The Minnesota Timberwolves had been surviving and actually hitting a nice stride as of late. Though they’re still out of the top-eight seeds in the NBA’s Western Conference, the Wolves had started to make a push recently, having won four of their last five heading into Saturday night’s matchup with the Sacramento Kings.
Riding that recent hot streak, the Wolves got a huge bump before the matchup with the Kings as it was announced that bruising center Nikola Pekovic and the offensive-minded Kevin Martin would be returning to the lineup on Saturday. Pekovic had been out since the end of January while Martin hadn’t seen action since early February prior to facing Sacramento.
Both Pekovic and Martin looked as if they hadn’t missed a bit of action when they took the floor, though. Pekovic put up 20 points and nine rebounds, including seven on the offensive end, in only 28 minutes and while shooting 8-12 from the floor. Martin was even more prolific on the evening, putting up 26 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals while shooting 9-16 from the field in 34 minutes of action.
The offense of Pekovic and Martin was huge on Saturday night as Kevin Love struggled to score efficiently on the evening. However, the 108-97 victory over the Kings is just the beginning of what the return of the duo could mean for this team.
The win versus Sacramento move the Timberwolves to 29-29 on the season, just five games back of the eight seed with 24 games remaining on their schedule. As they move forward, they are going to need for their offense to be at its best so they can compound on their recent 5-1 stretch. Adding a physical interior presence like Pek and a perimeter shooter like Martin only ensures that happening and makes a possible run at a postseason berth more likely. We’ll soon find out if their returns are enough to get Minnesota over the hump.