Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 11/12/12
DALLAS (AP) -- Nikola Pekovic scored 20 points before leaving with an injury and the short-handed Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Dallas Mavericks 90-82 Monday night. Because of a rash of injuries, the Timberwolves dressed only 10 players. The 6-foot-11 Pekovic exited with 2:46 left in the third quarter with a sprained left ankle and didn't return. Pekovic went 8 of 13 from the floor. Andrei Kirilenko and Alexey Shved each had 16 points for Minnesota. Dallas coach Rick Carlisle was ejected after arguing a foul call with 5 minutes left. Assistant coach Jim O'Brien coached the team the rest of the way. Darren Collison had 21 points and O.J. Mayo added 18 for the Mavericks, who lost their third straight. Minnesota stars Kevin Love (broken right hand) and Ricky Rubio (torn left ACL) have yet to play this season. On Sunday, the Timberwolves announced Chase Budinger will have surgery for a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee, an injury he sustained while filling in for Brandon Roy on Saturday night. Roy missed his second game Monday with a sore right knee. Former Mavericks guard J.J. Barea (left foot sprain) did not travel with Minnesota and missed his third straight game. Even will all the injuries, the Timberwolves (5-2) are off to their best start since 2001-02. Minnesota led by six at halftime and pushed its advantage to 64-51 on Kirilenko's dunk with 3:52 left in the third. Pekovic went down to the floor just more than a minute later and was helped off the court by a trainer. Dallas was within 76-68 in the fourth when Carlisle was ejected. The coach stormed toward halfcourt after a shooting foul was called on Mayo, and official Jason Phillips quickly gave Carlisle consecutive technicals. The Timberwolves went on a 9-4 run over the next 1:37, capped by Shved's 3-pointers that gave Minnesota an 85-72 lead. Dallas cut its deficit to 85-78, but Minnesota went 5 of 6 on free throws in the final minute to put the game away. Luke Ridnour had 15 points and eight assists, and reserve Dante Cunningham chipped in 14 points for the Timberwolves. Minnesota went on an 11-2 run late in the first quarter to jump out to an early 10-point lead. The Mavericks missed 13 of their final 15 shots in the first quarter, then they misfired on their first four attempts of the second. The Timberwolves capitalized on Dallas' offensive struggles as Cunningham broke free for an easy dunk, putting the Timberwolves up 29-17 early in the second. The Mavericks cut into Minnesota's lead late in the first half. They hit their final three shots to get within 45-39 at halftime. NOTES: Dallas All-Star forward Dirk Nowitzki said during an in-game television interview that his rehab from right knee surgery is going slower than he expected. He offered no timeframe for his return. Nowitzki is about halfway through the expected six-week recovery process. . Minnesota won for only the fourth time in its last 23 games against the Mavericks.
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