Love aims to reign over Rubio in Spain

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 17, 2012 - 12:45 AM

Kevin Love on Monday was named one of 20 finalists for a U.S. Olympic team that will play in London next summer.

Kevin Love (42) passed the ball to Ricky Rubio in the fourth quarter in the Wolves' 99-86 victory over Sacramento on Monday night.

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

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That budding relationship between Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love continues to bloom: The two already have a July dinner date scheduled in romantic Barcelona.

Love on Monday was named one of 20 finalists for a U.S. Olympic team that will play in London next summer. Only 12 ultimately will be chosen. If Love makes the cut, he will play a friendly game against Spain in Barcelona just before the Olympics.

"He's buying, that's home court for him," Love said. "I told him how, if he takes it to the hole, I'm going to knock him on his butt. Hopefully, I'll be on the team."

Love -- a member of the 2010 U.S. World Championship team -- joins Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Dwight Howard, Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul and 12 others invited to start training on July 6. He will compete against the likes of Blake Griffin, Tyson Chandler, LaMarcus Aldridge, Chris Bosh and Lamar Odom for one of the final big-man spots.

"Tremendous honor," Love said. "Any time you get a chance to represent your country -- wearing USA across your chest, red white and blue, get out there and sing the national anthem, compete for a gold medal, all of that -- it's a big deal to me and allows me to be a little bit patriotic.

"I have a high level of confidence I will be able to make the team."

Barea, Beasley still out

Guard J.J. Barea (sprained ankle) and forward Michael Beasley (sprained foot) missed Monday's game because of injuries that have kept them sidelined since last week.

Barea plans to practice fully Tuesday and intends to play Wednesday against Detroit. Beasley has the protective boot off his right foot but said some swelling still lingers. He has been able to run some but not jump on that foot.

Asked if he thinks it'll be a few more days or a week or more before he plays a game, Beasley said, "If you ask me, I'd be playing tonight."


No. 2 overall pick Derrick Williams played nine minutes Monday after he played only seven Saturday in Atlanta. Little more than a week ago, Wolves coach Rick Adelman said he needed to get Williams on the floor more.

The reason on Monday: Adelman again found minutes for centers Darko Milicic and Nikola Pekovic because he needed their size to counter big DeMarcus Cousins. That meant Love played his 41 minutes mostly at power forward, which meant there was little time again for Williams.

"It was just a situation where they got a big, strong guy and we wanted somebody with a physical presence to be on him," Adelman said.


A Portland, Ore., doctor on Monday gave guard Martell Webster approval to resume practicing for the first time since he had surgery on a back disk in late September. His return depends upon how the back responds to contact.


• Love will buy about 1,000 tickets to Wednesday's game against Detroit for fans who bought tickets Monday. "I'd rather have a packed house than worry about my checkbook," said Love, who probably will sign a big contract extension by Jan. 25.

• The Wolves will wear the ABA's Minnesota Muskies 1967-68 jersey for six "Hardwood Classic" games, starting Feb. 1 against Indiana. Fans picked the Muskies' jerseys over the Minnesota Pipers in a vote at the 2010 Minnesota State Fair.

• Former Gophers star Bobby Jackson is a Kings assistant coach.

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