Love leads Timberwolves past Mavericks
The end of the Mavericks' seven-game home winning streak, and their franchise-record streak of holding 15 consecutive opponents under 100 points, came after they finally received their championship rings during a pregame ceremony.
That presentation came exactly a month after Dallas raised the championship banner before the season opener. They trailed by 21 points at halftime that day on the way to a 105-94 loss to Miami in an NBA finals rematch.
Dallas led by 14 points before halftime against the Timberwolves. But Minnesota finished the first half with eight consecutive points in the final minute, then had a 13-4 run in the first 5 minutes of the third quarter for the lead.
Love, the 23-year-old forward, signed a four-year maximum extension worth more than $60 million after the morning shootaround. That beat a Wednesday night deadline and keeps him from becoming a restricted free agent after this season.
The Mavericks tied it again at 70 on two free throws by Shawn Marion with 3 minutes left in the third quarter. But a minute later, Love's 3-pointer broke that tie and put the Timberwolves ahead to stay.
That was one of four 3-pointers by Love, who also had one at the end of the first half to get the Timberwolves within 54-52.
Wayne Ellington rebounded his own miss and made a layup to start that quick Minnesota surge before halftime. After Jason Kidd missed a 3-pointer, Ricky Rubio made a 3-pointer before Love's half-ending trey set up by Jason Terry's only turnover.
Not long before that, the Mavs were up 55-44 when Jason Kidd scored on a pass from Terry, who wore gold shoes for the special night.
Rubio had 17 points and 12 assists. Ellington had 16 points while Nikola Pekovic had 13 for the Timberwolves, who also beat Dallas 99-82 on New Year's Day.
Terry led Dallas with 17 points, while Marion had 15 points. Brendan Haywood had 10 rebounds.
Before the game, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and coach Rick Carlisle presented the diamond-encrusted championship rings to NBA finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki, Kidd and seven other current players who were on last year's team. Also getting their rings during the ceremony were retired player Peja Stojakovic and J.J. Barea, who now plays for the Timberwolves and part of the reason the ceremony was held when it was.
Barea, who missed his fourth consecutive game for Minnesota because of a sprained left ankle, received a huge ovation when he was the first player introduced by Carlisle. The rest of his Timberwolves teammates had retreated to the locker room before the ring ceremony.
Nowitzki was dressed in a suit during the third of at least four games he's sitting out to improve game conditioning and his sore right knee.
Notes: In the second quarter, Terry gathered up a loose ball on the run, then scooped it with his right hand over a defender to Brandan Wright for an alley-oop dunk. The Mavs led 37-31 at the time. ... Vince Carter missed his fifth consecutive game for Dallas with a sprained left foot. ... Dallas hadn't lost at home since starting the season 0-2. The Mavs followed the opening loss to Miami with another loss the next night against Denver.