- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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How it happened: There was a whole lotta Kevin Love.
Love, Minnesota’s superstar power forward, put up a monster line with 32 points, 15 rebounds and 8 assists. He also came through in the clutch for the Timberwolves, scoring their two biggest buckets of the night.
The Mavs, who trailed by double figures in the third quarter, fought back in the game and trailed by only three entering the final few minutes. Love, who rebounds like Moses Malone and shoots like Dirk Nowitzki, responded by knocking down a couple of beautiful jumpers to give the Timberwolves some breathing room.
Love’s 3-pointer with 2:12 remaining stretched Minnesota’s lead to six. On the following possession, which was extended by a Corey Brewer offensive rebound, Love hit a high-degree-of-difficulty step-back 17-footer with Shawn Marion’s hand in his face. That bucket with 1:13 to go was basically the dagger, pushing Dallas’ deficit to eight points.
Minnesota shooting guard Kevin Martin torched the Mavs, too, scoring 23 of his 32 points in the second half.
Shooting guard Monta Ellis led the Mavs with 23 points, but he was 9-of-24 from the field. Point guard Jose Calderon had 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting, but the Mavs were outscored by 14 in his 33 minutes.
What it means: The Mavs still haven’t won away from home. That’s hard to do when allowing an average of 111.3 points, as Dallas has done during its three road losses. The Mavs (3-3) and Timberwolves (4-2) could end up competing for one of the West’s last playoff spots, so this might be more meaningful than the run-of-the-mill November game.
Play of the game: After Jae Crowder missed a pair of free throws with 4.8 seconds remaining in the first half, Love grabbed the rebound and hit Brewer in stride with a chest pass at half court. Brewer needed only two dribbles to dart past Nowitzki and throw down an uncontested two-hand dunk. That trimmed the Mavs’ lead to one point at the half.
Stat of the night: The Mavs had a 36-14 advantage in bench points despite sixth man Vince Carter serving his one-game suspension for throwing an elbow in Wednesday night’s loss to Oklahoma City. But the best plus-minus among the Mavs’ starters was Marion’s minus-12.