Created: 11/22/2013 9:42 PM KSTP.com
Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Garnett, left, drives around Minnesota Timberwolves' Kevin Love in the first quarter.
Photo: Photo: AP/Jim Mone
After five years of getting pushed around by Kevin Garnett, Kevin Love finally pushed back.
Love had 17 points, 16 rebounds and four assists in just 28 minutes, and the Timberwolves beat Garnett for the first time since he left Minnesota in a 111-81 victory over the woeful Brooklyn Nets on Friday night.
Nikola Pekovic had 15 points and seven boards and the Wolves blew the game open after Garnett received a technical and a flagrant foul for getting physical with Love in the paint. The testy exchange ignited a 16-0 run in the third quarter for Minnesota.
Garnett finished with eight points and eight rebounds in 21 minutes. He had been 7-0 against the Wolves since being traded to Boston in 2007. But these aging, banged-up Nets were no match for the Timberwolves. Mikhail Prokhorov's $190 million team has lost four in a row and seven of its last eight to fall to 3-9.
The Nets played without Deron Williams (sprained left ankle), Andrei Kirilenko (back spasms), Brook Lopez (sprained left ankle) and Jason Terry (bruised left knee). It was the third time they've lost by at least 21 points this season.
They were down big early thanks to a horrendous first quarter in which they shot 21 percent and turned the ball over nine times. Love took it to them with nine points and 11 boards in the first 12 minutes, but things really got out of hand in the third.
Garnett spent 12 years in Minnesota to start his career and was wounded when the Wolves traded him to Boston to start a rebuilding project in 2007. He has always had a little extra energy and motivation when he returned to play in his beloved 'Sota, including an impressive performance against Love and the Wolves in March 2012 when a few foolish followers started to wonder if Love was starting to usurp KG as the greatest Wolf of them all.
Garnett bullied Love on that night, seething and spewing venom as he always does in a 100-79 thumping by the Celtics.
He tried to do it again on Friday night, poking and prodding Love each time the two met in the paint. He was at it again in the third quarter when Love finally had enough. He swatted Garnett's hands away, and KG reacted with a forearm shiver to Love's chest. Garnett received a technical and a flagrant, and the Wolves scored six points on the possession after Kevin Martin finished it with a 3-pointer for a 65-43 lead.
The Wolves poured it on from there, with Ricky Rubio hitting a 3 and blowing past Paul Pierce for an easy layup and a 75-43 lead. Minnesota led by as many as 37 points, and overwhelmed Nets coach Jason Kidd pulled Garnett and most of the rest of his starters with about three minutes to play in the third.
It had to be a difficult pill for the proud Garnett to swallow. Even six years after his departure, the strong feelings remain.
During a break in the action in the first quarter, the Wolves played a highlight reel and announced his accomplishments over the loud speaker. A thunderous standing ovation ensued, and Garnett got off the bench, tapped his heart and waved to the crowd in an extremely rare departure from ultra-intense demeanor during games.
Andray Blatche had 16 points and Joe Johnson 15 for the Nets, who turned it over 20 times.
NOTES: Martin finished with 17 points and Corey Brewer had 15 for the Wolves. ... Wolves F Ronny Turiaf (fractured elbow) said before the game there is still no timetable for his return to action. ... In the Old Habits Die Hard Dept: Wolves in-arena announcer Rod Johnson hollered "Time out New Jersey!" in the first quarter. Johnson immediately caught himself and corrected it to Brooklyn. ... Tyshawn Taylor had 13 points for Brooklyn.
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