Archives For NBA All Star

Kevin Love on ESPN Radio

Steve McPherson —  February 14, 2014 — 1 Comment


Kevin Love sat down with ESPN Radio to talk a bit about his experience of being voted in by the fans, Minnesota’s struggles, the rumors swirling about his future, and who’s manning the phones at Love Dial these days. Listen to the interview here, transcription below. Continue Reading…

12-year-old me and present-day me probably would not agree on all that much. He desperately loved Cinnamon Toast Crunch and the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue and wearing extremely puffy pants with your best silk print shirt, whereas I do not. And I might not have been able to convince him of the benefits of getting massively stoned and listening to King Tubby. On the other hand, we would certainly agree on one simple fact: dunks are awesome.  He was partial to MJ’s pivoting, hand-on-the-floor throwdown over Patrick Ewing, while I might counter with Blake Griffin’s spinning, open-floor crushing of Danilo Gallinari. But on the basics, we would agree.

Given that knowledge, what exactly is wrong with the dunk contest? We might as well expand the question and ask ourselves what, for a basketball lover, felt so desultory about all of All-Star Saturday night. Because their bodies are so sleek and coordinated and powerful and because they have such mastery of the skills inherent to the game, when they play against air, their actions appear so effortless as to be pretty much vacuumed of all drama. Without competition, there’s no struggle; without a struggle to magnify and draw out the full measure of those incredible skills, there’s nothing to see. Even the three-point contest–which I normally find pretty engrossing simply for the rhythmic, hypnotic sight of the ball going through the net over and over–underwhelmed. Kevin Love is a fine shooter and all, and I’m crazy about the guy as a player, but the fact that he won tells you all that you need to know about the quality of this year’s competition.

And although its certainly impressive to know that Chase Budinger can jump over a famous hip-hop producer or that Jeremy Evans can dunk two balls at once, that same purposelessness applies to the dunk contest. The best dunks emerge suddenly, out of ordinary time, injecting very small moments with a revitalizing shock, a vibration that expands and extends those moments in our consciousness. The dunk contest lacks both the oppositional force (Jordan shredding that double-team, Ewing rising to contest) and the suddenness of of those great in-game dunks. We know exactly what to expect and the dunks themselves–black lights and glow-in-the-dark strips and motorcycles and capes and head-mounted video cameras and cupcakes notwithstanding–do very little to exceed those expectations.

So what could we do to fix this? Well, we could try getting Kenny Smith to ask a thorzine-mouthed, wasted-on-himself P. Diddy about his new projects. We could get Kevin Hart to dress up like a mailman. We could thrill the nation with a Cedric Ceballos cameo. We could get Flo-Rida to karaoke their second-best song. We could ask Big Shaq and Chuck and Reggie to convene an on-mic, cigar aficionado frat party. Oh I know, since the problem with previous dunk-contests was clearly that they were improperly judged, we could just start our own little social media revolution and allow the 99% (over three million people, we’re told, chiming in via text or the Twitter) to vote for the winner…aaaaand those three million people could promptly select the gangly
Evans who, if you ask me, was no better than third out of four. (The two best dunks of the night–again, if you’re asking me–were Paul George’s Larry Bird tribute and Derrick Williams’ 360 off the side of the backboard, if for no other reason than the fact that Ricky Rubio was giggling throughout the entire thing.)

We could try all of those things and the sparse crowd could still greet the proceedings with an email-checking, hot dog-eating non-enthusiasm punctuated by a smattering of lukewarm applause and even the occasional boo (for Evans’ first, decidedly unimpressive dunk). What was merely boring could now become overstimulating and occasionally cringe-inducing. I’m left now with the same feeling that always seems to descend on me during the aimless spectacularity of All-Star weekend: the desire to watch an actual NBA game.

Puppy Breath and… Nutmeg?

Zach Harper —  February 25, 2012 — 2 Comments

In last night’s Rising Stars game, Ricky Rubio put on a passing display that had the internets a blazing.

He also went 5-hole against DeMarcus Cousins before finding Blake Griffin on the alley-oop.

Big ups to Derrick Williams for not trying to Greg Monroe the end of this play.

There was also this pass to a running and traveling Markieff Morris:

He caught Evan Turner looking too.

Overall, it was a pretty decent night of “basketball” in terms of highlights. John Wall’s dunks were ridiculous and Kyrie Irving somehow shot 130% on 3-point attempts. D Dub in the dunk contest tonight!

From Marc Spears, Derrick Williams will join Chase Budinger, Paul George and Iman Shumpert in the dunk contest on February 25th.

Maybe he can bring Derrick Brown D.J. White out as a prop?

According to sources of Marc Spears from Yahoo! Sports, Kevin Love will be named an All-Star reserve for the second time in his career.

