SALT LAKE CITY — They say necessity is the mother of invention.
She also apparently gave birth to Minnesota Timberwolves star Kevin Love's first career triple-double and Saturday night's 121-104 victory at Utah as well.
With his top two centers out injured Saturday and starter Kevin Martin unavailable as well, Wolves coach Rick Adelman said before Saturday's game that he would ask for as much as Love could conceivably give him at any and all positions, within the bounds of reason of course.
That turned out to be a 37-point, 12-rebound, 10-assist triple-double reached before he sat down for the final nine minutes after he had pushed the Wolves to a 21-point lead and a third consecutive victory.
Love delivered that triple-double by snapping a court-length outlet pass - what else? - that teammate Corey Brewer turned into an adventurous layup for a 101-82 lead with 10 minutes remaining. The play brought teammates Ronny Turiaf and Dante Cunningham out of their bench seats when they realized Love's 10th assist of the night officially had been credited.
Love tied Kevin Garnett's franchise record for consecutive 30-point games by reaching his fourth in a row, and he extended a streak of 25-point, 10-rebound games to nine, the NBA's longest single-season mark since former Utah star Karl Malone did so in 10 consecutive games in 1991-92.
Love scored 22 of his 37 points in the third quarter alone, and now has scored 55 points in the last three third quarters in games against Denver (15), Indiana (18) and the Jazz.
Love's 37 points also are most ever by a Wolves player in a triple-double performance, two more than Garnett scored while scoring 35 in one on Dec.?18, 2003, against Dallas.
The Wolves played on without injured starters Nikola Pekovic and Martin again and also were without backup center Turiaf, who is expected to miss at least the next three weeks because of a knee bone bruise suffered in Wednesday's home victory over Indiana.
Without those three, Adelman improvised with his starting lineup and rotations, plugging Cunningham into the starting frontcourt alongside Love and Corey Brewer and calling upon little-used rookies Gorgui Dieng, Shabazz Muhammad and Robbie Hummel off the bench.
Despite their shorthanded roster, the Wolves used an 18-8 run that ended the second quarter to take a 59-49 halftime lead before Love took over in the third quarter.
Dieng will get as much playing time as he can handle now, provided he is able to stay on the floor long enough without getting into immediate foul trouble.
On Saturday, that meant 21 minutes played - and a career-high six points in the first half alone as well as a startling rejection of a Trey Burke layup in the game's final minutes.
When asked before the game is Dieng is starting to understand the pro game, Adelman said: "I can't answer that until he actually gets in a game, most of the time he has gotten into foul trouble. I just think it's hard to ask a young guy like that to just go and play. He's going to get minutes - I can't tell you how many - so we'll find out about him."
Adelman turned defensive when asked if he's looking more often now for ways to get Muhammad - the Wolves' top draft pick last summer, No. 14 overall - into the game these days, asking in return who should sit down to make room for Muhammad to play.
He said that wouldn't be an issue Saturday after he moved Cunningham into the starting lineup and knew he would have to call upon both Luc Mbah a Moute and Hummel to fill frontcourt time off the bench in Cunningham's place.
"I think everybody has to be ready to play," he said. "Hopefully, when they do get a chance they'll be ready to go."
Muhammad did so, to the tune of 12 minutes played that included both a nifty throw-down slam of J.J. Barea's alley-oop pass and an unprecedented halftime interview on the team's FSN telecast