SACRAMENTO (AP) – Kevin Love had 23 points and an NBA season-high 24 rebounds to help the Minnesota Timberwolves stop a five-game losing streak by beating the Sacramento Kings 97-89 on Tuesday night.
Love, who missed the first nine games of the season with a broken right hand, was a force inside all night for the Timberwolves, who took the lead late in the first quarter and never trailed again.
Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins each scored 20 points for the Kings. Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Thornton both had 12.
Luke Ridnour scored 18 and Nikola Pekovic had 16 points and eight rebounds for the Timberwolves, who had fallen into a tailspin after starting the season 5-2. Andrei Kirilenko had 14 points and Malcolm Lee added 10.
Two free throws by Cousins pulled Sacramento to 91-89 with just under 3 minutes left. But Pekovic got free for a layup and Love threw up an off-balance shot that went in, giving the Timberwolves a 95-89 lead with 27 seconds remaining.
A tip-in by Love with 3:12 left in the game was his 24th rebound. Anderson Varejao of Cleveland had the previous high this season with 23 rebounds.
Despite the play of Love, the Kings remained close and pulled to 90-87 when Thomas made a breakaway layup. Fouled on the play, Thomas converted the free throw with just under 3 minutes to play.
Alexey Shved made a pair of 3-pointers early in the fourth quarter and a fast-break dunk by Kirilenko gave Minnesota an 85-76 lead at the 7:03 mark.
After struggling with his shot in the first half, Love got going in the third quarter. He made several perimeter shots and finished with nine points and 10 rebounds. Ridnour also shot well, scoring eight points and helping Minnesota take a 75-67 lead into the fourth.
Cousins, ejected from his previous game after arguing a foul call, picked up two quick fouls in the third quarter and went to the bench with four fouls at the 8:55 mark.
Pekovic had 12 points and Love had eight points and 11 rebounds in the opening half as the Timberwolves built a 48-45 advantage. Cousins scored 10 points for the Kings.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.)