Wolves notes: Love had better stats, but Griffin gets honor
- Article by: Kent Youngblood
- Star Tribune
- March 6, 2014 - 5:08 AM
Despite huge numbers, Timberwolves forward Kevin Love was not named the NBA’s Western Conference player of the month for February.
That award went to Clippers forward Blake Griffin, who averaged 30.0 points and 10.7 rebounds in 11 February games.
Love, who won player of the week honors Monday, finished the month of February averaging 34.0 points and 14.1 rebounds and three made three-pointers per game. Nobody in the league averaged more points or rebounds, and Love became the first NBA player since Moses Malone in 1982 to average 34 points and 14 rebounds in a month.
At one point during the month Love had six consecutive games with 30 or more points.
But it turns out the most important number the league considered was victories. Griffin’s Clippers went 7-4 in February. The Wolves, despite their strong finish to the month, were 5-6 in 11 February games.
But that doesn’t diminish the way Love played during a time when the Wolves were without center Nikola Pekovic and guard Kevin Martin for a long stretch because of injuries.
“More than anything it was opportunity,” Love said Wednesday morning. “A lot of guys have stepped it up, not just myself. The fact that Pek and K-Mart were out, I had to do all I could just to keep us kind of in the fight. So, yeah, I had a good February. I fought as hard as I could.”
That is a fact not lost on his teammates.
“He makes my job so easy,” point guard Ricky Rubio said. “I never thought a player could play as good as he is doing and control everything. Not just scoring and rebounding, but assisting and defending much better.”
Here is further proof of just how odd the Wolves’ 132-128 victory at Denver on Monday was:
The Nuggets hit four three-pointers in the final 23.4 seconds of the game. According to StatsCube — a feature of NBA.com — it is only the seventh time since the 1996-97 season that a team has hit four three-pointers in the final minute of a regulation game.
The most famous, of course, is the night Tracy McGrady scored 13 points in 33 seconds — four three-pointers and a free throw that completed a four-point play — for Houston in an 81-80 victory over San Antonio on Dec. 9, 2004.
The others? Atlanta at Houston, Feb. 12, 2003 (four in the final 39 seconds); Sacramento at Portland, Feb. 5, 2005 (four in 56 seconds); the Los Angeles Lakers at New York, Feb. 28, 2005 (four in 45 seconds); Utah at Miami, Nov. 9, 2010 (four in 28.7 seconds); and Houston at Phoenix, March 9, 2013 (four in 32.3 seconds).
Only two of those five teams accomplishing the feat won the game.
• Rookie Shabazz Muhammad was engulfed in media after Wednesday’s morning shoot-around. Among his comments? “I’ve been playing and we’ve been winning, so that is something that is great,” he said. “I think all of us have a part in that. I’m just here and I want to win and make the playoffs. We’re making a pretty good run here.”
• Rubio on the team’s success on the recently concluded road trip: “We just worry about [the] next game,” he said. “And that’s what we have been doing the last couple weeks. Maybe in the beginning of the season we’re looking too much to the future, and we weren’t focusing on what’s next.”
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