Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/28/12
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SACRAMENTO -- The Minnesota Timberwolves badly needed a victory Tuesday, and Kevin Love made sure they got one. Minnesota executed down the stretch and ended a five-game losing streak with a 97-89 victory over the Sacramento Kings before a small crowd of 10,741 at Sleep Train Arena. Love, the Timberwolves' All-Star power forward, finished with 23 points and 24 rebounds. He did most of his work around the basket, but his biggest hoop of the game came on a 15-foot turnaround launch as the shot clock expired with 12 seconds left. The basket gave the Wolves a 95-89 lead and ended Sacramento's comeback bid. Thanks to Love, Minnesota (6-7) dominated the Kings on the boards, 51-36. All five Wolves starters scored in double figures. Luke Ridnour scored 18 points, Nikola Pekovic had 16 points and eight rebounds, Andrei Kirilenko contributed 14 points, and Malcolm Lee scored 10. DeMarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans each scored 20 points to lead the Kings (4-10). Marcus Thornton and Isaiah Thomas added 12 points apiece for Sacramento. Minnesota led 48-45 at the half, as the Wolves used superior execution and ball movement to outplay the Kings. Both qualities helped the Wolves get to the free-throw line for eight shots (making seven) before the break. The Kings could not run their offense effectively and did not get to the free-throw line in the first half. For a team that often struggles to shoot well from the perimeter, Sacramento's ineffective execution hurt in more way than one. Cousins led the Kings with 12 first-half points. Thornton added 10 points before intermission, and Evans had nine. No other Sacramento player scored more than four points in the first half. The Wolves had far more balanced scoring in the first half. Pekovic scored 12 to lead Minnesota, while Love was strong with eight points and 11 rebounds. Love helped the Wolves take a 25-19 first-half advantage on the boards. No member of the Kings grabbed more than three rebounds. Minnesota shot 50 percent in the first half, while the Kings were at 42.6 percent. NOTES: The Wolves still are without swingman Chase Budinger (left knee surgery), guard Brandon Roy (right knee surgery) and point guard Ricky Rubio (left ACL surgery). ... Kings starting point guard Aaron Brooks entered the game having shot .727 from the field and .647 from 3-point range in his previous five games.
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