AUBURN HILLS, MI. -- Kevin Love will return to action tonight when the Wolves play the Pistons here at the Palace tonight. But his mind is still back home.
Love and the Wolves were in Mexico City last Wednesday, getting ready for a game against the San Antonio Spurs that never happened, when word came that his maternal grandmother, Carol Lee Craig, had died.
Love left for Oregon shortly after the Wolves returned to Minnesota, where he remained until returning to the team this week. But, he said, real closure hasn’t happened yet. Craig grew up next door to Love and helped raise him.
“She was there the day I was born,” Love said. “She lived right next to me my whole life. It was a little weird going home and not seeing her.”
Craig, who was 83, had planned on traveling to Minnesota over Thanksgiving to watch Love play, but had to stay home because of health issues.
“We’re all getting together, as a family, after the Clippers game,” Love said of the Wolves game in Los Angeles Dec. 22, just before Christmas. “Because my whole family is from Southern California, except for my immediate family. So I’ll see everyone then.’’
--On a brighter note, tonight’s game will revive a long-standing but good-natured rivalry for Love when he plays against Kyle Singler for the first time. The two, both standout basketball players in Oregon, first met Singler in elementary school.
“I was from the northern part of Oregon, Portland, and he was from South Medford,” Love said. “So I remember seeing him for the first time and I said, ‘Oh, oh we’ve got a problem.’ ‘’
Well, yes and no. The two grew playing with each other on elite teams; the two were teammates on the Legends AAU team.
In 2006 Love’s Lake Oswego High School team beat Singler's ’s South Medford team for the Oregon State high school championship 59-57. Love had 24 points and nine rebounds in that game. A year later, in 2007, South Medford returned the favor, beating Love’s Lake Oswego team 58-54.
Love went to UCLA, played there one year – reaching the Final Four -- then entered the NBA draft. Singler went to Duke and was a four-year starter. He was named the NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player in 2010, when he led Duke to its fourth national title. Drafted in the second round of the 2011 draft, Singler played one year in Europe before joining the Pistons last season.
--That’s about it for now. I’ll get back to you before the game.