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His coach didn't think so, but Timberwolves forward Kevin Love called Monday's NBA-imposed, two-game suspension "warranted" and vowed he won't step on anybody's face and chest again.
Just when the Wolves have reached a .500 record, Love will miss Tuesday's home game against Sacramento and Wednesday's game at Memphis because of a moment in Saturday's victory over Houston in which the league deemed he drove his left sneaker into Rockets forward Luis Scola's chin and chest.
Game officials didn't call a foul on the play, but the league ruled it a flagrant foul type 2 on Monday.
Love will also be docked a corresponding $83,000-plus from his paycheck for the two-game suspension.
Love said he apologized to Scola as well as Scola's coaches and teammates after Saturday's game and again later in what he called a lengthy conversation with Scola.
He also apologized in a written statement released by the team and promised after practice to better control his emotions than he did Saturday, his second expression of frustration in three games.
"I feel like it was a learning experience for me and definitely it won't happen again," Love said. "There were no ill intentions in that step. I wasn't trying to stomp on him like people said or anything. ... I don't want to be known for that. I want to be known as a standup guy who happened to make a mistake with his size 19 shoe and just move on.
"Scola knows how I feel about it. As long as Luis and the Houston Rockets are OK with it, then I'm OK with it."
Adelman: 'You've got to move on'
The NBA announced Love's suspension on Monday morning, four minutes after it suspended Lakers coach Mike Brown for one game and fined him $25,000 for making contact with an official and failing to leave the court promptly during Saturday's game at Utah.
Love said he explained his actions in a recorded conversation with an NBA security official, but said he wished he could have talked with NBA executive vice president of operations Stu Jackson "man to man over the phone" before Jackson made the decision.
Wolves coach Rick Adelman was asked if the two-game suspension is fair.
"What do you want me to say?" Adelman said. "They do what they do and that's it. There's nothing you can do about it. Do I think it's fair? No, absolutely [not]. I don't know the reasoning. They don't tell you the reasoning. I don't know the reasoning why two games. They haven't said anything. You've just got to move on."
The Wolves will move on to games against the Kings and Grizzlies without a guy who is averaging 25 points and 13.7 rebounds a game.
They will do so most likely by playing rookie Derrick Williams and Anthony Tolliver more while Love, the league leader in minutes played (39.4 per game), rests and thinks about what he has done.
Love stepped on Scola three days after he hurled an arm at Indiana's Danny Granger's head and shoulders and was whistled for a hard foul that just might have angered the Pacers into an ensuing 9-1 run that won Wednesday's game at Target Center.
Both incidents were displays of frustration after Love didn't get the officials' call he sought after play turned rough.
"We talked to him," Adelman said about the need for Love to control his emotions and his complaining to officials on the court, "but sometimes players have to learn on their own."
Love stepped on Scola after possessions on either end of the floor turned physical. He bulled over Scola while scoring a putback basket on which he thought he was fouled at one end, then clearly whacked Scola across the arms looking to be whistled for a foul when Scola went up for a shot on the other end.
No foul was called and when Scola fell instead, Love turned to follow the play and planted his foot on Scola as he headed back down the court.
"You have to stay in the game," Adelman said. "Even if you get fouled, you've got to keep your emotions in check. He's a key player for us and there's times, like every player, you get upset because things aren't called. But there's nothing you can do about it but play through it and not let it affect what happens on the court. ... Kevin has to learn a lesson from it, just like the whole team does."
Five days earlier in Houston, Scola had tried to save a possession by flinging the ball off Love as Scola fell out of bounds. He succeeded, but hit Love directly in the private parts with the ball and Love collapsed in pain in a heap on the floor.
"It has been a chippy year," Love said. "Not only us, not only the Pacers and Rockets, nothing like that. It's a lot of games and guys are tired and games are being drawn out and guys are being worn down. For me and for us, it's no different, and for the refs as well. They have to go over film like we do, maybe even more."
Love was asked if he thinks stepping on Scola will give him the reputation of being a dirty player.
"No," he said. "If it does from the common fan's standpoint, I'll just have to win their respect back and make them like me again. I have no problem doing that. I know the type of person I am and I feel like you guys [reporters] and people who know me know the type of person I am. I don't think it will affect my reputation."
|Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Russell||4||FINAL|
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