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Nets Struggle In 103-88 Loss To Timberwolves

(AP Photo/Paul Battaglia)

(AP Photo/Paul Battaglia)

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Kevin Love had 23 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 103-88 victory over the New Jersey Nets on Saturday night.

Darko Milicic scored 16 points on 8-for-9 shooting and the defensively porous Wolves held the Nets to nine points in the third quarter to win for the third time in four games.

Sasha Vujacic tied a career high with 22 points for the Nets, who have lost five in a row. Former University of Minnesota star Kris Humphries added 12 points and 14 rebounds, but managed just two points and four rebounds in the second half as the Nets fell apart.

The teams have combined for 18 victories this season, which is fewer than 12 teams have on their own this season, and it showed. The Nets and Wolves turned the ball over 38 times, and the game was a mishmash of poor decisions, sloppy ball handling and fouling.

Martell Webster scored 10 points and hit two big 3s in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.

Devin Harris had 16 points and eight assists for the Nets, but made just 3 of 13 shots in a lethargic effort. Brook Lopez added just six points and four rebounds.

With girlfriend Kim Kardashian sitting courtside, Humphries got off to a fast start in his return to his home state. He had 10 points and 10 rebounds in the first half, thoroughly out-playing Love, the NBA’s leading rebounder.

Maybe Kardashian was making the young pups on the Timberwolves a little nervous as well. They turned the ball over 11 times in the first half, leading to 14 New Jersey points.

Coach Avery Johnson had his guards crashing the boards and converging on Love, surrounding him to make it more difficult for him to gain position as the ball caromed off the rim. The Nets outrebounded Minnesota 20-16 in the first half en route to a 55-54 lead.

But the sultry brunette was not at her seat at the start of the second half, and the Wolves ripped off a 14-0 run to take control.

The Nets missed their first seven shots and committed seven turnovers in the period. By the time Kardashian returned, Wes Johnson’s two free throws made it 72-57. New Jersey was just 4 for 17 in the quarter, and the nine points allowed were a season low for the Timberwolves, who have been one of the worst defensive teams in the league.

NOTES: Timberwolves PG Jonny Flynn missed the game with a sprained right ankle. He is expected to practice on Sunday and play on Monday. … The Nets played without F Troy Murphy (illness) and PG Jordan Farmar (knee). … The Timberwolves won for the first time this season when Milicic scores more than 14 in a game. … The Nets missed 11 of 28 free throws.