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Kevin Love says 'it was much ado about nothing'

by: COURTESY OF JOHN LARIVIERE - Minnesota's Kevin Love (left) protects the ball against Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge. The Trail Blazers won 115-104 Saturday night at Moda Center.Kevin Love woke up Saturday and said to himself: "I don't know how I'm going to play tonight."

Love was able to play, and the Minnesota Timberwolves stayed with the Trail Blazers well into the second half.

But the effects of Love's day-old knee injury and Friday night's 121-120 T-Wolves win at Golden State ultimately were too much for Minnesota versus Portland.

The Blazers used a couple of 7-0 runs to seize control and win 115-104 at Moda Center.

“After playing a tough game last night, we had a lack of energy tonight,” said Minnesota guard Ricky Rubio, who had an an ice pack wrapped around the hand he injured against Golden State.

Throughout Saturday's game, Love was massaging his right knee, which he had banged against Golden State small forward Harrison Barnes.

"I took a pretty bad hit from Harrison Barnes,” Love said. “Every time I sat down, it (the right knee) stiffened up. But I felt fine.”

Love's game didn't look totally fine. He finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds, 12 points under his per-game average this season. He took only 12 shots, making four, and was just 1 of 3 from 3-point range in 36 limping minutes.

The clash between Love and Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge never materialized, and Aldridge also had — for him — a pedestrian night, scoring 21 points and pulling down six rebounds. Aldridge was 9 of 21 from the field in 34 minutes.

“It was much ado about nothing,” Love said, about playing against Aldridge. “We didn’t, both, particularly have a good game. But he came away with the win.”

The bigger story of the night was the play of the Blazers' bench, which outscored the Timberwolves’ reserves 34-15. The Blazers got a very big night from backup guard Mo Williams, who had 16 points, six assists and five rebounds in slightly more than 25 minutes of work.

“He made shots,” Rubio said. “He’s smart, and he knows how to play the pick-and-roll. He hit a couple of open shots, and he played a great game.”

After going to halftime trailing 65-57, the Timberwolves surged at the start of the third period, tying the game 71-71. The Timberwolves took an 81-80 lead with 1:55 remaining in the quarter. But the Blazers recovered for an 87-81 lead going into the fourth quarter, when they pulled away.

“We ran out of gas,” Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman said. “Especially in the second half, we made runs at them, caught them in the third quarter, but they just went on one more run and took the lead.”

The Blazers evened the season series 1-1; Minnesota beat Portland 120-109 on Dec. 18. The teams will play at Minnesota on Feb. 8.

“Hopefully next time we play them it’ll be a different outcome for us,” Love said.