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.
LOS ANGELES — The new format for the NBA All-Star game brought a little more defense to the first half of the annual showcase, but it didn’t do much to enliven the game. That said, the game has been better than the pre-game “entertainment.”
Midway through the second quarter, his team down 15, LeBron James decided to make it a game again and played with some energy. That included a three, and a couple impressive alley-oop finishes. The best came via Russell Westbrook.
There also was this one courtesy Kemba Walker.
Those may be the two best dunks of the first half.
LOS ANGELES – Anthony Davis often relies on his Pelicans teammates to set him up.
Tonight, he gave a nod to one of them.
Davis started the All-Star game wearing DeMarcus Cousins‘ No. 0 jersey. Cousins and Davis were both voted starters then drafted by LeBron James, but Cousins can’t play due to injury.
Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated:
Very cool gesture by Davis. He’s an excellent teammate.
The Internet got itself all in a huff on Saturday as they watched the 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend Skills Challenge. In particular, the matchup between Chicago Bulls rookie Lauri Markkanen and Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid stirred up a bit of controversy.
Specifically, folks accused Embiid of cheating.
During the passing section of the obstacle course, Embiid didn’t actually make any of his passes into the ring. He then proceeded on the next section and was neck-and-neck with Markkanen as they tried to finish out the head-to-head competition. Markkanen won, but that didn’t stop folks from saying the 76ers All-Star had circumvented the rules.
We now know that’s not true.
According to the rules (provided on the NBA media site, page 47 of the 2018 NBA All-Star Media Guide) Embiid was allowed to move onto the next section even though he hadn’t completed any of his passes. A player only has to exhaust the rack, not complete a pass. It appears rules sort of assume that if a player stands there trying to complete a pass three times they’ll fall so far behind they won’t be able to catch up.
Re-watching the video, it appears Embiid knew this rule to the game and figured if he didn’t make the first one he would quickly try to blast the next two passes off the rack so he could then move onto the next section.
Embiid even took to Twitter to head off accusations that he had cheated.
Trust. The. Process.
The saga between the New York Knicks and Joakim Noah has been ongoing for sometime, with the latest story being that there was some kind of verbal altercation between the former All-Star big man and head coach Jeff Hornacek.
Noah has not played for the team since Jan. 23, and he is now separated from the Knicks as they try to find a solution to shed him from their roster.
We now have a better idea of what kind of urgency New York has to make that move.
A report from the New York Daily News has given us more information about the confrontation between Noah and Hornacek. The latest addition to the story is that it was not just words between the Knicks coach and Noah, and that Hornacek actually pushed Noah first during the confrontation.
The two then had to be separated.
Noah was banished from the Knicks after an altercation with coach Jeff Hornacek during a practice last month. The disagreement stemmed from Noah’s lack of playing time, and it turned physical the day after he logged only five minutes against the Warriors.
While no punches were thrown, the Daily News learned that Hornacek was the first to shove Noah before they had to be separated.
In our last update on this story, Dan outlined how that could be made possible. No team is going to trade for Noah at this juncture in his career, so the only real option for New York is to waive him.
Here’s how that looks, according to our own Dan Feldman:
If the Knicks waive Noah without a buyout, they’d have two options after paying out the rest of his $17,765,000 salary this season:
Pay Noah $18,530,000 next season and $19,295,000 the following season
Pay Noah $7,565,000 each of the following five years via the stretch provision
It just keeps getting weirder and weirder during a lost season in the Big Apple.