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Kaman helps Hornets slip past T'Wolves

Mar 11, 2012 - 5:44 AM
Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Chris Kaman scored 20 points and pulled down six rebounds as the New Orleans Hornets outlasted the Minnesota Timberwolves, 95-89, at Target Center on Saturday.

Jarrett Jack added 17 points to go with seven assists and Greivis Vasquez and Marco Belinelli scored 12 and 11, respectively, as the Hornets salvaged a 1-3 record to wrap up a four-game road trip.

The Timberwolves were playing without rookie sensation Ricky Rubio, who was lost for the season after tearing his ACL in his left knee late in Friday's loss to the Lakers.

Kevin Love paced the Timberwolves with 31 points and 16 rebounds, while fellow big man Nikola Pekovic recorded a double-double as well with 21 points and 11 boards. Luke Ridnour scored 14 points and handed out 10 assists in place of the injured Rubio, but Minnesota dropped its second straight contest.

"We definitely lost a little swagger without Rubio out there," remarked Martell Webster, who will see increased minutes with Rubio sidelined. "The way he moves the ball, he changes the pace of the game for us. The guys we have are who we have to go with, so we've got to find a way to come together for the rest of the season."

Love's free throws with 9:03 to play knotted the game at 74, but New Orleans netted the next 11, capped by a Vasquez three to take an 85-74 edge with just under five minutes remaining in the fourth.

The T'Wolves would not go quietly, however, as an 11-2 surge over the next four minutes found Minnesota within two, 87-85, with 18.6 ticks on the clock.

However the Hornets went 8-of-8 from the charity stripe in the final seconds to seal the victory for the visitors.

"They are a different team without Rubio," said Hornets forward Trevor Ariza, "but they didn't let that get them down. They came out and competed, but we had enough to hang on tonight."

The absence of Rubio was apparent from the start, as Love and Pekovic accounted for 22 of Minnesota's 24 first quarter points to close the quarter with the game tied at 24.

Vasquez and Belinelli connected on back-to-back threes to cap an 11-0 Hornets surge as they turned a two-point deficit into a 37-28 advantage with 6:49 left until halftime.

New Orleans remained in control throughout the rest of frame, taking a 49-44 lead into the locker room.

Gustavo Ayon and Kaman combined on an 8-0 surge to put the visitors on top 61-50 with 7:38 to play in the third.

Minnesota quickly responded with seven straight and trailed by just five, 70-65, heading into the final frame.

Game Notes

Minnesota will travel to Phoenix on Monday for the first of seven straight on the road, while the Hornets host Charlotte on Monday...The Timberwolves are already without backup guard J.J. Barea, who missed his second straight contest with a sprained left ankle...Wayne Ellington finished with 12 points for Minnesota.