Kevin Love Larry Bird

March 27, 2012 by staff 

Kevin Love Larry Bird, Kevin Love won’t let the Minnesota Timberwolves go down without a fight. The Denver Nuggets could use a little of the same punch right now. Love followed up his 51-point game with 30 points and 21 rebounds to lead the Timberwolves to a 117-100 victory over the Nuggets on Sunday.

“I think we used to call him kind of a poor man’s Larry Bird,” Denver coach George Karl said. “I think you can take ‘poor man’s’ off that comparison now. His ability to rebound is incredible and his offensive tools and skills are growing.”

Luke Ridnour had 25 points and six assists, and Wayne Ellington added 17 points for the Timberwolves, who are trying to stay relevant in the Western Conference playoff race.

The Wolves entered the game 3½ games behind Denver for the eighth spot.

“You see all these teams ahead of us,” coach Rick Adelman said. “Teams get a nice margin when they go out and win three or four in a row. That’s what we have to do.”

JaVale McGee had 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Nuggets.

Denver trailed by 28 points in the first half and lost its second straight game. The Nuggets played without starting shooting guard Arron Afflalo, who was suspended for throwing an elbow at Jazz forward Gordon Hayward’s head on Friday night.

Kenneth Faried had 17 points and Andre Miller added 14 for Denver.

“We can’t put it in cruise control anymore,” Karl said.

Love is in overdrive after scoring 51 points and grabbing 14 rebounds in a double-overtime loss at Oklahoma City on Friday night.

Minnesota has struggled since point guard Ricky Rubio was lost for the season March 9 to a torn ACL in his left knee. They were in position to make the playoffs — sitting eighth in the West — when they played the Los Angeles Lakers that night, but have since gone 3-6 to fall to 11th in the conference.

To show how important this game was for the Wolves, they never led by fewer than 16 points in the second half, but Love did not sit until 2:40 was left to play.

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