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2013 and the Island of Misfit Toys

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You really have to credit Kevin Love. He played that game on one leg. For him to get that double-double in half a game, most of it spent locking horns with an incredibly physical player in Tyler Hansbrough (who's been playing very well of late, by the way) is just amazing. The record was there for the taking and Love got it with an ovation-worthy gut check.

In 2006, Love picked up the nickname "Kevlar" at Rucker Park's annual Elite High School game. Never has the nickname been more fitting. The guy is bulletproof. We've seen everything thrown at him this season...double teams, injuries, entire gameplans designed to stop him....none of it works. He shrugs it off and keeps going.

Perhaps my favorite part of Love's game is his demeanor. Whatever. No big deal. He's not concerned with records or stardom or having a reputation as "The Man". He just wants to play as well as he can on any given night, and that's what he does.

So congratulations to Kevin Love for breaking Moses Malone's record. 52 consecutive double-doubles is a hell of a mark. Wilt Chamberlain is next at...well...227. If I did the math right, Love will reach that mark in a little over two years.

This is sort of a game wrap and planned features 3-in-1...dealie...thinger...whatever. Shut up.

Game notes:

  • My God, the Pacers were beyond horrendous. They ended the first quarter shooting something like 22-23% from the floor, with only Tyler Hansbrough getting any decent shots to fall. Danny Granger "needs a hug", as Jim Peterson put it...2-19 shooting, 10 points in 31 minutes. As a team, Indiana shot 4-23 from deep, committed 17 turnovers to just 7 assists, and if I heard Hanny correctly, their 29% FG percentage just barely tops the league-wide season low for a single game.
  • It was nice to get a blowout win. It was nice to hear Tom and Jim start bantering in the 3rd quarter when the game went into cruise control. Everyone's psyche needed this.
  • Wes Johnson probably shouldn't have played tonight. After the first quarter he had to return to the locker room to...well, it's food poisoning, so you can imagine...and didn't step on the court again afterwards. Not that Ellington did anything as his substitute, but still...whatever the guys ate in Philly is still haunting a few of them.
  • I know Beasley gets a ton of grief for his inefficiency...which is deserved....but I really do think he gets robbed a lot in terms of calls. He should have gone to the line probably twice as much as he actually did tonight, and for the season he's been called a lot for offensive fouls and charges that just about anyone else gets free throws from.
  • Pekovic somehow managed to commit 4 fouls in 6 minutes...which is 4 more fouls than he had rebounds, assists, steals and blocks combined, and 1 more than even shots attempted. Two steps forward, one step back....
  • Anthony Randolph, by contrast, threw in 14 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists in just 18 minutes (that's a pretty gaudy 28-14-4 per/36) AKA 4 more points, 3 more rebounds, and 2 more assists than Darko and Pek combined. More on this later...
  • Anthony Tolliver continues to just be awesome.

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In fact, let's talk about AT a little more. Not to be Debby Downer, but Tolliver is kind of not a good omen for this team. Early this season we noted that Tolliver was more or less outplaying everyone on the team, and that hasn't changed much. Kevin Love has surpassed him and then some, but otherwise...? If we take a sort of quick, unscientific look and try to get a balance everyone's PER, WS/48, simple rating, and on court/off court +/-, Tolliver pretty much tops everyone not named Kevin Love. Leaving Anthony Randolph off the list (he has, after all, been here just a week), Tolliver is 3rd in PER, 2nd in WS/48, 2nd in simple rating, and 1st in net +/-.

...this is a team with eight former lottery picks on it, and Anthony Tolliver essentially outplays seven of them. An undrafted DLeague free agent outplays 7 of the 8 former lottery picks on this team. I absolutely love AT, but that is not good. This team is absolutely a boat that can't float. Or a train with square wheels. Or whatever misguided plaything Santa's elves can come up with. Island of Misfit Toys indeed.

Anyway...

  • Tyler Hansbrough just might make it in this league. Actually for me, that was never in question, but it's nice to see him quietly putting it together. He's very limited physically and athletically, but he does two things extremely well: he rebounds and draws fouls. Just like at UNC.
  • Dahntay Jones: 12 minutes, 0-3 shooting
  • Solomon Jones: 15 minutes, 2-3 shooting, 4 of the most idiotic fouls I've ever seen in my life
  • Still think Lance Stephenson can be pretty good
  • The Wolves won by 26 tonight despite shooting 38% and committing 27 fouls
  • A sort of parallel to the monumental task that is Kevin Love trying to top Wilt Chamberlain is someone (Jason Kidd, let's say) trying to top John Stockton. Kidd is 37 and still 4000 assists behind Stock for his career. To reach him, JKidd would need to average 10 assists/game for the next 5 years.
  • And for the record, I've been working on an Island of Misfit Toys angle since before S-n-P used it at the trade deadline

So, there you have it. The Wolves are a team of castoffs who collectively play at a sub-DLeague level. They won tonight by being slightly less terrible than Indiana. But it was fantastic to see them blow out the competition and have fun doing it. Next up for them is Utah on Friday.

And Kevin Love broke Moses Malone's record for consecutive double-doubles (and the Wolves' record for offensive rebounds in a season as well). Next up for him is Wilt Chamberlain, so....yeah....check back with us in 2013.