Even without Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love, the Minnesota Timberwolves have the depth to compete on a night-to-night basis. They proved that on Monday, taking down the Brooklyn Nets on the road in a 107-96 win.
The Timberwolves outscored the Nets 32-10 in the final quarter, storming back from a one-time 22-point deficit and stunning the Nets on their new home court.
Andrei Kirilenko had another stat-stuffing game for Minnesota as his triumphant return to the NBA continues, putting in 16 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and four blocks. He was all over the court and has helped Minnesota stem the tide while the two stars continue to rehab from injury.
Deron Williams had 18 points and Joe Johnson added 19 for the Nets, who drop to 1-1. Minnesota moves to 2-1 after the big road win.
Player of the Game: Nikola Pekovic, C, Minnesota
"Pek" continues to prove his big 2011-12 was no fluke. Without Kevin Love to take the pressure off of him and on a night when Derrick Williams shot 3-of-12 from the floor, Pekovic contributed big time on both ends.
He finished with 21 points, six rebounds, one steal and one block, and was a big reason Brook Lopez only managed 13 points on 5-of-14 shooting. Pekovic continues to make plays when the team needs them, and is emerging as a candidate for the All-Star team if he continues at this pace.
Up Next for the Timberwolves
Minnesota will play its second home game of the season on Wednesday against the new-look Orlando Magic. Dwight Howard is gone, but Jameer Nelson and J.J. Redick are trying to erase him from Orlando's memory while also winning games. Look out for the three-pointer in this one.
Up Next for the Nets
The first marquee matchup of the season for Brooklyn will take place on Wednesday night in Miami. The Nets will take on LeBron James and the Heat for the first time since relocating in a game that will pit two teams with major star power against each other.