Record Blowout, Wolves National Attention, The Future of Love

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Some notes for your weekend. Wolves embarrass Lakers, Lowe discusses Love's future at Grantland. And more!

Morning everyone.  Saturday dawns.

Here are some of the notable facts from last night's blowout win over the Lakers that the team sent out:

  • 143 points is a franchise record for a regulation game; it is also the most points scored by one team in an NBA regulation game since Indiana scored 144 against the Nuggets in 2010.
  • Their 67.1% shooting from the field was also a franchise record, and also the highest in the NBA since 2010 (Utah).
  • Ricky Rubio matched the franchise record for steals in a season with 175.  He now shares the record (until Sunday) with Ty Corbin.
Also notable that Nikola Pekovic was back and awesome, and Gorgui Dieng was again excellent. The game was out of hand early, but they combined for 40 points on 15 FGAs in 45 minutes, leading me to the conclusion that Pekovic+Dieng=Wilt Chamberlain. I can do equations.

Meanwhile, most of you probably saw these pieces yesterday, but it was a Wolves day at the ESPN empire yesterday, as two articles considered their future.  Zach Lowe published a story on Grantland about Kevin Love and his future while Mark Stein discussed the future of the coaching job in Minnesota.

The Stein piece doesn't really break any ground--it suggests that Adelman is likely to step away after this season, and mentions two names as possible replacements that we've already discussed at length: Flip Saunders and Fred Hoiberg. Apparently Flip was at the Iowa State-Connecticut game last night.

The Lowe piece...also doesn't really break much new ground for those of us who have been paying attention, but it does point out that Kevin Love and his future will probably be the biggest issue in NBA front offices until it is resolved.  The Wolves are not discussing it--they have thus far refused to engage in trade talks about him.

I think this is the right choice; even if it costs me in the end, I would not entertain trading Love at this point, or at any point until it becomes impossible to avoid.  I'd rather play it out, hope that next season is better and that the $30 million he'd be leaving on the table to walk in free agency is enough to keep him around.  That's a better play then trading him for parts in my view.

Lowe also discusses the Wolves crunch time problems, particularly their tendency to foul a lot late (despite being a very low foul team overall), and their poor offense late, which he blames partly on Ricky Rubio's non-scoring game and their overall lack of anyone who can drive to the rim and score.  Furthermore, teams have become very aggressive doubling Love late in games, since often non-shooters like Rubio and Corey Brewer are the alternatives.

The question will be how the Wolves look to go about improving the team around Love this summer. Lowe suggests a need for a well-rounded big, but the emergence of Gorgui Dieng might help ameliorate some of the defensive deficiencies late in games.  I do wonder whether they will, once again, look at Pau Gasol as a mid-level free agent, but ultimately that doesn't seem like the best use of resources.

At any rate, as Lowe points out, this is an uncertain situation that is going to get a ton of attention league-wide for the next 15 months or so.  Strap in.

Meanwhile, the Western Conference is heading for a nutso finish.  The five teams currently occupying the 5th-9th spots all have 27-30 losses.  The Blazers got a big win in Chicago last night to hang on to the 5th spot at 47-27 at this writing, but still aren't completely safe, though it would probably take a collapse of epic proportions for them to miss out.

In the East, it's more interesting at the bottom, with Milwaukee and Philadelphia in a tank-off.  Philly has been amazing, with 26 straight losses heading into tonight's tough to lose game at home against a Pistons team that has also thrown in the towel and got hammered by Miami last night.  The Hawks and Knicks appear to be fighting it out for the 8th seed with all the vigor of a sloth in the afternoon sun.  Fantastic.

Enjoy your weekend. Wolves in Brooklyn tomorrow afternoon.
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