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Love, Pekovic lead Timberwolves to lopsided win over Celtics

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The Canadian Press
11/16/2013 10:24:30 PM
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Kevin Love had 23 points and 12 rebounds and Nikola Pekovic had 20 points and 12 boards to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 106-88 victory over the Boston Celtics on Saturday night.

Kevin Martin scored 20 on 6-for-18 shooting and Dante Cunningham scored 12 off the bench to help Minnesota rebound from a tough loss in Denver the previous night.

Avery Bradley scored 27 points and Vitor Faverani had nine points and 14 rebounds for the Celtics. But Jeff Green went 0 for 6 from the floor and Boston's 22 turnovers led to 28 points for the Timberwolves.

The Celtics have lost three in a row following a four-game winning streak.

J.J. Barea scored 13 points and Pekovic started throwing his considerable weight around the way he did last season to earn a five-year extension this summer. The big man has had difficulty early this season finding his place in the offence with Love and Martin taking the bulk of the shots with the starting unit.

But against Boston's smaller front court, Pekovic had his way. He scored 10 points in the third quarter to help the Wolves turn a close game into a comfortable margin, and Martin and Love took over from there.

Playing their fifth game in seven nights, the Timberwolves were a little sluggish in the first half against a Celtics team that has been surprisingly competitive early this season after trading Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn and sending coach Doc Rivers to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Brad Stevens' team started 0-4, but beat Miami during a four-game winning streak to even its record. As the competition has stiffened with Western Conference playoff hopefuls Portland and Minnesota in the last two nights, the Celtics talent gap has looked more glaring.

The Timberwolves led by as many as 17 points midway through the second quarter, but the Celtics closed the half on a 20-8 run to keep it close. Faverani, who started for Kelly Olynyk because Stevens liked the way he matched up against Pekovic, hit two 3s to start the comeback.

Brandon Bass scored 15 points for the Celtics.

NOTES: Courtney Lee (sore right wrist) and Keith Bogans (illness) missed the game for Boston. ... Timberwolves F Chase Budinger was back in the arena after returning from Florida where he was rehabbing an injured left knee. Budinger is beginning to do some light basketball activity, but isn't expected back until mid to late December. ... After scoring a career-high 26 points against the Blazers on Friday night, Celtics F Jared Sullinger had just three points in 14 minutes.

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