(Sports Network) – Kevin Love scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for his 20th straight double-double as Minnesota defeated New Jersey, 103-88, at Target Center.
Darko Milicic supplied 16 points while Michael Beasley and Martell Webster provided 10 points apiece for the Timberwolves, who have won three of their last four games.
Sasha Vujacic matched a career-high with 22 points and Minnesota native Kris Humphries chipped in with 12 points and 14 rebounds for the Nets, who have dropped five straight.
Trailing by one to start the second half, Minnesota opened the third quarter on a 14-0 burst to forge a 68-55 lead with 6 1/2 minutes remaining.
New Jersey’s first points came 23 seconds later on a Derrick Favors dunk. The Nets made just 4-of-17 shots in scoring only nine points in the period, a season-low for any quarter.
“We rotated on defense, we moved the basketball and played great as a team in the second quarter, but then in third quarter, they just came out and played better than we did,” Vujacic said. “We have to take a day of rest tomorrow and study to find out what we can do better in the next game.”
Minnesota took a 77-64 lead into the fourth quarter and did not allow the visitors to get closer than 10 the rest of the way.
“We’ve been playing a lot better,” Love said. “I can’t even tell you how many fourth quarter double-digit leads we’ve lost. It goes to show you we’re playing good basketball. We just have to figure out how to close out games and eventually, we’re going to get there. Every day we’re getting older, spending another day with each other and learning to how to figure this thing out.”
Love scored 11 points as the Timberwolves took a 36-29 lead after the first quarter. Both teams shot well, with Minnesota making 13-of-20 shots and the Nets connecting on 13-of-23.
Trailing by seven, the Nets embarked on a 16-5 surge that gave them a 51-47 lead with 3:17 left before the break. Travis Outlaw ignited the run with a three-pointer and Humphries finished it with a 17-foot jump shot.
Outlaw’s jumper with 1:17 to go gave the Nets a 55-54 edge at the half.
Love hit 7-of-12 from the floor while Milicic connected on 8-of-9…Luke Ridnour added nine points and six assists in the win as the T-Wolves improved to 7-8 at home…Outlaw finished with 17 points…Devin Harris totaled 16 in the loss but made only 3-of-13 shots. He did hand out a game-high eight assists. Vujacic knocked down 9-of-16 shots, including 3-of-7 from long distance. He grabbed five rebounds and dished out four assists.