MILWAUKEE (AP) — Nikola Pekovic scored 27 points and Ricky Rubio added 18 points, 12 assists and eight steals to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 107-98 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night.
Pekovic made 11 of 14 shots from the field and also had eight rebounds. Rubio connected on five of his six attempts from 3-point range for the Timberwolves, who went 8-of-13 from beyond the arc as a team and led most of the game.
Ersan Ilyasova had 29 points and 12 rebounds, Monta Ellis scored 18 points and Mike Dunleavy added 15 for Milwaukee, which holds a six-game lead on Philadelphia for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Minnesota shot 61.9 percent to jump out to a 34-23 lead after the first quarter.
The Timberwolves moved ahead by 14 points, their biggest lead of the game, early in the second before the Bucks broke off a 22-6 run to surge in front 48-46. The Timberwolves closed the quarter on a 9-4 spurt to take a 55-52 lead at the half. Rubio had 15 first-half points while sinking all five of his 3-pointers. The Timberwolves made seven 3-pointers in the opening half.
Minnesota held the lead throughout the third quarter and took an 87-81 advantage heading into the final period.
Pekovic continued a run of strong games after he had 22 points and 15 rebounds in a win over Oklahoma City on Friday and scored 29 at home Monday to help beat Boston.
Minnesota had 58 points in the paint, compared to just 38 for Milwaukee.
Notes: Milwaukee coach Jim Boylan said Luc Richard Mbah a Moute still appears to be dealing with lingering effects from surgery on his right knee last offseason. “He’s not moving around the way he has in prior years with us,” Boylan said. “You have to figure that his knee isn’t quite as good as he’d want it to be. It’ll continue to take a little more time.” .Boylan questioned why the league schedule has the Bucks playing all of their games down the stretch against teams outside their division. “We’re done with anybody in our division. We were done with some teams in our division back in January. You’d think that if you were in a battle for a division title it’d be nice if you were playing them in March or April.” . A moment of silence was held for NBA referee Greg Willard, who died Monday of pancreatic cancer at age 54.
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