Pair of Kevins help Timberwolves dump Mavericks

Posted Friday, Nov. 08, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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For the Dallas Mavericks, there truly is no place like home, because their play on the road so far this season has been nothing short of anemic.

Three times the Mavs have gone to battle on the road, and three times they’ve walked away hanging their heads.

The Mavs’ third road loss in as many games came Friday night when a pair of guys from Minnesota named Kevin paved the way for the Timberwolves to bounce the Mavs 116-108 at the Target Center.

The Mavs are now 3-3 on the season — 3-0 at home and 0-3 on the road — going into Saturday night’s 7:30 game at the Bradley Center against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Kevin Love and Kevin Martin made sure the Mavs had a miserable flight to Milwaukee. Love accounted for 32 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists, and Martin contributed 32 points, five boards and two steals.

After the Mavs battled from down 12 to close within 105-102 with a little over three minutes left, it was Love who rescued the Timberwolves.

Loves’ 3-pointer and subsequent baseline jumper — the latter over the outstretched arms of Shawn Marion — bumped Minnesota’s lead to 110-102 with 1:13 left and all but silenced the Mavs.

“He’s the kind of guy that causes problems and he creates difficult situations,” coach Rick Carlisle said of Love, who made 12 of 21 shots. “His two step-back threes that he hit in the game were big shots.

“The one late in the fourth was a huge shot. That’s just one of those really, really good plays to guard by a good player.”

In paying homage to Love, Marion said: “He’s a handful. But if they’ve got to play both ends of the floor, it could be a rough night for them.

“If they have it easy on one end, it could be an easy night for them.”

Nothing has come easy for the Mavs on the road as they gave up 113 points to Houston and 107 points to Oklahoma City in addition to what the Timberwolves tagged them with Friday.

“We’ve got to bond together and we’ve got to do things better as a whole,” Carlisle said of his team’s road woes. “It’s that simple.”

Following a sluggish start when they trailed by nine midway through the first quarter, the Mavs rallied behind Monta Ellis (23 points) and Dirk Nowitzki (14 points) to take a 56-55 lead at the half.

Jose Calderon also gave the Mavs some punch with 21 points and seven assists.

But too many breakout baskets by former Mavs forward Corey Brewer (17 points), and too much Nikola Pekovic (15 points), Love and Martin made for a long night for the Mavs.

“Brewer had three or four run-outs off long passes where we just have to do a better job of getting back,” Carlisle said. “That’s execution and that’s attention to detail, so we’ve got to get better.”

The Mavs hope to clean up their defense Saturday in Milwaukee when they’ll also have Vince Carter back. The NBA suspended Carter from Friday’s game without pay because he elbowed Oklahoma City center Steven Adams in the head during the opener of this three-game road trip on Wednesday.

Nowitzki said the Mavs’ missed Carter’s ability to make plays for himself and others.

“We put him in the pick-and-rolls a lot and he makes plays for himself — we post him up some,” Nowitzki said. “He’s just a veteran player who’s smart.”

As their 18 turnovers can attest, the Mavs didn’t produce enough smart plays against Minnesota. But they’re hoping to pocket that first road win in Milwaukee before they host Washington on Tuesday.

“We’d love to obviously go home with a winning record and not with a losing record,” Nowitzki said. “So [tonight’s] a big game.

“Vince should be fresh and [Saturday] is a game we would love to have.”

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @dwainprice

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