Wolves 88, Bobcats 83: Been there, bro

Zach Harper —  March 29, 2012 — 10 Comments

You know what’s kind of crazy?

Kevin Love finished this game with 40 points and 19 rebounds last night, including 14 in the fourth quarter to close out the worst team in the NBA, and it’s probably his third best game of the week. The level of production and play Love is throwing at our eyeballs and his opponents’ defensive schemes are ridiculous right now. I like to fancy myself as a pretty good NBA 2K12 player. It’s really hard to put those numbers up in the video game, let alone with actual athletic giants flying around your personal space.

I’m having a hard time really getting excited about this win because they beat the worst team in the NBA. However, without Rubio, Pekovic, Barea and Beasley, it’s still cool to see Kevin Love take over a contest and just decide to win it. He didn’t win it on his own either. Anthony Tolliver had another phenomenal effort off the bench with a double-double (11 and 11). Luke Ridnour was slinging passes all over the court and finished with 15 points and 14 assists. The Wolves dominated the boards in a game that saw plenty of misses (40.7% FG for Minnesota, 39.7% for Charlotte).

Watching the Bobcats, I felt sort of bad for them. They do have talent in role player form. Bismack Biyombo is awkward and yet will be a really good rebounder and defender in this league. Kemba Walker might end up being a really good third guard on a team someday. Corey Maggette can still score. DJ White and Gerald Henderson are guys every team in the NBA would love have coming off their bench.

But they don’t have any top talent right now. They don’t have anybody who can take over a game for a six-minute stretch to give the team a little breathing room. They don’t have Kevin Love. 

I feel like we were just exactly where Charlotte was not too long ago. Because of coaching decisions, a terrible roster and minutes being yanked around, the Wolves were the worst team in the league for a couple of seasons in a row. The silver lining for us was Kevin Love emerged as a future superstar and has recently fulfilled such expectations.

Charlotte doesn’t have that safety valve, or even that light at the end of the tunnel. They have failure right now and the hope that ping pong balls bounce or get sucked out of a machine in their favor so they can begin the rebuilding process. What they did have last night those is some sense of pride, which is not something you see every day in a downtrodden team bordering on the brink of historic incompetence.

Back to Love, I felt weird yesterday because I looked at his 28-11 line against the Grizzlies and thought he had a bad game. He put up 40 and 19 last night and it wasn’t even his most impressive game of the week, and I’d argue that his total effort against Denver last Sunday was even better. He’s gotten to the point in which there isn’t really a statistical output he can have that will shock me or surprise me.

If you told me he’s going to get a 30-30 against the Celtics tomorrow night, I’d probably nod my head and think, “I could see that.” If you told me he was going to have a 50-25 game or a 40-25 game or a game with eight made 3s, I wouldn’t tell you you’re being dramatic or biased. Kevin Love is incapable of fooling me right now with his fantasy numbers.

He’s just that incredible right now. Will he get named Western Conference player of the month for March with 31 and 14 averages that go with 47% from the field and 45% from 3? He probably won’t. He’ll probably lose out to Kevin Durant’s fun March. It kind of sucks that people keep forgetting about him on an individual level, but a lot of that has to do with the fact that the Wolves are still under. 500 in the standings.

Winning still matters in the NBA in order to get top recognition and Love is finding a way this year to win when undermanned. It starts with wins in Charlotte like the one last night. It may not seem like such an impressive feat, but I remember when we were in Charlotte’s position recently and the wins seemed so far away.

Zach Harper

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10 responses to Wolves 88, Bobcats 83: Been there, bro

  1. I am excited to boo Garnett tomorrow night. Saw his comments about the Wolves in the Strib – it’s amazing how he went from my favorite player to one of my most hated players, right alongside Marbury.

  2. I like what Kevin said when asked about being in the MVP discussion. He said that you can’t be there unless you win. He knows the market he is in and that indivdual stats get noticed only when you win. The only probelm I have with all the talking heads on TV is that they always say how his numbers don’t effect wins. Name another player on a losing team putting up these kinds of numbers. It just doesn’t happen. The Wolves are winning because of Kevin and if Pek was in the line up every night I bet we would be 2 or 3 games over 500 and in the 8th seed. It just seems that annalyst can’t recognize a true basketball star because he plays in MN. Look how long it took Kevin Garnett to get it and he draged bad teams to the playoffs every year. So I’m glad Love seems to get that and not hold it against MN for being a small market. ( at least I hope he doesn’t. I guess we will find out in 3 years.)

  3. Matt,

    My response: http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3300421

    Want to piss a man like KG off and have him think badly of the franchise? Challenge his integrity in public.

