Kevin Love returned to the Timberwolves' lineup last night unexpectedly, and just in case you thought he was Superman, Love scored 34 with 14 boards in his appearance of the 2012-2013 season.
The Denver Nuggets won at the Target Center, however, 101-94, putting both teams at an even .500, out-shooting the Wolves 44-38 percent. Minnesota had a comfortable 58-44 half-time lead, but got ripped 57-36 in the 2nd half.
Love led all scorers, but Denver had 5 players in double figures to just 3 for Minnesota. After Love's 34 came Barea with 12 and Pekovich with 10. Like Love, Barea and Pekovich are also just back from injuries. Everybody who hadn't been out with an injury shot 14-for-44 (32 percent).
In the 1st half, the Wolves shot 22-of-48 (46 percent) with Love at 10-of-18 (56 percent). And after Pekovic hit a layup at 11:14 of the 3rd quarter, it was 60-47. Minnesota missed its next 10 shots until another Pekovich layup made it 65-61 Minnesota at 6:10. Denver took the lead 69-68 at 2:11 though the Wolves went back up 73-69 after 3.
In the 4th, the wheels just came off. Minnesota made 7-of-21 (Love 1-of-3). Denver tied it up at 75, and went ahead at 78-75. They only took the lead for good at 90-87 but the Wolves only made 3-of-7 with 2 turnovers the rest of the way.
You could say that Barea and Pekovich weren't great. What with their foot injuries, maybe their conditioning was weak and they ran out of gas in the 2nd half. Love, of course, had a hand injury and was said to be in good shape, but it seemed as if he too ran out of gas. But what can you say about their teammates? Ridnour 3-of-8, Kirilenko 2-of-7, Shved 3-of-9, Lee 1-of-8 in 24 minutes. Lee's 24 minutes ought to approach zero very soon.
And what of Derrick Williams, who did play zero minutes now that Love is back. Is the Williams era all but over? Is the die cast on Derrick? Is he the next Michael Beasley? A guy who can do anything but doesn't know what exactly to do? For the record, the starting 5 were +5, the bench was -40.
Or maybe nothing means nothing except the Wolves shot poorly. They won the possession game with +3 offensive boards and -5 turnovers. We won't have to wait long to see what the trend line is gonna be. We're at Portland tonight, Golden State Saturday, and Sacramento and the L.A. Clippers Tuesday and Thursday, before returning home to face Milwaukee a week from today.