What should make the Minnesota Timberwolves the most delighted about their 120-109 NBA victory over the Portland Trail Blazers Wednesday night is the performance of Nikola Pekovic. Yes, Kevin Love had a great night with 29 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists and Kevin Martin had 22 points. But in building up a 32-point lead against the 22-5 Trail Blazers,who would lose for the first time in six games, the Timberwolves netted 30 points from Pekovic.
Pekovic got the best of Trail Blazers center Robin Lopez who, in 25 minutes of action, was 0-of-0 from the floor and 2-of-2 from the line for two points and five rebounds. Pekovic was on the court for 29 minutes and couldn’t do much wrong. He was 14-of-19 from the floor and 2-of-3 in free throws for his 30 points plus nine rebounds.
The Wednesday performance showed once again Pekovic’s enormous potential. He’s had a decent season with 16.0 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. Those numbers are up from his career mark of 12.2 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. Each of his three years, he keeps getting better, although he’s not quite at his 2012-13 standards yet this season. Pekovic was at 5.5 points and 3.0 rebounds as a rookie, 13.9 points and 7.4 rebounds in his second season and 16.3 points and 8.8 boards in this third season. He was at 16.0 points and 8.6 rebounds last year.
Pekovic will probably match his stats by the end of this season to those of his past two campaigns with Minnesota, but against the Blazers he showed what he can truly do. The Timberwolves hope he’ll keep showing it for the rest of the season.