Quantcast 2010 Minnesota Timberwolves Basketball: Kevin Love gets first 30-30 game since 1982


Timberwolves need Kevin Love on the floor



The Minnesota Timberwolves are 3-7 through their first 10 games of the season, and that cannot come as much of a surprise. After all, this team won just 15 games last season and has played with Sebastian Telfair as the starting point guard as Jonny Flynn continues to recover from offseason surgery.

But the team does have bright spots, and none is brighter than the recent play of Kevin Love.

Love has been vacuuming in rebounds like a Dyson this season, averaging 14.6 rebounds through his first 10 games. That stat includes his most recent mind-boggling performance — a 31-point, 31-rebound demolition of the New York Knicks’ front line. Love’s 30-30 game marked the first in the NBA since Moses Malone posted 38 points and 32 rebounds against the Seattle Sonics way back in 1982.

For a guy who is averaging 18 points and 14.6 rebounds, life should be pretty sweet. However, Love has become increasingly frustrated with his playing time, and it is hard to blame him.

Before playing 41 minutes against New York, Love had been averaging just 28.3 minutes per game. Only Michael Beasley was averaging more minutes (29.1) on the team than Love, but for a young player who is posting All-Star numbers to not be playing at least 30 minutes each game is absurd, especially when it is guys like Nikola Pekovic, Anthony Tolliver, and Kosta Koufos stealing away his time.

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Of the players in the top twenty for rebounds per game, only Reggie Evans (27.4 minutes) and Andris Biedrins (26.2 minutes) entered Nov.12 playing fewer minutes than Love.

It is hard to understand the reasoning behind coach Kurt Rambis’ thinking on this. Sure his team has a number of young players with similar skill sets, and he is trying to find minutes for all of them. However, it is difficult to think that Love, who played for Team USA at the World Championships over the summer, has failed to distinguish himself from the rest of the pack.

Love was only shooting 39.4 percent from the field coming into the game against New York and did not do much better there, hitting on just 11 of 26 shots from the field. Yet, Minnesota does not need him to be the primary offensive weapon; the Timberwolves have Beasley and Wesley Johnson for that. They need his size and rebounding, and his knack for coming up with boards in bunches should be enough to get him on the floor for more than 28 minutes each game.

Love may be as athletic as a tree stump, but he does the little things that 29 other teams in the NBA would love to have. That is why, when it first surfaced that he was becoming upset with his role with the Timberwolves, teams around the league began calling about his availability in a trade. Minnesota rebuffed them, indicating that they see Love as a key component to the franchise’s future, but the team (and coach Rambis) needs to find a way to get him at least 35 minutes each game.

After what he did against the Knicks, there is no excuse not to.



By Eric Lorenz
Pro Basketball Fans Staff Writer

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