By Jon Krawczynski
AP Basketball Writer
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Kevin Love had 27 points, 10 rebounds and six assists and J.J. Barea broke out of a horrid shooting slump to score 19 points to lift the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 112-101 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night.
After going 5 for 25 in his previous three games, Barea hit 7 of 10 shots to help wake the sluggish Wolves up and Kevin Martin scored 26 points to help them finish a four-game homestand at 2-2.
Brandon Knight scored 21 points for the Bucks (13-51), who led at halftime and were looking for their first set of back-to-back victories this season. But after scoring 61 points in the first half and leading by 11 points in the second quarter, the Bucks were outscored 19-4 to start the fourth quarter.
Ricky Rubio had 11 points and 10 assists and three steals for Minnesota.
Minnesota native Nate Wolters had 14 points and Jeff Adrien had 12 points and seven rebounds for Milwaukee.
The Timberwolves scored 30 points off of 15 turnovers by Milwaukee to offset some porous defense that allowed the Bucks to shoot 52.7 percent. They trailed by six points at halftime, but Love and Dante Cunningham fueled the game-clinching run with a flurry of jumpers that pushed the lead to 105-88.
The Wolves (32-31) entered the game five games behind Memphis for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. In all likelihood, they kicked away their chance to make the postseason for the first time in 10 years with losses to the Knicks and Raptors earlier in this homestand. A loss to the worst team in the league at home surely would have ended any slim hopes that remained.
The Bucks have been playing better basketball, at least offensively, since a trade last month brought Ramon Sessions and Adrien from Charlotte and sent disgruntled guard Gary Neal to the Bobcats. Even so, the Bucks were playing the second night of a back-to-back while the Wolves were playing their fourth straight game at home.
The Bucks also were missing starting power forward Ersan Ilyasova because of a sore ankle. But as the Timberwolves have done all year long, they delivered a lifeless defensive effort to give their opponent life it had no business having. Milwaukee made its first 12 shots, the longest streak without a miss to open a game in the league this season, and shot over 71 percent in the first quarter to jump out to a 33-22 lead.
Barea made his first six shots in the second quarter, including a layup that tied the game at 49.
NOTES: Wolters, from nearby St. Cloud, had a large contingent of fans who came both from his hometown and from South Dakota. Wolters starred in college at South Dakota State. ... Timberwolves F Luc Richard Mbah a Moute hosted a dozen young fans from the south of France. The fans made plans to travel to the U.S. to see him play for Sacramento against New York. But Mbah a Moute was traded to Minnesota in December, so he picked up the tab to change their flights.