The last time Kevin Love didn’t register a double-double? You were still dreaming about Thanksgiving dinner. It was Nov. 19 of last year.
But as part of an anemic Timberwolves offensive performance against Golden State, Love ended up with just 6 points on 1-of-6 shooting and his double-double streak ended at 53. The Warriors David Lee deserves some of the credit/blame for the end of the streak, but mostly it was just Love having a night where his shot did not fall.
That’s still the longest double-double streak since the NBA/ABA merger. It’s a staggering number. It’s an accomplishment to be celebrated.
Love averaged 21.8 points and 16.3 rebounds during the stretch and had three games of at least 30 points and 20 rebounds (according to ESPN research). Love remains the best rebounder in the league this season pulling down 23.8 percent of the available rebounds when he is on the floor. (Marcus Camby and Reggie Evans have higher percentages but both have missed numerous games due to injury.)
After the game Love tweeted:
“All good things come to an end, I appreciate everyone sending their love regarding the streak.
But with that said…why not start another one on Wednesday?”
Kevin Love has made double-doubles automatic. He’s taken the drama out of getting them.
So he added a little drama himself Wednesday by almost not playing due to a sore knee (he banged knees with an opponent last game and it swelled up), then playing with a balky brace on it.
He got his record 52nd consecutive double-double fast (in the middle of the second quarter with a free throw) as his Timberwolves were blowing out the Indiana Pacers. That moved him past Moses Malone into first on the modern list, since the NBA/ABA merger.
According to the Associated Press Love became the ninth player to ever (pre- or post-merger) to have 50 or more double-doubles in a row. The others are Malone, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Elgin Baylor, Walt Bellamy, Wilt Chamberlain, Elvin Hayes, Jerry Lucas and Bill Russell. Chamberlain holds the all-time record of 224.
That’s not to diminish Love’s accomplishments. He has been consistent and worked hard on a team that needed this kind of production. He has had chances because the Wolves are so bad — they are now 12-40 during the streak — but he took advantage of it.
Make no mistake — Kevin Love’s streak of 51 consecutive double-doubles is impressive. It shows not only desire and some skills, it shows a guy bringing it every night. In today’s NBA that is something that deserves some recognition.
But the streak has not led to wins. The Timberwolves are 11-40 in those 51 games, 2-8 in their last 10 including a loss to Dallas Monday night.
Without a result, the double-double streak is just numbers. Impressive numbers, but a little bit hollow. Kevin Love gets that, as he told the Star Tribune after the game.
“I would be jumping for joy and ecstatic right now if we were winning and everybody was playing great, including myself,” a dejected Love said after the Mavericks’ 108-105 victory. “The streak is kind of an afterthought because we didn’t win the game.”
And here’s Love on the crowd giving him a standing ovation for the feat:
“That was one of those moments where you pinch yourself to see if it’s real,” Love said. “It felt great to see the crowd on their feet like that. I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like in here when we start winning and turn the corner.”
Those quotes give me hope for the future of Kevin Love. He brings a mature game and he brings it every night (or he wouldn’t have that record). But he wants to win more, and that speaks to the fact some day he’s going to be on a team where that happens.