Saturday, January 21, 2012

Love Hits Winning Three At The Horn As Wolves Rally From 15 Down To Sink Clippers

"Timberwolves forward Kevin Love had a ready-made excuse Friday night, but he never needed it after an unforgettable 101-98 comeback victory over the Clippers at Staples Center.

He never needed it, not by a long shot.

Or, more precisely, he never needed it exactly because of a long shot.

Love's three-pointer shot from 5 feet behind the arc won a game at the final buzzer, a game in which Wolves rookie Ricky Rubio added to his already growing legend and Love, on national television, just might have dotted the I's and crossed the T's on that five-year, $78 million-plus contract extension if he really wants it.

Trailing by 15 in the second quarter, by 12 with fewer than 10 minutes left and by three in the final 51 seconds, the Wolves closed with a finishing 24-9 flourish that featured Rubio's professionalism and Love's will.

They won on Love's theatrical final shot that left the home-crowd fans alternately stunned in silence and holding their phones up to flash photos of Rubio and Love as they left the floor in a joyous embrace and then in boisterous celebration.

It was their first lead in the game since they scored the night's first basket.

"Back in college or maybe high school," former UCLA standout Love said when asked if he had ever hit a winning shot quite like that one. "But something of that nature -- on ESPN, in front of a big crowd, in L.A., away from home -- no, not like that. Never like that."

Believe it or not, the Wolves and the Clippers were must-see television Friday night even before Rubio and Love each made a clutch three-pointer in the final 20 seconds and the Wolves delivered their first three-game winning streak since they won four in a row two seasons ago.

ESPN billed the second half of their Friday night doubleheader as Love against Clippers star Blake Griffin in a tussle of contradictory power forwards."

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