Love Scores 35, Timberwolves Close Out Wizards

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Kevin Love #42 of the Minnesota Timberwolves drives for a shot against the Phoenix Suns in an NBA game played on Dec. 15, 2010 at U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix, Ariz. (credit: Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)

Kevin Love #42 of the Minnesota Timberwolves drives for a shot against the Phoenix Suns in an NBA game played on Dec. 15, 2010 at U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix, Ariz. (credit: Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Kevin Love had 35 points and 11 rebounds and Darko Milicic had 14 points and 11 rebounds to keep the Washington Wizards winless on the road in Minnesota’s 109-97 victory on Thursday night.

John Wall had 14 points and 10 assists for the Wizards, who fell to 0-19 on the road. They are the only team in the NBA that has yet to win away from home this season.

The Timberwolves trailed by four with 5:46 to play, but closed the game with a 19-1 surge to snap a five-game losing streak. Love scored eight points during the run, making up for the absence of Michael Beasley, who was out with a sprained left ankle.

One game after scoring 43 points in a win over Sacramento on Tuesday, Wizards guard Nick Young was held to 15 points on 5 of 14 shooting.

Corey Brewer had 14 points and four steals and Luke Ridnour added 16 points and nine assists for the Timberwolves, who have made it a habit of letting leads slip away in the fourth quarter this season.

Minnesota led 88-82 with nine minutes to go, but coach Kurt Rambis stuck with struggling backup point guard Jonny Flynn and kept energetic defender Brewer on the bench and watched the lead disappear.

Trevor Booker and Yi Jianlian had back-to-back dunks and Young hit a 3-pointer from the corner to cap a 9-0 run that gave the Wizards a 94-90 lead.

Rambis went back to starters Ridnour and Brewer out of the timeout, and the Wolves responded. Milicic, the 7-foot center, made a nifty behind-the-back dribble and spin move for a layup and Love hit a 3-pointer to give the Wolves a 95-94 lead.

Brewer then came up with his fourth steal, which led to a Milicic dunk and Love hit two 3-pointers, pounding his chest after the final one that put the game out of reach.

Rashard Lewis scored 19 points and Kirk Hinrich had 18 off the bench for Washington.

The Wizards were playing without starting forward Andray Blatche, out with a sprained right shoulder. Al Thornton started in his place and got off to a quick start thanks in part to Milicic.

Thornton had a jump ball with Milicic near the Wizards basket. Milicic won the tip, but he batted the ball backward, it went right into the basket for two points.

It’s been a difficult start to the rebuilding process for coach Flip Saunders and the Wizards, who tore things down when they traded enigmatic franchise player Gilbert Arenas to Orlando. Wall is the new face of the team, and the dynamic rookie is giving Washington hope that better days aren’t as far away as they appear right now.

Young looked completely uninterested against the Timberwolves. He scored a quiet seven points on 2 for 6 shooting in the first half, then spent the entire warmup period after halftime sitting in the fan seats courtside near the scorer’s table.

Notes: Saunders coached the Timberwolves for nine and a half seasons, a run that ended in 2005. The Wolves appeared to have the nucleus of an up-and-coming young team with Stephon Marbury and Kevin Garnett, but Marbury forced a trade to New Jersey in 1999 to break that up. At shootaround on Thursday morning, Saunders told reporters he told Marbury, “In 15 years, me, you, KG will all sit down and say, ‘It was the biggest mistake that was ever made.”‘ … Wayne Ellington played for the first time since Jan. 1 and had 11 points, seven boards and five assists.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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