Love takes issue with stat-padding accusations

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 26, 2011 - 1:17 AM

Kevin Love says he's not getting double-doubles just for the sake of extending his streak.

Kevin Love battled New Orleans' Carl Landry for a rebound Friday night at Target Center.

Photo: Jim Mone, Associated Press

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Before the Timberwolves played host to Memphis on Wednesday night, Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph and center Marc Gasol had a message for Kevin Love.

"They came up to me and said, 'We're going to make sure you don't get it this game,' " Love recalled. "So it added a little more incentive to go out there and get it."

It, of course, is the double-double. And those two weren't the first ones to challenge Love, who has sensed more and more often that teams are trying to end the streak.

Love needed a rebound late in Wednesday's game to extend his double-double streak to 44 consecutive games, the longest in the NBA since Moses Malone had 44 in a row for Philadelphia in 1982-83.

Love extended the streak to 45 with about 9 1/2 minutes to go in Friday night's 95-81 loss to New Orleans -- the second-longest streak in the league since the NBA-ABA merger in 1976. Malone had a 51-game streak with Houston that ran from the 1978-79 season into the 1979-80 season.

There is no question the streak has taken on a life of its own. Love said after the Memphis game, and again before Friday's game, that he wouldn't mind if it ended.

Not everyone believes such statements. Some critics have suggested the Love wants the streak to continue, even if he has to get some extra points or rebounds late in games that are already decided.

Love took issue with this. "That's their opinion," he said Friday. "They're not me. I said this all along that I kind of wish that it would end. At the same time, it is a good thing going for me. I do have goals in this league that I want to achieve. I'm just going out there and playing hard, and whatever happens happens."

Love admitted he did know his rebounding total late in the Memphis game. But one gets the impression he wanted to keep the streak going Wednesday because Randolph and Gasol had sworn to try to stop it.

That's nothing new. Love said over the past nine or 10 games, opponents have taken to tapping balls out rather than trying to fight Love for the rebound.

"It's something that is there. It's lingering," he said. "But not enough to affect my game in a large way. ... My coaches aren't talking about it, my teammates aren't talking about it. I'm not looking at the scoreboard to see what I have. I'm just going out and playing and letting the game take care of itself."

Flynn returns

After letting his sore hip and groin rest for a week and a half, point guard Jonny Flynn returned to action Friday.

After Flynn struggled vs. Portland on Feb. 14, the decision was made to hold him out of the final game before the All-Star break, let him rest through the break and then miss the first two games after the break.

Flynn was not available before Friday's game, but coach Kurt Rambis said Flynn, trying to get back to 100 percent after offseason hip surgery, has looked very good in practice of late. Flynn played 15 scoreless minutes against the Hornets, going 0-for-3 from the floor.

Rambis compared Flynn's road back to that of Al Jefferson's following knee surgery. "All [last season] we felt he never regained his pop, his explosiveness," Rambis said of Jefferson. "Jonny is slowly regaining that. He's closer to looking more normal."

Etc.

• The officials Friday were Ken Mauer, Brent Barnaky and David Jones. The last time this crew was at Target Center, it was Jan. 11, when Mauer, a St. Paul native, called five technicals on the Wolves in 10 seconds, including two on Rambis, turning a six-point San Antonio lead into an 11-point lead. Friday, Rambis was talking with the media when the officials walked by. Rambis said hello, then turned back to reporters: "Don't even ask," he said. "And I'm not referring to anything."

• Martell Webster's back kept him on the bench again, and Wayne Ellington was out of town tending to a personal matter. That left the Wolves short at shooting guard.

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