Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 2/15/12

From the two previous meetings, it certainly looked as if the Minnesota Timberwolves had the Dallas Mavericks exactly where they wanted them, on their heels, but tonight it was a completely different ball game. Jason Kidd and Kevin Love returned to the game to their respective teams, missing games for two completely different reasons, Love served a two game suspension that was ensued to him by the league and Kidd returned from a calf strain, and none too soon for my taste.

There are two different type of accolades a player is assessed, one on a team level and one on  a personal level and JKidd’s is his numbers for assists and rebounds, which had been suffering as of late, but tonight he was all over the place. Kidd finished the night with 8 points, with 2 of those shots being three pointers, 5 rebounds, 10 assists, 2 steals, 1 block and then 8 turnovers. Granted the turnovers were extremely hight for him tonight, but he was again trying to get his sets done and just a hair off, but other than that, he had a great night on his return.

Dirk led the guys tonight with 33 points on 11 of 19 shooting and connecting on 4 of his 7 three-point attempts, and 3 blocks and was 7 of 10 from the line, which made him very upset with himself, he even said so in the after game interview. JET added 16 points to the total, Vince Carter had 12 and Delonte West added 10.

The Timberwolves looked a little lost from the get go, but their workhorse, Love was back in form so to speak. I mean after all he had 32 points and 12 rebounds, Lord help us if he was totally up to snuff, but the most impressive guy on the Wolves tonight was Michael Beasley. Beasley has had his troubles since he enter the league, but tonight he has 20 points on 8 of 11 shooting which included 4 of 5 three-point attempts and he too was all over the place. Their big man in the middle, Pekovic added 12 points and Rubio added 10 points and had 8 assists.

The Mavericks led from the start and ended the first quarter with a 29-16 score and at one point was shooting over 55% for the game, but they did let the Timberwolves back into the game and by the half, did have a 56-45 lead, but Minnesota outscored Dallas 29-27 in the second quarter and was still on a comeback in the third by outscoring Dallas again 28-22 and cut even more into the Maverick lead; by the end of the third quarter, Dallas only had a 5 point lead, 78-73 and the Wolves were trying their best to get the upper hand.

Dallas was able to contain Minnesota and take a 26-24 fourth quarter win and the eventual win, but it could have been a lot closer, but what helped the Mavericks was the 28 turnovers Minnesota committed which Dallas was able to convert into points. The Mavericks only had 18 turnovers for the night, but that was still too much since it looked like sloppy ball at one point.

The Mavs finished the night shooting 43.3% to Minnesota’s 40.5 and converted 42.9% of their three-point attempts into points to the Wolves’ 26.1%. Minnesota did better at the free throw line by completing 87.1% of their attempts to Dallas’ 73.9% and Minnesota edged Dallas in the rebounding category 47 to 38, well since they have one of the leagues best rebounders on their team, stands to reason.

It was good for Dallas’ confidence to get this win since the other two meetings of this season, Minnesota has had Dallas’ number and been able to get the advantage on them and build up for the remainder of the season. It will be a tough row to hoe since we have Portland and Los Angeles Clippers at home for the next two games and then within the next couple of weeks will be getting a break for the All-Star game.

After that point, everyone will be jockeying for position for the playoffs and Dallas has to be ready both mentally as well as physically for the push to the playoffs. Dallas’ 50 win game season is in jeopardy as it is and we don’t need to slide backwards, but push forward and the only way to do that is to be prepared, for anything!

So home, here we come and let’s get ready to meet the Trailblazers in Dallas who they haven’t met since the playoffs last season and Dallas sent them home in the first round, so it should be interesting.

With that, I bid you a good day and say good luck and let’s go Mavs!

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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