HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — TNT’s Charles Barkley crowned him weeks ago.
Kevin Love said he doesn’t take the floor with anything else on his mind.
And with performance after performance, the Minnesota Timberwolves’ All-Star makes his case for being the “best power forward in the game.”
His monster performance against Blake Griffin and the Los Angeles Clippers last night should serve as the latest piece of evidence in his case for top honors. Love dropped 38 points and 17 boards on the Clippers — and for the record, Love is 3-0 against Griffin and the Clippers this season. Dating back to last season, he’s averaging 21.0 points and 12.9 rebounds in seven (4-3) head-to-head matchups against Griffin, who promises to be one of his rivals for top power forward honors in the years to come.
Love’s not just piling up fantastic numbers on a bad team anymore either. The Timberwolves are winners of two straight games, are 7-3 in their last 10 games, 20-19 overall and knocking on the door for that last playing spot in the Western Conference, they’re just a game and a half behind the Rockets for the eighth spot this morning.
Love became the first player in NBA history to record 35 points, 10 rebounds and hit five three-pointers in consecutive games, per Elias Sports. He’s also treating Timberwolves fans to a front row seat to, as Kent Youngblood of the Star Tribune put it, the “evolution of a higher power” (forward):
In the continuing sage of Love’s ever-expanding game, we’re seeing another step — consistent crunch-time production, putting the team on his shoulders and bulling his way to victories. In a relentlessly physical game against a Clippers team that never quit, Love opened the game with 16 first-quarter points, then ended it with nine in the fourth quarter, including six of the Wolves’ final seven. The last two came on a drive into the lane with 43.4 seconds left that gave the Wolves a 95-90 lead.
…The Wolves were without starting center Nikola Pekovic (sore right foot), but Darko Milicic stepped in with 13 points and good defense on Griffin, who still scored 26. [Luke] Ridnour had 12 points and Williams had 15 off the bench. [Ricky] Rubio had just four and struggled shooting, but his play helped the Wolves break open a tie game with a third-quarter run that gave them a 10-point lead entering the fourth.
The team needed every one of those 10, as well as every point from Love, who didn’t flinch.
“It’s really cool to see him get better and better,” Ridnour said of Love.
Said Rubio: “Unbelievable. I mean, he’s playing amazing.”
Amazing is right!