  4. KG actually liked playing for the Wolves (they drafted him and paid him nearly 200 million dollars)… so you can take that how you want to. But, KG is not ripping the fans, he is ripping their brass. Glen Taylor made ridiculous comments (per Zach’s article) about him and the team around KG was bad for many years.

    KG never asked out…he never complained and said, send me to a beautiful weather state or else. He played hard for the Wolves the entire time he was here and now he plays hard for the Celtics nightly. I give him credit for being loyal to franchises (unlike the majority of superstars now).

  5. Compliments to Luke Ridnour who is the Wolves 2nd best player and has been their rock this year in the back court. Without that guy, who knows where they would be. I never thought that would be the case but it is on this team.

    Kevin Love: his statistics are ridiculous. Basketball appears so easy for him. As was said via the article, he is playing against ridiculously athletic 6’10 guys…that makes things pretty difficult. Love can do everything on a basketball court and he is a pleasure to watch. They lose by 20 to the Bobcats last night with out him.

  6. “With a young core including Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes and Randy Foye, there is some optimism that better days lie ahead.”

    LOLLLLL

  7. Murph, the next sentence caps that off perfectly:

    “Which is one reason why some fans wouldn’t mind seeing the Wolves drop a few games to end up with the No. 1 pick and a possible shot at Kansas State star Michael Beasley.”

  8. pagingstanleyroberts March 29, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    I wonder if it’s a generational thing with KG, in that people who watched his entire Wolves career defend him more than those who didn’t. Personally, his comments are acceptable and I think reflect a justified problem with Taylor and (maybe) McHale. With that said, he could be grateful for being traded; even best-case-draft-scenarios Kendrick Perkins, Brandon Roy, Danny Granger, and Joakim Noah wouldn’t have been good enough to help him get a ring.

    As for last night, did anyone else find it odd that the Bobcats, down 5 with 3 timeouts and 10-plus seconds left, let the Wolves dribble out the clock? Maybe that’s not overt tanking, but it seemed like even last year’s Wolves would’ve played the foul game at least a few times.

  9. Bobcats don’t need to tank. They are the worst team already. They cannot overcome a 5 pt deficit in the last 10 plus second no matter how hard they try.

    That aside, I started follow the wolves in 99 because I heard of a young player called Kevin Garnett who was given a monster contract by his owner. Intrigued, I started watching and immediately got impressed by the play of this young man. For the first time in my life I though basketball was fun to watch. I followed each year as the wolves struggled to make the playoffs and that one year we got to the conference finals I was overjoyed. Then, with essentially the same personnel the next season, everything fell apart. Players weren’t performing and I think this is when McHale started make bad trades, way overpaying from Mike James and Marko Jaric.

    Before this, however, there had been some questionable decisions made including the Joe Smith secret contract issue, giving big contracts to role players like Trent Hassell, etc. I think Taylor, who is a very savvy business man, relied a lot on his front office to advice him on what they should do in terms of contracts and trades and I don’t think he necessarily knows that much about basketball players on other teams, he was easily persuaded to go along with the trades recommended to him. KG got tired of waiting for players that would help making a championship team. James fizzled, Jaric fizzled, Hudson was injured most of the time. Billups was young and stubborn to mention a few of them. I was sad the day KG was traded. For the first couple of years after that I though KG had lost a lot of the integrity he’d built up in sota from how he expressed himself to the press. Now I watch him again and see him as the great player he always was.

    I’m putting part of the blame on McHale for his trades (and drafts) but part of it on Taylor for always so stubbornly refusing to put up some extra money to get that last piece or pieces to surround KG with. We still see the wolves well under the cap and it will stay so for the foreseeable future because Taylor thinks it is a bad business decision to pay luxury tax. He’s being a bit selfish there as the fan base is picking up again and the target center is filling up. Take the luxury tax hit a couple years and add the pieces we need now and see where it can take us. The fans will appreciate it and keep coming and paying him the money for admission.

  10. I have been a die hard Twolves fan since they came into the league and honestly I don’t think I shook my head as hard as Weds nite in a long while when the Twolves announcers starting comparing K Love to KG as far as a career scale. Dont get me wrong. K Love is having a monster, MVP like season (my prediction is LBJ wins and K Love finishes 2nd or 3rd). But for them to even compare K Love to KG at this point in his career when he has not even led the Twolves to the playoffs (yet) to me is absolutely appalling. KG is by far and away the Twolves best player ever. No contest. Could K Love become the best player ever in franchise? Possibly. I just don’t see it happening anyime soon.
    Would I love to see KG come back to the franchise next year and help the D and lead the young guys?? Yes. Will it happen? No obviously not after those comments. Man if this team had KG next year. I could see them winning 55-60 games and making a deep playoff run with his experience. Wont happen though. Too bad Twolves mgmt disrespected him so bad. Glen Taylor- you suck

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