The Timberwolves haven't been able to rise above the .500 mark the majority of a season that was filled with promise. While they still have plenty of time, a win over the Oklahoma City Thunder Saturday night would have proved huge. Monday night, Kevin Love was fouled in the final seconds of the game against Dallas but didn't get the call resulting in a two point loss. With the Wolves trailing by the same two points, Love got the call on a three point attempt giving himself the opportunity for ultimate redemption.
But something went horribly wrong on the trip to the line.
Love promptly bricked the first off the back iron. Un phased, he stepped to the line and missed the second leaving any thoughts of a dramatic comeback win sitting on the Target Center floor. He missed the third on purpose but failed to hit the rim resulting in a violation.
"Three free throws to put us ahead and two to tie it. It just happens," Rick Adelman said. "Happens to the best of players, it's just one of those things."
Lost in the drama of the finish was the 18-for-29 performance at the free throw line that clouded what was a great game that saw back and forth, playoff type drama not seen at Target Center in a decade. The 18,000 plus were alive and with Love and the Thunder's Kevin Durant dueling, a budding rivalry might just be in the offing.
With 30 seconds remaining and the game tied at 109, Love missed a turnaround hook shot and as the Thunder's Jeremy Lamb tried to hurdle over Corey Brewer and ended up landing face first on the floor. Brewer was called for his sixth foul and made two free throws to give the Thunder the lead.
"I thought we played well enough to win," Adelman said. "We did everything but win. That call down the stretch there, I don't know which way it should have gone, I didn't see it. When they called the foul on Corey when the guy jumped over his neck, it was just called so you've got to move on."
Love almost made it academic when he tied the game on a driving left handed lay up and was fouled. He missed the free-throw leaving the game tied at 111.
Durant finished with 48 points including 23 in the fourth quarter. Defensively, the Wolves had held him to just 9-for 21 shooting from the field through three quarters but as all great players do, they finish strong and push their team to victories.
"Kevin was on fire, he's just a terrific player," head coach Scott Brooks said. "He did a great job getting himself open and our bigs have done a great job all year to get him open. I thought they did a great job of keeping us close. Then obviously Kevin took over when needed."
Nikola Pekovic led the way for the Wolves with 31 points and 11 rebounds while Love added 30 and 14 boards. Ricky Rubio played one of the better games of the season finishing with 13 points, 10 assists and five steals.
The Wolves travel to Philadelphia on Monday to face the 76ers before returning home Wednesday and Friday against Phoenix and Charlotte.