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Associated Press, Published November 03 2013

Timberwolves knock off Knicks to start season 3-0

NEW YORK – For the Minnesota Timberwolves, a 3-0 start is as much cause for caution as celebration.

The Wolves have had too much bad luck lately to think things will stay this smooth.

Kevin Love had 34 points, 15 rebounds and five assists, Kevin Martin scored 30 points and Minnesota improved to 3-0 for the first time in 12 years with a 109-100 victory over the New York Knicks on Sunday night.

The Timberwolves, averaging a whopping 37.3 points in the first quarter, are healthy again after an injury-wrecked 2012-13 and showing the early promise of a team that can contend for its first playoff berth since 2004.

But after being limited to 18 games last season, Love knows nothing is guaranteed.

“We don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves because of the injuries,” he said. “So don’t want to live in the past, don’t want to live too far in the future, we just want to try to plan for (our next game against) Cleveland.”

Minnesota took a huge lead after a 40-point first quarter, then pulled away after the Knicks trimmed it to two in the closing minutes to move halfway to matching the 2001-02 team that set the franchise record by winning its first six.

Carmelo Anthony had 22 points and 17 rebounds for the Knicks, who have dropped two straight after a season-opening victory and drew some loud boos in the first half while appearing to be standing still on defense.

Anthony shot just 8 of 21. Metta World Peace added 17 points, but the Knicks were too far behind by the time they found any offense. Raymond Felton had 12 assists but shot 3 of 12.

The Wolves were 29 of 38 from the free-throw line after coming into the game leading the NBA with 27 makes per game, while New York was just 11 of 13. Many times the Knicks momentum when they sent a Minnesota player to the line.

Minnesota rang up 38 points in the first quarter of its opener, put up 34 in a rout of Oklahoma City on Friday, and made 14 of 21 shots in the opening 12 minutes of this one.

“That was the difference in the game,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. “You just can’t come out on your home court and dig a hole.”

Ricky Rubio finished with eight points, 10 assists and six rebounds, and Nikola Pekovic had 11 points and 12 boards.

“This is such a fun team to play on,” said Martin, who was 5-for-5 on 3-pointers. “Nobody is trying to lead the league in scoring here. Everybody has the big picture of getting to the playoffs.”

Leading by four, the Wolves closed the period with a 23-6 run. When they weren’t getting ahead of the Knicks’ defense for fast-break layups, they were getting to the line, such as when Love had a four-point possession after Kenyon Martin fouled him on a

3-pointer, then gave an extra shove for a technical foul.

Minnesota 40 24 29 16 – 109

New York 19 30 29 22 – 100

MINNESOTA (109): Brewer 3-8 4-6 10, Love 10-19 12-15 34, Pekovic 4-10 3-4 11, Rubio 3-11 2-2 8, Kev.Martin 9-12 7-9 30, Barea 3-8 0-0 7, Shved 1-2 0-0 3, Cunningham 0-4 0-0 0, Williams 2-5 1-2 6. Totals 35-79 29-38 109.

NEW YORK (100): Anthony 8-21 4-5 22, Bargnani 6-10 0-0 14, Chandler 3-4 4-4 10, Shumpert 5-8 0-0 12, Felton 3-12 2-2 8, Hardaway Jr. 3-12 0-0 6, Ken.Martin 3-4 0-0 6, Prigioni 2-5 0-0 5, World Peace 7-13 1-2 17. Totals 40-89 11-13 100.

3-Point Goals: Minnesota 10-27 (Kev.Martin 5-5, Love 2-8, Shved 1-2, Williams 1-2, Barea 1-5, Brewer 0-2, Rubio 0-3), New York 9-32 (Bargnani 2-4, Shumpert 2-4, World Peace 2-5, Anthony 2-6, Prigioni 1-3, Felton 0-3, Hardaway Jr. 0-7). Fouled Out: None. Rebounds: Minnesota 51 (Love 15), New York 53 (Anthony 17). Assists: Minnesota 23 (Rubio 10), New York 21 (Felton 12). Total Fouls: Minnesota 16, New York 26. Technicals: Minnesota defensive three second, Ken.Martin, Prigioni, World Peace. A: 19,812 (19,763).