Kevin Love knows he's getting a raw deal in Minnesota

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love.jpgKevin Love is one of the most promising young big men in the league. Kurt Rambis and the Timberwolves organization seem to know it, as they’ve cleared Al Jefferson out of the way to give Love more room to stretch his legs. At the same time, the Wolves have loaded up on forwards this off-season, many of whom will likely log minutes at the 4.

Maybe the Timberwolves really have seen the light, and realized that if the triangle offense is in Minnesota to stay, Kevin Love is godsend. A sweet-passing big that hits the glass harder than just about anyone in the league? With a decent post game and a nice face-up jumper? That should be the type of player any coach running the triangle kills for. Yet Love’s 28.6 minutes per game last year exemplifies the lack of appreciation for his game his game in Minnesota. The Wolves were the worst team in the NBA last season, and they couldn’t find the time to play Love, one of their top players and a truly elite rebounder, starter’s minutes.

It’s obvious that something isn’t right in Minny. You know it, I know it, and Kevin Love knows it. From John Schuhmann of NBA.com:

Love was asked Tuesday if he felt more appreciated with the U.S. Team than with the Timberwolves.

“Yes,” he responded. “Just a solid yes.”

But he was quick to clarify.

“I
don’t want to come off sounding like a prima donna or sound like I’m
complaining or anything,” Love said. “I just feel like, since I’ve been
here, it’s really been a great team atmosphere. We feel like we have a
chance to win this whole thing. I think everybody is just coming in
with a great attitude and appreciating everybody as a whole, and really
becoming a family.

“I’m just saying in a 15-win season, last year
with the Timberwolves, a lot of stuff happened…a lot of new
players…we had blown up that team. Heading into this year, we need to
just start becoming a family, kind of like it is here, and integrate
that family atmosphere into the Timberwolves.”

It’s about respect and appreciation, but beyond that, it’s just about Minnesota getting better. Love should be a focal point of this Timberwolves team, not an afterthought, and here’s to hoping that Rambis and co. figure that out for the season to come.

Watch Lonzo Ball’s 29 point, 11 rebound, 9 assist game Friday night

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This was more of what fans expected from Lonzo Ball.

After a rough first game against the Clippers — with Patrick Beverley in his face all night — Ball found plenty of room to operate against the soft defense of the Phoenix Suns. With room to operate Ball had 29 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists — just one assist short of a triple-double. He helped the Lakers pull away to a lead in the third then hold on for a 132-130 win over the Suns.

Ball wasn’t terribly efficient, 12-of-27 shooting, but he was 4-of-9 from three, he played with great pace, he was decisive, and was finding guys with his passes. It was a step forward, even if it was against a sad defense (Eric Bledsoe can be a good defender, but he has seemed disinterested in recent years).

Ball and the Lakers are going to be up and down this season, the goal is for there to be more ups near the end of the season.

LeBron James rejects Giannis Antetokounmpo at the rim

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Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.

But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.

He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.

LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.

Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?

Hawks’ DeAndre’ Bembry out with fractured wrist

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In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.

But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.

Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.

“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”

 

Danny Ainge says Celtics will apply for Disabled Player Exception

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It’s not likely Gordon Hayward returns this season. His agent said as much, although a return in March is not out of the question. (It’s better PR wise for the Celtics to say he is out for the season, then if he returns early great, it’s better than setting a deadline he doesn’t meet.)

With that, the Celtics are going to apply for the Disabled Player Exception, which could help them land a replacement player, Danny Ainge told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Globe on Friday the club is applying for the Disabled Player Exception, which would provide the Celtics $8.4 million to pursue a player to fill Hayward’s roster spot.

“We’re in the process of doing that,’’ Ainge said. “We have a while to do that. There’s no urgency, but we will apply for that.”

There are limits to what that money can get the Celtics. The money is the same as the mid-level exception, the Celtics can go over the cap to use it, and the player can be obtained via free agency or trade. However, the player must be in the last year of his contract.

It gives the Celtics options. It also does not mean Hayward cannot return, it only means NBA-approved doctors determined he is not likely to return before a mid-June deadline.