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News » Minnesota Timberwolves Getting Inside 2009-12-05

Minnesota Timberwolves Getting Inside 2009-12-05

Minnesota Timberwolves Getting Inside 2009-12-05Timberwolves forward Kevin Love made his long-awaited return Friday night in New Orleans -- and got trumped by Hornets All-Star guard Chris Paul. Love delivered an 11-point, 11-rebound double-double while playing half the game in his season debut exactly seven weeks after he fractured his left hand in a preseason game.

Paul came back after missing eight games because of a sprained ankle and offered a 16-point, 15-assist, eight-steal, six-rebound performance that ruled the night and sent the Wolves to their 17th loss in the first 19 games.

"A double-double outdone by almost a quadruple-double," Love said. "And he got the win, too. That's why he's Chris Paul and I'm second-year Kevin Love."

Afterward, Love sat at his locker stall with both feet soaked in an ice bath and his left hand free of pain. He played with a football lineman's glove that protected the back of his hand and he survived a fall when his hand and wrist smacked the court hard.

"That shocked me a little bit, but actually I needed that a little bit," Love said. "I felt pretty good out there. I was letting the game come to me. They were calling my name, asking me how I was feeling. I got a few shots blocked, but that's just from not having practice time. I was laying the ball up there too soft because I haven't had anybody on me for five, six weeks.

"I'm more upset at the loss than anything. I wanted to get a win right away when I came back."

Wolves coach Kurt Rambis termed Love's debut "OK."

"He got tired out there at moments," Rambis said. "That's OK. It helps him push through it. He did a lot of good things out there. He adds a dimension to our game that we sorely missed. Now everybody has to get used to playing with each other again."

Love said he is anxious to see how he will feel when he awakens Saturday morning for a home game against Utah that night.

"I don't know how it'll feel, hopefully OK," Love said. "I know I'm not going to feel great. It's always that first game coming back that makes you feel pretty sore."

HORNETS 98, WOLVES 89: The Wolves lost their second straight game after ending that 15-game losing streak Sunday at Denver. This time, they trailed by 10 points early and led by 11 late in the first half before New Orleans All-Star guard Chris Paul orchestrated a closing 9-0 run that got the Hornets back in the game and propelled them to a 28-16 third quarter that won the game.

In those final 55 seconds of the first half: Al Jefferson missed a pair of free throws and Paul scored five of the Hornets' nine points, including three free throws with one-tenth of a second left after he drew a foul from Wolves center Ryan Hollins on a desperation shot from near midcourt. The Wolves now have lost 17 of their first 19 games.

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Added: December 5, 2009


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