Rubio back on the floor for T-Wolves as they beat MavericksMinnesota Sports
-- Nikola Pekovic scored a game-high 21 points and pulled down nine rebounds as the Minnesota Timberwolves outlasted the Dallas Mavericks, 114-106, in overtime Saturday at Target Center.
Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Nikola Pekovic scored a game-high 21 points and pulled down nine rebounds as the Minnesota Timberwolves outlasted the Dallas Mavericks, 114-106, in overtime Saturday at Target Center in front of a crowd of over 18,000 fans.
Alexey Shved netted 18 points with six assists, while Derrick Williams contributed 16 points and six rebounds for the Timberwolves, who have won a season-high four straight.
Luke Ridnour added 15 points for Minnesota, while Andrei Kirilenko put home 14 and grabbed 10 boards and J.J. Barea finished with 14 points in the victory.
Minnesota point guard Ricky Rubio made his season debut after recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament and lateral collateral ligament in his left knee last March. He donated eight points and handed out nine assists in 18 minutes.
O.J. Mayo and Derek Fisher scored 20 points apiece for Dallas, which has lost three straight games.
Dallas entered the fourth quarter trailing 80-70, but began to chip away at the lead, as a corner 3-ball form Fisher and a jumper by Elton Brand brought the visitors within four with 7:32 to play.
Ridnour hit a jumper shortly afterward to put the T'Wolves back up by eight with 6:04 to go, but the Mavs answered with a 12-3 surge to snag a 97-96 lead with 2:50 to play.
A Brand tip-in with 1:22 on the clock gave the Mavs a 102-100 lead, but Pekovic answered with a layup at the other end to tie the game.
Mayo missed a 12-footer with 35.9 seconds left, but the T'Wolves couldn't capitalize as Ridnour, Rubio and Pekovic all missed in the final seconds to send the game to overtime.
In the extra session, it was all Minnesota. Shved got the T'Wolves off to a good start with a run-out slam right off the opening tip. Shawn Marion then missed on the Mavs' ensuing possession and Kirilenko added a pair of free throws and a 3-point play to give the T'Wolves a 109-102 lead,
Pekovic completed another 3-point play to push the lead to 112-102 and the Timberwolves held on for the victory.
Dallas came out of the gate on fire, hitting six of its first 11 shots from the floor -- capped by an emphatic putback slam from Marion -- to build an 18-7 margin with 6:04 on the first-quarter clock.
Minnesota cut the deficit to single digits a few times, but the Mavs remained firmly in control during the frame and led 32-22 heading to the second session.
Brand buried a turnaround 8-footer on the Mavs' first possession of the second quarter to push the lead to 12, but Minnesota answered with a 13-4 burst to cut the deficit to three with 7:20 to play in the half.
It remained a one-possession game until layups by Williams and Pekovic gave the T'Wolves a 46-42 lead with 3:21 to go in the half. Dallas cut it to one on a deep trey from Vince Carter, but Minnesota closed the half with an 8-0 run to lead 54-45 at intermission.
Minnesota remained in control for the duration of the third quarter and a deep deuce by Dante Cunningham gave the T'Wolves their largest lead of the night, 70-55 with 6:08 to go.
A layup by Brand sliced the deficit to eight, but the home side led 80-70 heading into the final quarter.