Obviously, this isn’t official at all but Marc is a pretty darn good reporter and it’s pretty obvious that Love deserves to be on the West squad this season.

Get excited, Pups fans!

Update: This is now official. From the Wolves:

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love has been named to the 2012 Western Conference All-Star team, the National Basketball Association announced today…The honor is the second of Love’s career as he made his first appearance in last year’s game. Love is the second player in franchise history to make more than one All-Star Game appearance, joining Kevin Garnett (10 appearances). Tom Gugliotta, Wally Szczerbiak and Sam Cassell all made one appearance as a Timberwolves player. Love recorded two points and four rebounds in 12 minutes during the 2011 NBA All-Star Game at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.

And here’s a rundown of the reserves for both conferences.

Photo by Andre Maraux

The All-Star Game was made for Kobe Bryant. Playoff and regular-season NBA play brings with it certain constraints: defenses of post-millennial complexity; structured, ball-movement oriented offenses; the good taste and common sense prohibitions against shooting every time one touches the ball. But in the All-Star context, Kobe’s miraculous skills can run wild and free, can exist in their purest form. Nobody, not even Michael Jordan, KB’s stylistic forefather, has ever manipulated the high post so gracefully; nobody could ever make a missed fadeaway three look quite so beautiful. And in the All-Star Game, if it looks awesome, it is awesome. Without the regular season’s restrictive communitarian morality, Kobe is free to perform his sublime dance.

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The Denver Nuggets have been an impressive collection of talent for quite some time. Carmelo Anthony remains one of the league’s premier scorers, Nene’s reliability is criminally underrated and J.R. Smith-the very personification of this volatile unit-is dynamite in sneakers; wildly unstable, yet effectively explosive. Unfortunately, the same carefree demeanor that’s allowed them to fill up stats sheets and highlight reels has continued to define them in moments that demanded far more poise. Plainly put, they’ve never been considered a contender because they’ve never been able to get out of their own way. So it was particularly amusing to see them move at such a deliberately slow pace as they set about picking the Wolves apart.

Despite the visitors obvious intentions, our boys proceeded with business as usual to predictably varying results. Postgame, Kurt Rambis was asked to comment on his unit’s 8 scant turnovers, yet neither coach nor scribe acknowledged that such supposed ball control was actually due to unconscionably poor shooting: the Wolves attempted 95 field goals and made just 39% of them.  This however, didn’t keep us from witnessing an entertaining affair in which both teams tried to wrestle victory out of their own hands. The Wolves gave the game away early, the Nuggets tried to give it back, but we-being such gracious hosts-refused to take it.

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Maybe this will help lift Ben’s spirits? Justice has been served and Kevin Love is officially an All Star.

Der Komissar delivered the good news before last night’s tilt versus the Raptors and the STrib’s Jerry Zgoda was kind enough to spread the word:

Rambis stopped Martin from starting his scouting report and told everyone that Love will play in the Feb. 20 game at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

“He put out his hand and I thought he was messing with me,” Love said while sitting at his locker after Friday’s game.

“I was so shocked. I blacked out for a second ’cause I didn’t know what was going on. When he said that, I was sitting right here, I just like ‘What are you talking about? Is Ashton Kutcher about to hop up in here?’ I had no idea.”

Love is the first Timberwolves player named to the All-Star Game since Kevin Garnett made the 2007 game in Las Vegas.

The Wolves immediately bought advertising space on electronic billboards around Target Center and Block E. Messages congratulating Love flashed over First Avenue Friday evening and will continue through Sunday.

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Well the Western Conference coaches have made up their minds about the All-Star reserves. You can check them out here. One thing you might notice is that Kevin Love is not among those listed. I know that just this morning I prepared us all for this eventuality, and it was certainly gratifying to hear Charles and EJ and Kenny and C-Webb express outrage in their boozily solipsistic, Gentlemen’s-Club-for-bros-y way (and even more gratifying to here the Round Mound refer to himself as a “big black grizzly bear”), but I’m surprised to notice that it still burns me up a little.

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It was just another Tuesday night in Los Angeles. The Lakers and Rockets were engaged in a mildly entertaining matchup and we were all probably searching for something better to watch while they delayed the inevitable. But those who couldn’t find the remote were treated to a noteworthy showing from Lamar Odom.

As it has for quite some time, Odom’s game defied definition. His elongated frame swept through the lane with a preternatural grace, each step too casual to have been calculated. On the defensive end, opponents were denied and rebounds were snatched with an aggression that belied such finesse, each board leading to a magnificent whirlwind of versatility. He conducted fast breaks, dished with a captivating flair, calmly pulled up in transition, and spotted up expertly from three. Of course this wasn’t anything we haven’t seen from him before, just more of it. Kobe Bryant’s theatrics may have dominated the nightly recaps, but the W was primarily thanks to Lamar’s 20 points and 20 rebounds.

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