the greatest highlight was Turiaf’s bird dance after. We were impressed. Turiaf finished with a game-high four blocks on the night.

The Numbers Game

  • By scoring 31 points in the first quarter, the Wolves have now had 20 30+ point first quarters of the season. The team is 16-4 when scoring more than 30 in the first.

  • With 5:10 remaining in the first half, the Wolves led 47-29. Rubio and Barea were a combined 9-of-9 for 19 points and eight assists.

  • With a layup with 6:19 left in the second quarter, Barea scored his 4,000th career point.

  • After making five 3-pointers on Wednesday, Love secured his third game this season of hitting five or more 3-pointers.

  • Turiaf finished with 11 rebounds on the night. He now has five 10+ rebound games this season, marking the second time in his nine-year career he has done so.

  • Postgame Podcast

    Wolves 117, Nuggets 90

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  • Love finished with 30+ points, 10+ rebounds and 5+ assists for the seventh time this season.

  • Quotable

    “Like I was saying after last game, if we just keep pushing… eventually you’re going to see the success. It was definitely a great win for us, for our team.” — Ronny Turiaf on the importance of getting a win before the All-Star Break.

    Next Up

    The Wolves take a week off for the All-Star Break. Love will be starting the game on Sunday night, but the rest of the team will be away from any NBA games until Feb. 19 when the Wolves host the Indiana Pacers. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. 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.