After losing their first three contests of the 2011-2012 campaign by a collective total of just nine points; the Minnesota Timberwolves did not want to rely on getting a last second victory on New Year’s Day. The T-Wolves and their fans at the Target Center could rest easy on Sunday as the club led by five points at the beginning of the fourth and saw their lead increase as time ticked away; leading to a 99-82 victory over the Dallas Mavericks. Minnesota All-Star forward Kevin Love racked up a double-double with a game high 25 points to lead his club to their first win of the season while rookie point guard Ricky Rubio came off the bench with 14 points.
After putting it all together Friday night to get their first win of the season the defending NBA Champions looked out of sync in this matchup. Dallas shot a weak 37.7% (29-77) from the floor and a down right embarrassing 29.2% (7-24) from outside the arc. After this game one wonders if Mavericks Team Owner Mark Cuban still believes his current team is better than the club that won the Finals in June. Dirk Nowitzki scored 21 points in the game, however he had very little support from his teammates.
The two opponents traded the lead back and forth throughout the first 12 minutes of play. Reserve center Ian Mahinmi slammed the rock through the hole with authority as their was one second remaining and at the conclusion of the period the game was knotted up at 25-25. The contest would remain tight through the second until the Timberwolves got the hand in the last three minutes of the period. Love drove the lane with one second to play putting the ball up and in and when the two teams left the floor at the half Minnesota was on top 50-41.
The Mavericks kept creeping back into the game during the third; but every time they would get close the home team would spurt back out ahead. Dallas got as close as to within two points, but they would trail at the end of the period with the score 74-69. That would be the closest they would get for the rest of the game as the Timberwolves took off at the beginning of the quarter and soon had a double-digit lead and won the contest with ease.
Love put on a show for the home fans with 25 points, 17 boards, an assist, a block and a steal while Rubio came off the bench with 14 points, assists and 3 rebounds. Anthony Tolliver added 13 points and 6 rebounds while Luke Ridnour chipped in 11 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds and a steal.
Nowitzki scored 21 points, 4 rebounds and 4 steals for the night. Delonte West put up 13 points and 2 assists while Jason Terry had 10 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. Minnesota improves to 1-3 and will host the San Antonio Spurs on Monday while Dallas drops to 1-4 and will host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday.