MINNEAPOLIS -- Winning, as just about everybody associated with the Timberwolves were saying Friday, makes everything better.
Which is why, two days after a late-game collapse against Phoenix and the stir Kevin Love caused with his subsequent postgame remarks, everybody was smiling.
Because just about everybody had a hand in a 119-92 thrashing of Charlotte at Target Center that got Minnesota (18-18) back to .500 for the ninth time since late November.
Wednesday's painful loss was exacerbated when Love called out reserves J.J. Barea and Dante Cunningham for not joining the team during timeouts down the stretch. The two were presumably unhappy with playing time, creating a mild controversy that bled into some pregame discussion Friday.
Playing time will remain an issue for a team getting healthy. For the first time since March 3, 2012, coach Rick Adelman had a completely healthy roster from which to build his rotations. Going forward, competition for playing time figures to only get keener.
But this time everybody was happy. Starters, reserves, coaches, fans.
The starters took turns dominating the action. Kevin Martin in the first, Love in the second, Nikola Pekovic in the third. And the bench set the tone, starting the second quarter on a run that turned a close game into the one-sided affair.
Pekovic, getting the better of former Wolves player Al Jefferson, scored 26 points, 15 in the second quarter. Love had 19 points and 14 rebounds and Martin scored 19.
And the Wolves bench? Making a significant statement in the opening minutes of the second quarter -- especially on the defensive end -- the reserves got things going as the Wolves forged a 68-48 halftime lead, the fifth time this season the team has led by 20 or more entering the third quarter.
The Wolves reserves contributed 43 points, with Alexey Shved scoring 11, Chase Budinger eight, Barea seven and Cunningham six.
Former Wolves player Anthony Tolliver led Charlotte with 21 points off the bench. Chris Douglas-Roberts had 16 points and Kemba Walker had 15.
Barea and Cunningham were part of a Wolves bench that got the ball rolling in the second quarter after a back-and-forth first. The Wolves led 29-28 when Adelman started the second quarter with Barea, Cunningham, Ronny Turiaf, Budinger and Shved. With everybody contributing, that group went out and started the quarter on a 13-2, taking a 42-30 lead on Cunningham's jumper. That run eventually extended to 18-6 -- with Barea scoring seven and Shved five -- and the Wolves were ahead 47-34 when Adelman returned with his starters.
That lead grew to as many as 23 points before the half ended. And it grew to as many as 31 in the third quarter. And so the Wolves, who dropped to 0-10 in games decided by four points or fewer Wednesday, improved to 8-2 in games following those defeats Friday. They also picked up their league-leading eighth victory by 20 or more points.
Minnesota will now travel to San Antonio to play the Spurs on Sunday, hoping to poke above .500 for the first time since Nov. 24.
They should be rested. With the game all but decided and his bench deepening by the day, Adelman was able to rest his starters in the fourth quarter.
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