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Love, T'Wolves top Spurs

Jan 28, 2012 - 4:14 AM Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Suddenly, Kevin Love and the Minnesota Timberwolves have the San Antonio Spurs' number.

Love had 18 points and 16 rebounds Friday night and the Timberwolves scored the final 10 points of the game to beat the Spurs for the second time in a row, 87-79.

The Timberwolves also beat the Spurs on January 2 at home, snapping a 16-game losing streak in the series. Friday was only their third victory in the last 24 meetings between the teams.

Tony Parker had 20 points to lead San Antonio, while Tim Duncan scored nine with 10 rebounds.

The Spurs took a 79-77 lead on Gary Neal's three-pointer with 3:33 remaining, but didn't score again, missing their final seven shots of the game.

"A terrific win for our guys, especially over a veteran team that wins games like that all the time," said Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman. "Hopefully it's a step forward for us."

Love had his 18th double-double of the season by the third quarter, but wasn't the only Timberwolves player to get one.

Rookie point guard Ricky Rubio scored 18 points with 10 assists for his eighth double-double of the season, while Nikola Pekovic had 14 points and 10 rebounds for his first.

Rubio's free throws tied the game at 79 and his jumper put the Timberwolves on top for good, 81-79, with 2:42 remaining. Moments later, he fed Love for a bucket to make it a four-point game.

Which is becoming a common sight for the 9-10 Timberwolves, who can reach .500 for the first time this season with a win over the Lakers at home on Sunday.

Love called Rubio, who entered the NBA with an already sparkling reputation, a "great" player. Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich didn't need to be told that, calling the 6-foot-4 Spaniard a "heck of a passer" with a good ability to read situations on the court.

"He's like a football quarterback," Popovich said.

There were 13 lead changes and five ties during the game. Love complained that the Timberwolves haven't been doing enough defensively early in games, and it showed Friday.

The Spurs shot 52.6 percent in the first quarter and had a 22-21 lead at the buzzer. Both teams shot under 39 percent in the second quarter and San Antonio kept its one-point lead at halftime, 42-41.

Minnesota led by as many as six in the third quarter, tying the game at 64-64 going into the fourth. The Spurs then shot just 27.8 percent over the last 12 minutes.

"We want to just continue to get better," Love said, looking forward to the chance to reach .500 this weekend, "and especially in the fourth quarter when it's close."

Game Notes

The Spurs started a three-game road trip that also includes games in Dallas and Memphis. They are currently in the midst of playing 16 of 21 games on the road and are currently 3-4 during the stretch so far...The Timberwolves were coming off a 105-90 win in Dallas on Wednesday after Love signed his four- year contract extension.