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The Sports Xchange, Published January 10 2014

Pekovic's 26 points vault Wolves to victory

MINNEAPOLIS – The Minnesota Timberwolves can’t win by a little so far this season, but they sure can win by a lot.

They showed that again on Friday night with a 119-92 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats at the Target Center.

The Wolves’ 104-103 loss to Phoenix on Wednesday night was yet another victory that got away – at least the fourth in three weeks against a team they’re chasing for playoff spots in the Western Conference – and it caused all kinds of consternation in its aftermath.

After Wednesday’s game, Timberwolves forward Kevin Love blasted two unnamed teammates for sulking on the bench during timeouts late in the game.

On Thursday, Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman had a sit-down with veteran reserves J.J. Barea and Dante Cunningham in which both players admitted the error of their ways. Love got a lecture about airing private team matters publicly.

“In this age, you have to figure out how you say it because it’s going to be there forever,” Adelman said before the game. “We dealt with it and talked about it. Now we just trying to figure out how to win a game tonight.”

On Friday night, they did, turning what Adelman called the proverbial “page” by moving forward with a healing romp in which they led by as many as 31 points in the second half.

Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic delivered a dominant 26-point, six-rebound performance before he sat the entire fourth quarter with the outcome no longer in doubt.

Love added 19 points and 14 rebounds and forward Kevin Martin scored 19 before both sat all or most of the fourth quarter.

Former Wolves forward Anthony Tolliver led the Bobcats with a 21-point night in which he made 7 of 7 shots from the field – including all five 3-point shots he took – off the bench.

The Timberwolves are 0-10 in games decided by four or fewer points, but they now are 8-2 in the next game after suffering such a defeat. They also lead the league in games won by 20 points or more.

That number is now eight this season after Friday night’s victory. That’s one more than San Antonio’s seven.

The Timberwolves scored 39 points in the second quarter alone and 68 in the first half and led by 20 at halftime before they pushed their lead to as many as 31 points in the third quarter.

Charlotte 28 20 22 22 — 92:

Minnesota 29 39 27 24 — 119:

CHARLOTTE (92)

Walker 7-17 0-0 15, A.Jefferson 3-9 2-2 8, McRoberts 3-7 0-0 6, Douglas-Roberts 6-9 2-2 16, Henderson 5-13 2-5 12, Tolliver 8-9 0-0 21, Sessions 2-7 0-0 4, Biyombo 0-1 4-4 4, C.Zeller 1-3 0-0 2, B.Gordon 1-7 0-0 2, Adrien 1-2 0-1 2, Pargo 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 37-84 10-14 92.

MINNESOTA (119)

Love 6-10 5-7 19, C.Brewer 2-3 0-0 4, Pekovic 10-14 6-6 26, Rubio 3-10 0-0 8, Kv.Martin 9-12 0-0 19, Shved 4-8 2-4 11, Barea 2-6 1-1 7, Cunningham 3-5 0-0 6, Budinger 4-9 0-0 8, Turiaf 1-5 0-0 2, Dieng 1-1 0-0 2, Mbah a Moute 2-2 0-0 4, A.Price 1-3 0-1 3. Totals 48-88 14-19 119.

3-Point Goals: Charlotte 8-19 (Tolliver 5-5, Douglas-Roberts 2-4, Walker 1-4, Henderson 0-1, McRoberts 0-2, B.Gordon 0-3), Minnesota 9-19 (Barea 2-3, Rubio 2-3, Love 2-4, Kv.Martin 1-1, A.Price 1-2, Shved 1-3, Budinger 0-3). Fouled out: None. Rebounds: Charlotte 37 (A.Jefferson, Biyombo 7), Minnesota 59 (Love 14). Assists: Charlotte 23 (Walker 7), Minnesota 31 (Rubio, Cunningham 6). Total Fouls: Charlotte 17 (A.Jefferson, C.Zeller 3), Minnesota 16 (C.Brewer, Budinger 3). A—13,767.