The Wolves entered their game against the Phoenix Suns trying to finish 2012 with a win and give them an above 500 finish for the first time since 2005. With Ricky Rubio out with back spasms, the Wolves front line punished the Suns in their 111-107 win at Target Center.
"It was a good win," said head coach Rick Adelman. "They were really good, efficient offensively, assists, turnovers and everything. We needed to make stops and we did a great job when were up there at the end there as far as switching everything, making it tough on them, get the ball in and eventually got a steal.?
Nikola Pekovic led the team with 28 points and 11 rebounds in the win while Kevin Love recorded yet another triple-double with 23 points and 18 rebounds. The Russian duo of Andrei Kirilenko and Alexey Shved proved to be formitable as well. Kirilenko scored 20 points, pulled down five rebounds and dished four assists, while Shved recorded a double-double with 12 points and 10 assists in the win.
"I thought the second half he was a lot better," said Adelman about his rookie guard. "He made plays. We were so casual with the ball in the first half. We must of thrown five passes that were just...We were scoring almost every time down. We didn't have to make great plays we just had to make solid plays."
Pekovic scored six big points down the stretch on the smaller Louis Scola, who led all players with 33 points on 16-of-26 shooting.
"He had an advantage inside," said Adelman. "When they went small on him he can roll down the middle. We have to find him and the one thing and advantage with Kevin (Love) is they leave Kevin out in the perimeter, so it's a small guy trying to pick him (Pek) up then he gets to the basket."
The team has three days off before a back-to-back road trek to Utah and Denver to begin 2013. Love, who continues to try to find his range from the field shot just 8-for-20 but appeared to have more energy then he played with Wednesday against Houston.
"I thought he was very active tonight and very aggressive," said Adelman. "He has to be aggressive and take the shots that are there. I thought it was different the way he played tonight than the way he played the other night."