Well, hey, it was probably too much to ask for the youngster to keep it up. Two days after making himself a part of NBA history with 31 points and 31 rebounds, Kevin Love came crashing back to Earth for the Minnesota Timberwolves, only scoring 22 points and 17 rebounds in a 111-105 loss to the Hawks Saturday.
Love accounted for 44% of the Wolves’ total rebounds, and played 40 minutes. So it’s possible that the tyranny of Kurt Rambis towards the youngster is over. Love’s not a good defender, he really isn’t, but his production simply demands that he get floor time. Michael Beasley added 25 points on 10 of 16 shooting. In fact, there was really only one weak point on the team’s starters: Darko Milicic.
And boy was he bad. 2 points on 1-7 shooting, with 2 assists, 2 rebounds, and 3 blocks with 2 turnovers in 20 minutes, and it was every bit as underwhelming as it sounds. Al Horford, most often matched up with Milicic, went off again for the Hawks with 28 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 blocks. Darko is supposed to be the defensive stalwart on this team, and he was the only starter with a negative +/- worse than -1 (Wes Johnson was just under the line).
Love, though, continues to simply battle for every loose ball, today matched with Josh Smith (who only had 10 rebounds, pssh). Sure, sometimes he yanks one from a teammate, but at this rate, Love’s on track not just to earn his minutes, but to earn minutes as an All-Star.
John Beilein gave the Cavaliers problems mentally.
Did he also give them problems physically – especially Dylan Windler, who’s missing his entire rookie year?
Shams Charania, Jason Lloyd and Joe Vardon of The Athletic:
Warning signs for Beilein could be traced to the Cavs’ Summer League schedule, when the rookie coach ran a collection of (mostly) G Leaguers and non-roster invites through extended practices, multiple times a day. This is precisely what Beilein would have done at Michigan, especially with an entirely new batch of players, this early in a season calendar. But players not only complained about the work, they also were drilled in games by opponents who were clearly well-rested. And this was in Summer League.
There was at least one player, though, involved in those early summer workouts under Beilein who was expecting to make a major contribution to the Cavs this season. Rookie Dylan Windler, a late first rounder, was supposed to compete with Cedi Osman for minutes on the wing. But he never played a game this season because of a stress injury in his left leg — which could be traced back at least in part to being overworked during the summer.
Would Windler have missed the season under a different coach? It’s impossible to say. Counterfactuals are complex.
But there was legitimate reason to be concerned with Beilein’s approach. Teams have learned the importance of rest. Fatigued players are more susceptible to injury.
Beilein’s longest college season was 41 games. He coached 54 games in Cleveland – and left with much of the season remaining.
Handling the grind of the NBA season was always going to be an adjustment for the long-time college coach. It probably got understated amid concern about him relating interpersonally to his players.
The Cavaliers needed practice time. They needed work to develop. That’s clearly what Beilein prioritized.
But they also needed to limit the physical toll, and it’s reasonable to question whether Beilein did enough there. Even if he was learning that the NBA is more marathon than sprint, the several months Beilein coaches the Cavs were enough to cause issues.
Chase Buford, who coaches the Bucks’ minor-league affiliate, went on an epic rant after the Wisconsin Herd’s latest loss. He singled out referee Matt Rafferty as a “f—ing clown” and said the officials were “bad and biased and unfair and illegal and cheating.”
Ryan Rodig of WFRV-TV:
G League release:
Wisconsin Herd head coach Chase Buford has been suspended for two games without pay for a direct and extended public attack on the integrity and credibility of the game officials.
I can’t recall an NBA coach ever getting suspended for something he said during a press conference.
I also can’t recall an NBA coach ever saying something so inflammatory during a press conference.
In 2005, then-NBA commissioner David Stern threatened to ban Jeff Van Gundy from the NBA after the then-Rockets coach criticized officiating. That incident still led to just a $100,000 fine. Twice as large as any previous fine for a coach. But still just a fine, nonetheless.
The public memorial for Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant featured several unforgettable moments, including:
But I can’t overstate how well done the entire event was, how heartfelt the speakers and performers were. If you missed it yesterday and are in the right headspace, it’s worth watching to get a more complete understanding of Kobe and Gianna.
Joel Embiid scored 49 points in the 76ers’ win over the Hawks yesterday.
It appeared he was gunning for 50.
With Philadelphia up 14 in the final minute, Embiid dunked. Then, he hit an off-the-dribble 3-pointer. After grabbing a rebound on the other end, Embiid brought the ball up court himself – with the shot clock on.
Atlanta guard Kevin Huerter raced from behind and stole the ball. Embiid gave him the finger.
Embiid, via Paul Hudrick of NBC Sports Philadelphia:
There’s always this thing about you shouldn’t shoot the ball if you’re up 20 or something like that. And I feel like it should go both ways. I’m running the clock down and I feel like the game is over. That’s why I’m doing it. But to me, if the other team is gonna keep playing defense, and they’re gonna keep shooting the ball at the other end, I feel like we should just be like, ‘Well, be better next time,’ and just go out and score.
How dare Huerter play basketball. During a basketball game.
Embiid had just been attacking for multiple possessions! He was dribbling toward the Hawks’ basket with urgency! How was Huerter supposed to know that was the suddenly the moment Embiid was done playing?