Kevin Love

In case you missed it, Kevin Love is in Beast Mode

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Last night against the Bobcats, Kevin Love dropped 40 points and grabbed 19 rebounds.

A good night by anyone’s standards, but for Love that was just his third highest total this month. Those kinds of numbers are almost becoming routine — he’s had nine straight double-doubles and had more than 20 points in 14 of his last 15 games.

The arguments made last year by some that “he is just putting up good numbers because his team is so bad” look foolish now. The Wolves added Nikola Pekovic to the front line — a powerful rebounder — and Love is still pulling them down at eye-popping numbers. (That argument always was a bit foolish because opposing teams could focus on him before, now they have someone else to occupy them as well.)

Since the All-Star Game the Timberwolves forward has been tearing up the league. He is in full beast mode. We need to appreciate what is going on here.

In his last 10 games he is averaging 30.5 points and 14.3 rebounds per game. Averaging. He is shooting 45.5 percent from three during that stretch. He is getting four offensive rebounds a contest.

Love’s offense comes from a variety of ways — 22 percent of his opportunities come with him in the post, but he is scoring well as a spot up guy at the arc (he is shooting 38.6 percent in that mold) or as the big in the pick-and-roll this season (he misses Ricky Rubio there). Not to mention all those offensive rebounds. (Stats via MySynergySports.com.)

Love’s name has even started to pop up in some MVP conversations, although he told the Washington Post he’s not buying into that.

As for all of the MVP talk, Love said, “In some ways it’s warranted, but we need to win a lot more games in order to be anywhere close to that.”

He’s right, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t appreciate what is going on here. Love is on an epic tear. It’s easy to forget about the Timberwolves, but we should be watching. He is something special.

DeMarcus Cousins says Mavericks’ rumored interest flatters him, but he loves Kings

Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) receives a blow to the head from Dallas Mavericks' Dwight Powell as Cousins works to get to the basket in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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The Mavericks’ long-rumored interest in DeMarcus Cousins took its most direct public turn before the season, when Dallas signed Cousins’ brother, Jaleel Cousins. Jaleel is now on the Mavericks’ D-League affiliate, and I bet he will remain there as DeMarcus approaches 2018 free agency.

Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News:

So, DeMarcus Cousins, what do you think about the Mavericks’ long-rumored interest in acquiring you?

“It’s flattering,” Cousins told me, with a laugh, after the Kings’ Wednesday shootaround at AAC. Then, turning serious, he added of the Mavericks, “I respect them.”

“But,” I said, “I’ve also heard that you like it in Sacramento.”

“No,” Cousins corrected, “I love Sacramento.”

Cousins is getting good at this, toeing the line between appreciating another team’s interest and expressing his satisfaction with the Kings.

And give Cousins credit. He keeps producing at a star level for a team that hasn’t provided him with the proper support. Sacramento again appears headed toward the lottery, even as Cousins averages 29-10.

Questions remain, though: How much of Cousins’ attitude is him trying to make the best of an inescapable situation, and will expanded options in the summer of 2018 test his loyalty?

LeBron James dunks, struts past camerapeople and toward crowd, spooks fan (video)

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LeBron James is dominating, and the Cavaliers are rolling over the Knicks.

It’s almost as if something has LeBron particularly riled up. But maybe ease up a little? That cowering fan isn’t Phil Jackson.

Kevin Love drips snot all over his face, maybe into his mouth (video)

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Cameras zoomed in on Kevin Love at the wrong moment:

Need a sensory cleanser? Enjoy this fantastic outlet pass from Kevin Love to LeBron James:

Derrick Rose out for Knicks-Cavaliers with back injury, getting MRI

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 22:  Derrick Rose #25 of the New York Knicks dribbles against the Portland Trail Blazers during their game at Madison Square Garden on November 22, 2016 in New York City.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK (AP) — Derrick Rose is missing the New York Knicks’ game against Cleveland because of lower back pain.

Rose left the Knicks’ victory over Miami on Tuesday in the third quarter with back spasms. Coach Jeff Hornacek says Rose still felt sore on Wednesday when he came in and met with team doctors, so they sent him for an MRI exam to make sure there was no structural damage.

Rose is averaging 16.7 points and this is the first game he’s missed this season.

Brandon Jennings will start in Rose’s place.