One of the highly anticipated matchups in the Timberwolves’ visit to Toyota Center on Saturday was Dwight Howard against Nikola Pekovic.

Pekovic has 20 pounds on Howard and is the biggest center he has faced this season.

“He is a big guy and a great rebounder,” Howard said. “He is definitely a challenge.”

Added Rockets coach Kevin McHale: “He is a load. You have to be willing to stand there and get run over, and not many guys want to do that.”

Minnesota coach Rick Adelman — McHale’s predecessor with the Rockets — said that Howard in the paint provided just as big a challenge for Pekovic, who headed into Saturday averaging 14.2 points and 8.5 rebounds.

Howard finished the game with 11 points and 13 rebounds in the Rockets’ 112-101 win, recording his ninth double-double of the year, while Pekovic had 14 points and seven rebounds.

McHale familiar with Love’s game

While Minnesota forward Kevin Love is having his best season since entering the NBA in 2008, Rockets coach Kevin McHale isn’t surprised.

As the general manager in Minnesota, McHale shipped a package including No. 3 overall pick O.J. Mayo to the Grizzlies in exchange for Love — the No. 5 overall pick — and three other players on draft night in 2008.

“He has had a great run,” McHale said. “You hope that when young guys come in the league, they find their niche and their place in the league and he really has. He has been fantastic.