With just over four minutes left in the Timberwolves’ game Tuesday with the Los Angeles Lakers, Kevin Love went up for a shot in the paint and got hit by Lakers center Robert Sacre. Hard. Love crashed to the floor and stayed there. His first thought: Ouch, my hip. His second thought: Ouch, my head. His third: Get up. So Love rose, slowly. He worked his way to the bench, rested through a full timeout, walked back out and hit both free throws for two of his 31 points. Minnesota needed nearly every one. With Love and Kevin Martin (32 points) leading the way, the Wolves beat a feisty Lakers team 109-99, beginning a stretch of four games in five nights with a gutty, physical, perhaps harder than it needed to be win. Led by Love, of course. On the way to 31 points and 17 rebounds — his seventh 30-15 game this year and the 25th of his career, one more than Kevin Garnett had in a Wolves uniform — Love was knocked to the floor at least three times. Each time he got up. “He gets dirty down there,” Martin said. “That’s why we pay him the big bucks. That’s why he’s an All-Star starter.’’ Playing again without injured center Nikola Pekovic, Love played more than 40 minutes, took nearly a hit per minute, and kept ticking. In the process he willed the Wolves past a beat-up Lakers team that, though it got guards Steve Nash and Steve Blake back, was without center Pau Gasol, superstar Kobe Bryant, and without guards Jordan Hill (neck) and forward Jodie Meeks (ankle) for much of the game. Blake played much of the game with a ruptured eardrum.
Wolves struggle to top depleted Lakers 109-99
Minneapolis Star Tribune | Feb 5