The Wolves crept a little farther up the standings following blowout victories, with the first at home against the Washington Wizards on Friday night and the second in Milwaukee against the lowly Bucks on Saturday night. Leading the way in both contests was Kevin Love, who posted performances of 25 points and 11 rebounds against the Wizards followed by a 33 point, 15 rebound and 6 assist effort against the Bucks.
Minnesota saw better consistency out of its other starters during the back-to-back stretch, as center Nikola Pekovic also recorded two double-doubles. Pek has really hit his stride over the past month and his PER has increased to 19.10 following a slow start to the season.
Ricky Rubio has also picked up his play as of late, playing one of his most efficient games of the season against John Wall and the Wizards. In 27 minutes, Ricky recorded 11 points (2-5 FG, 7-8 FT), 9 assists, 8 rebounds and 3 steals while not turning the ball over once. Interestingly enough, he had a tougher time scoring the ball against the Bucks finishing with only 4 points (1-5 FG, 0-1 3pt, 2-2 FT) but he made himself useful by dishing out 8 assists while grabbing 6 steals in 27 minutes. Shooting only 35% from the field this season, Rubio has had a difficult time providing consistency to a team that has been severely up-and-down thus far in the 2013-14 season.
In both games, Minnesota’s bench was able to score 44 and 29 points, respectively. With the return of Chase Budinger looming, the Wolves will need to hope that J.J. Barea and Alexey Shved can continue to provide support for the team’s first unit, especially given the troubles Rubio has had scoring this season. After improving the overall record to 15-15, Minnesota now stands alone at the 9th in the incredibly competitive Western Conference and is now two games back from the 8th seeded Dallas Mavericks. Minnesota will have an opportunity to inch a game closer on Monday night when they host the Mavericks at the Target Center.