It was a nice night of basketball in the Twin Cities.

How often do we get to say that?

The Gophers won a game they pretty much had to win, and did it while actually scoring a few points, beating Purdue 70-67 at The Barn.

I was in attendance as the Wolves beat the Wizards, and Kevin Love scored 35 points with 11 rebounds, four assists and just one turnover.

After the game, I asked him how often the Wolves ran a play for him.

``They really don’t,’’ Love said.

He wasn’t complaining. ``I really just take what the defense gives me,’’ he said.

Which seems to be an awful lot these days.

While I was talking to Love, marveling at his production in a system that rarely intentionally features him, Wolves’ PR man Mark Rosenberg pointed out a stat of which I was previously unaware:

According to’s ratings, Love is the most efficient player in the league.

Who wouldn’t want to be atop this Top 10:

1. Love

2. Pau Gasol.

3. LeBron James

4. Amar’e Stoudemire

5. Blake Griffin

6. Dwight Howard

7. Dirk Nowitzki

8. Chris Paul

9. Kevin Durant

10. Dwyane Wade

Efficiency is the best measure for Love, too, because he shoots well, passes well and rebounds like crazy.

While O.J. Mayo has become a bench player for Memphis, Love has become the Wolves’ best player.

Of the NBA efficiency rating, Love said something like, ``That’s good stuff.’’

I wrote about it the other day, and I’ll say it again: Ignore the record, which is meaningless. The Wolves have two budding stars in Love and Michael Beasley, and that puts them light years ahead of where they were last year.

The more I’m around Beasley, the more I like him. He didn’t play Thursday because of a sprained ankle, but he cheered his teammates from behind the bench all night, and got into a fake fight with Pekovic after the final whistle, with Pekovic dragging him off the court in a headlock.

You can tell Beasley’s teammates like him, and the guy has otherworldly skills.

Give this team a true starting point guard that would allow Luke Ridnour to become a backup, get rid of Jonny Flynn, who shoves the team into reverse every time he takes the court, and this could be a competitive team next year.


I understand that Gophers fans wanted to see Trevor Mbakwe enter the game against Purdue. I understand that he's a wonderful college player.

But giving him a standing ovation for violating the terms of a restraining order and putting his career and his team in jeopardy? What's wrong with you people?


Upcoming: I"ll be on 1500espn at 2:40 Friday, and hosting Sunday Morning Sports Talk 10-noon on Sunday. I’ll also be attending Wild games on Friday and Sunday while preparing an overdue column about that confusing team in St. Paul.




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