MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Timberwolves refused to panic down the stretch and came away with a victory.
Michael Beasley made two free throws with 9.1 seconds left to lift Minnesota to an 85-84 comeback victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night.
“We gave ourselves a chance to win, and that’s what we need to do in this league,” Kevin Love said. “I told the guys when we came to the bench, ‘Hey, look at this as a challenge, a way to get better.’”
Love, who scored 22 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, hit a 3-pointer to cut Milwaukee’s lead to 84-83. Luke Ridnour intercepted Larry Sanders’ poor inbound pass on the next possession and Beasley did the rest for Minnesota, which overcame a 10-point deficit.
Love wrenched his left ankle during the third quarter when he went up to block a shot by Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. He thought his night was done until crunch time when head coach Rick Adelman inserted him and Beasley back into the lineup.
“Mike and I went back in and it kind of changed the game for us,” said Love, who sat in the locker room after the game with his ankle heavily bandaged.
“I didn’t roll my ankle, but it kind of got jammed really bad,” he said.
Beasley finished with 12 points for the Timberwolves, who were without guards J.J. Barea (left quad contusion) and 2009 No. 1 pick Ricky Rubio (right ankle sprain).
“My past three years, we’ve had countless games like that that I can remember,” Love said. “It feels good to win a game like this. It just shows the guys that even in a short preseason, a condensed preseason, two games, if you just give yourself a chance to win, sometimes the ball can fall in the right places.”
Adelman saw value in the team responding with the game on the line.
“We didn’t quit,” he said. “We kept coming at them.”
Bucks head coach Scott Skiles told his team that he wasn’t going to call a timeout down the stretch and the team clinging to a one-point lead.
“I wanted to see what happened, and we panicked. There’s going to be a time in the game when we don’t have a timeout. We’ve got to be able to handle that situation.”
Jon Leuer, the Bucks’ No. 2 pick, missed an open shot just before the buzzer.
Drew Gooden scored 15 points for Milwaukee and Stephen Jackson had seven in his Bucks debut.
Jackson came off the bench late in the first quarter and swished his first two shots, both 3-pointers, and made one free throw. He started and played most of the third quarter, but missed the five shots he took.
Jackson, who missed the first preseason game, has yet to take part in a full practice as he fights through a left hamstring injury and sore lower back. He received an epidural steroid injection in his back on Tuesday.
The 33-year-old guard/forward was acquired from the Charlotte Bobcats in a three-team trade on draft day.
“It felt good to be back out there,” he said. “To get out there and play. I had a little pain, but I’m feeling better. I’m not sore right now so that’s a good thing. We’ll see how I feel in the morning.”
The Bucks open the season at Charlotte.
“I guarantee I’ll be ready to go by opening night,” Jackson said.