Practice Report: Tuesday, March 6
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The Timberwolves were back at practice on Tuesday at the Life Time Fitness Training Center, and after an emotional 95-94 win on Monday against the Los Angeles Clippers the mood was as jovial as ever.
Considering the Wolves have 20 wins for the first time since 2008-09 and have won as many games against Western Conference foes (15) as they had in the past two seasons combined, the good vibes are understandable.
“It’s exciting—all year, win, lose or draw, we’ve given ourselves a chance to win at the end of ballgames,” said Kevin Love, who scored 39 points and added 17 rebounds against L.A. “Last night was one of those games. It got a little scary at the end. We did everything we could to lose the game, and we still came out victorious.”
The Timberwolves have their best record through 39 games (20-19) since 2006-07 and are over .500 for the first time this late in a season since that year. They are 7-1 this year against the Spurs, Clippers and Mavericks—teams that make up the second, fourth and sixth seeds in the Western Conference.
Love in particular is shining at an elite level. He now has 13 games with 30 or more points, which trails Tony Campbell’s 14 games in 1989-90 for the most in team history. He surpassed Kevin Garnett last night, who had 12 games of 30-plus points in three different seasons. This year, Love has more 30-point, 10-rebound games than Kevin Durant, LeBron James and Dwight Howard combined by a 13-12 margin.
“Right now I’m out here playing and helping this team win, and right now we’re over .500 and we have a huge game tomorrow against Portland,” Love said.
Pekovic back on the court
Wolves center Nikola Pekovic did not play in Monday’s win over the Clippers—he was a late scratch with a sore right foot just before game time. Pekovic was suited up for practice on Tuesday and did some shooting individually after the session was complete.
Coach Rick Adelman said Pekovic participated in practice, but the session was short and it was more of a walkthrough session.
In his absence, Darko Milicic started his first game in a month and stepped in admirably. Milicic finished with 13 points in the game and helped contain All-Star power forward Blake Griffin on the defensive end. Still, the Wolves had difficulty fielding offensive rebounds early in Monday’s game—L.A. held a 10-4 advantage at halftime—which is Pekovic’s specialty. Of his 206 rebounds this year, 118 have come on the offensive end.
Love officially to have octopus named after him at MOA
Love is a two-time NBA All-Star, an NBA Three-Point Contest winner and the 2010-11 NBA rebounding champion, but this underwater honor of having an octopus named after him may top them all.
K-Love the octopus will be joining the team of 10,000 sea creatures from SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium at Mall of America. The octopus will be released into his new tank by Kevin Love. Kevin will also be feeding K-Love the octopus as well as giving him a special basketball toy. Children from Hope Kids will also be on hand to be the first to see K-Love in his new tank.
Why an octopus? Both the octopus, K-Love, and Kevin Love have excellent grabbing ability – one to grab boards, the other mainly grabs food. An octopus is also one of the smartest animals in the sea, while Kevin is surely one of the smartest on the court. Lastly, both Kevin and K-Love will be making Minnesota proud for many years to come.
For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter.