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News » Minnesota Timberwolves Getting Inside 2008-12-30

Minnesota Timberwolves Getting Inside 2008-12-30

Minnesota Timberwolves Getting Inside 2008-12-30
Al Jefferson and Kevin Love played beside each other for the entire fourth quarter and all but one second of overtime Monday night, just as coach Kevin McHale envisioned they might when he swung a midnight deal on draft night six months ago.

With the combination in place, the Timberwolves won for the second time in three games. They beat Memphis and O.J. Mayo, who was in town for the first time since McHale swapped Mayo for Love and Mike Miller in an eight-player deal.

Until Monday, Love had scored 21 points in his previous eight games. Mayo -- the leading scorer among NBA rookies with a 20.1 point average and the early leader for Rookie of the Year -- has scored more than that in 12 of his 31 games this season, including Monday's 23-point night.

But this time, Love complemented Jefferson's 38-point, 16-rebound night with a 17-point, seven-rebound game that McHale -- the team's VP of Basketball Operations on draft night and its coach now -- said in no way could be attributed to Mayo's presence. But until Monday, McHale also hadn't run offensive plays for Love when it mattered, as he did in Monday's fourth quarter.

"I tell you what, if that's what it takes to motivate you, you shouldn't be in the NBA," McHale said.

Love said Mayo's presence didn't contribute to his performance, but he acknowledged it was satisfying nonetheless because "it kind of got me out of my slump" and because he even had a few plays run for him.

"Mac (McHale) had some trust in me," Love said.

"I hate it when they do that, make comparisons between O.J. and Kevin Love," said guard Randy Foye, acquired from Portland for Brandon Roy on draft night 2006. "I know a lot about that. I don't pay attention. People can say what they want to say, but it's not about that. People may be upset, but you can't change the decisions made on draft night."

WOLVES 108, GRIZZLIES 98 (OT): In Timberwolves coach Kevin McHale's estimation, his team "sent basketball back to 1952" with a second quarter in which they set a franchise record by making just one field goal in 16 shot attempts.

His Wolves also made just 1-of-15 three-pointers all night.

And they still won, thanks to a 19-9 overtime in which Al Jefferson scored as many points as Memphis on his way to a season-high 38.

The 6-24 Wolves won for the second time in three games after Friday's victory at New York. The 10-21 Grizzlies lost for the sixth time in seven games.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: December 30, 2008


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