Wolves lose in Atlanta and head to Charlotte and more
Two streaks ended Sunday at Philips Arena: The Hawks hadn't won since beating the Wolves at Target Center nine days earlier and four consecutive losses ago. The Wolves won in Sacramento on Wednesday and overcame New York at home on Friday -- a two-game "win streak," if you will -- thanks to Kevin Love's historic 30/30 game that earned him a ride in a fancy sedan to TNT/NBA TV's Atlanta studios for an interview when the team arrived Saturday night.
This time, Love had "only" 22 points and 17 rebounds while playing 40 or more minutes in consecutive games for the first time in his career against an opponent geared to stop him.
This time, Beasley scored just 25 points -- he went for 42 in Sacramento and 35 against the Knicks -- in a workday shortened by early foul trouble.
Now Kevin Love knows how it feels. Atlanta Hawks coach Larry Drew devoted much of his preparation for Sunday's game against the Timberwolves at Philips Arena to keeping Love from doing what he did Friday night to the New York Knicks at Target Center. Drew called Love's 31 points and 31 rebounds "scary" and made sure the Wolves forward didn't spread any more fear under the basket.
"They definitely sent guys at me," Love said of the Hawks' front line, which limited the Wolves forward to 22 points and 17 rebounds in Atlanta's 111-105 victory. "I got my shot blocked a few more times. They clamped down on me and made it a point to not let me get in there on the defensive or offensive glass."
Center Al Horford and forwards Josh Smith, Josh Powell and Zaza Pachulia shared the responsibility in defending Love, working hard to beat him to spots in the lane where he can grab a rebound.
Recaps of yesterday's loss in Atlanta:
Previews of tonight's game at Charlotte:
The Wolves left five injured players -- Nikola Pekovic, Wayne Ellington, Luke Ridnour, Jonny Flynn and Martell Webster -- at home in the Twin Cities.
That must have been an awfully empty chartered plane ride to Atlanta Saturday, wasn't it?
"No," point guard Sebastian Telfair said, "because Beasley counts for five people."
• Flynn (hip surgery) is expected to meet with Wolves management and medical staff Tuesday to assess whether he's ready to play some minutes for the first time this season in Wednesday's game against the Clippers at Target Center.
Also expect Ridnour to play Wednesday. He was pushing to come on the trip and play today, but the decision was made to give that strained hamstring a couple more days.
If Love goes for 40 minutes again Monday, expect Sebastian Telfair to play another 39 minutes at least.
He did so today for the third consecutive game even though he arrived at Philips Arena and left it wearing a plastic boot to protect his right foot from plantar fasciitis in his heel.
Former NBA player Dennis Scott, now an analyst for NBA TV, said Timberwolves forward Kevin Love should get serious consideration for this season's All-Star Game on Feb. 20 in Los Angeles.
"No question he can be an all-star," Scott said of Love before Atlanta's 111-105 victory over the Timberwolves at Philips Arena. "If he stays healthy and continues to work hard, he should be there. He's learned how to work like a professional. That was the only missing part. Now he has it."
Scott interviewed Love on Saturday night in the NBA TV studios in Atlanta after the Wolves arrived in town.
From Mike Tokito/The Oregonian: NBA notes: Kevin Love hits 30-30 milestone that hasn't been seen since before he was born
Kevin Love is constantly defending the Timberwolves to the national media and for the media members who pretend to know him best should know, he is a straight shooter. When he’s not happy about something, he voices his concerns. Again, the only thing he has spoken about briefly in that manner is his minutes. Well, he has now made himself much more valuable to the Timberwolves by becoming even more of a national attention grabber. It’s time for Rambis now to realize that Love is giving the required effort on the defensive end (although still not known as any form of a defensive stopper) and that his presence on the court and rebounding ability make it a liability to NOT up his minutes.
And then, there was Kevin (What's Not to) Love . . . playing an unseasonably high 40 minutes (apparently Kurt Rambis lost track of the time) and going for 31 points and 31 rebounds (Denny McLain was first to call with congratulations), something unseen since Feb. 11, 1982, when Moses Malone (32 and 38) ruled the rack and the scoring column that completely in beating the Sonics, 117-110.
Oh, yeah, that's 96 and 92 in What's Not to Love's last five forays, under-carded by 23 and 24 against the Lakers last Tuesday.
I've been around the Association long enough to realize one very simple truth -- artistry and jumping beans be damned, some guys can just flat-out ball and bogart.
Not that Rambis is expected to coach What's Not to Love any differently in the next game. No doubt he'll have to sing for his supper and mambo for his minutes.
What makes that surreally strange is -- in theory -- Rambis ought to appreciate Kevin's comprehensive grasp of the fundamentals and intensely identify with his Clark Kent qualities (nobody even mentions his clever playmaking in passing; see five assists against the Knicks) and innumerable intangibles.