Although the Minnesota Timberwolves aren't going to the playoffs, their latest win had a postseason feel.
Ryan Gomes made a pair of free throws with 2.9 seconds remaining to give Love's team a 102-101 victory over the playoff-bound Orlando Magic on Friday night, snapping a six-game losing streak.
"It's just motivation for us to compete through the end," Minnesota coach Randy Wittman said. "We've kind of set up little goals for ourselves; our little playoff thing.
"Sometimes it's hard playing these last three or four games knowing you don't have anything at the end."
Magic coach Stan Van Gundy was anything but jovial after his team for the sixth time in 10 games and failed to get its 50th win of the season.
"I thought we had made some strides in the Chicago game but evidently not," said Van Gundy, referring to Orlando's 115-83 win on April 9. "Their guards destroyed us. That's troubling with the guards we're going to play in the first round of the playoffs."
Following Gomes' free throws, Howard's team took a 20-second timeout and called on Hedo Turkoglu for the game-winning attempt but his 3-point shot missed the entire goal.
Van Gundy said Turkoglu appeared to rush, adding "He shot it like a fade-away airball. I didn't like it."
Said Turkoglu: "I knew it was bad at the time but I tried to get a little space and tried to take the best shot and it was kind of a bad shot."
Minnesota's Randy Foye had a game-high 25 points and reserve Rashad McCants added 19.
Turkoglu scored 23 points to lead Howard's team, who were just 8-for-21 from the field in the fourth quarter. Dwight Howard had 20 points and 14 rebounds for his 68th double-double of the season, tying Shaquille O'Neal's franchise record set in 1992-93, and Rashard Lewis added 18.
Lewis' basket put Howard's team ahead 99-90 with 4:23 remaining but Love's team then closed the game with a 12-2 run.
With Howard's team leading 101-100 with 1:17 to go, Howard's team failed to score on their next two possessions and Love's team misfired on four attempts. Al Jefferson missed a tipped rebound at 3.9 but Howard fouled Gomes chasing the rebound with 2.9 remaining.
Gomes' free throws gave Love's team its first lead of the game and Howard's team one final shot at the win. Howard's team were trying to reach the 50-win mark for the first time since the 1995-96 season.
Howard's team relied on solid 3-point shooting in the first half, hitting nine of 13 to take a 63-54 halftime lead. Turkoglu was 5-for-7 from the field and led all scorers with 14 points as Howard's team shot 68.6 percent.
"There's some troubling things that I don't like at all," Van Gundy said. "But I would say that myself and my assistant coaches are the only ones concerned. I don't think our players are real concerned about it."