"He puts up numbers so fast, it's incredible," Kevin Martin, who scored 23 of his 32 points in the second half, said following tonight's game.
Fitting as it might have been, no, he was not speaking in the third person.
The Timberwolves got out of their mild slump at home tonight, defeating the Dallas Mavericks 116-108 at the Target Center. The victory puts them at 4-2 on the season, ending a two-game losing skid they had coming into the game. With the loss, the Mavericks fall to 3-3 six games into their campaign.
It was a tight game for the first three quarters, but fourth-quarter heroics from both Martin and Kevin Love sealed a win for the Wolves.
"Much better than the other night," Wolves head coach Rick Adelman said, comparing tonight's win to Wednesday's loss to Golden State. "They executed better at both ends, especially in the fourth quarter when we opened it up. We executed offensively and defensively. It was a solid win."
It was Kevin Love who stuffed the stat sheet yet again, tonight being a bit more special. Finishing with 32 points, 15 rebounds and 8 assists, he came away as close to a triple as he ever has in his career. He shot 12-21 from the field and 3-6 from the three-point line. He was also a perfect 5-5 from the charity stripe to round out an extremely efficient night shooting the ball. In the first quarter, where he had 9 points, 6 boards and 6 assists, Love either scored or assisted on 10 of 11 Minnesota field goals. Corey Brewer's three pointer with 7 seconds remaining was the only score in the first quarter not involving the All Star power forward.
"I knew I was passing the ball well and had a few assists, especially in that first quarter, but I really hadn't paid attention to it," Kevin Love said, when asked if he was aware he was approaching a triple double.
Joining Love in the '32 point club' was, as mentioned, Kevin Martin. His 32 points came on 10-19 shooting from the field and 3-5 from the three-point line. He also dished out 3 assists and had 3 steals on the night.
One of Love's favorite targets tonight was Corey Brewer, who was the recipient of a plethora of outlet passes throughout the evening. This has become a trend in the first 6 games of the season, and despite a couple of missed opportunities from Brewer tonight, he still finished with 17 points on 7-14 shooting.
"It's a lot of fun, Kevin is great," Brewer said. "He's a great outlet passer and great rebounder. When he gets the rebound, I just run."
Minnesota's resident assist man, Ricky Rubio, didn't come away with an assist until the second half, and finished with 6 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals on 2-8 shooting. He did not attempt a three pointer on the night.
Nikola Pekovic came out more aggressive tonight than he did Wednesday, finishing the game with 15 points and 6 rebounds in 31 minutes. He still doesn't look entirely comfortable with the new pieces surrounding him, but certainly played to a level more similar to the Pek Wolves fans have become familiar to.
With the exception of Dante Cunningham, who had 6 points and 7 rebounds on 3-6 shooting, the Wolves bench had another rough night shooting the basketball. They shot a combined 3-12 (not counting Dante's numbers), with J.J. Barea taking 8 of those 12 shots.
Absent from the layup line to open the game was Derrick Williams, who sat due to back spasms. In Williams' absence, rookie Robbie Hummel got minutes in the regular rotation. In 11 minutes, the 2012 second round pick finished with 2 points on 1-3 shooting. He didn't "wow" on the stat sheet, but looked comfortable on the floor and played a solid game.
For the Mavericks, it was Monta Ellis who led the team in scoring with 23, but took 24 shots to get there. Jose Calderon had the most efficient night for the Mavericks, leaving the game with 21 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists on 7-11 shooting (6-8 from three).
Dirk Nowitzki finished with 14 points on 5-11 shooting, including a couple of his famous leg-kick faders that Rick Adelman jokingly described after the game as "unreasonable". Shawn Marion also had 10 points on 5-13 shooting, but also came away with 7 rebounds, 3 blocks and 3 steals.
The Wolves will travel to Los Angeles tomorrow and face the 3-4 Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday. The game will be at 8:30pm CST and will be broadcast on FSNorth. The Lakers lost tonight 96-85 to the New Orleans Pelicans.