Love's career took off with 30-30 game against Knicks

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 12, 2012 - 12:30 AM

Kevin Love has never watched a recording of the game, never watched himself set records and make history. Still, Love will admit that what happened the last time the New York Knicks came to Target Center changed the course of his career.

It was early in the 2010-11 season. Nov. 12, 2010, to be exact. The Knicks -- who were here again Saturday -- were playing the Wolves and Love scored 31 points and pulled down a franchise-record 31 rebounds.

It was a wild night. Michael Beasley had 35 points and the Wolves, down 21 in the third quarter, rallied to win 112-103.

Unfortunately, if you weren't one of the 15,000-plus fans at Target Center, you probably didn't see it, as the game wasn't locally televised. But rest assured, it changed Love's career.

In one record-setting night he went from a promising young player to an ESPN darling. And all it took was the first 30-30 game since Moses Malone had 32 points and 38 rebounds for Houston against Seattle in 1982.

"A game like that hadn't been done since Malone," said Love, who famously leaned over to Beasley in the second half of that game and said he was going to get 30 boards. "So, I think for me, to put me on that platform of elite, upper-echelon of players in this league, that was the game to do it."

Love went on to mount his impressive double-double streak, and he was named to his first All-Star Game. But as far as national attention, it was the Knicks game that started it all.

A few folks who were asked about that game before Saturday's matchup had different memories. New York coach Mark D'Antoni at first said he didn't remember the game. "They all run together," he said. "And I'm getting too old." But then: "Is that the one where we blew it when we were up 20 points? Oh, I remember. It's not good."

Wolves guard Martell Webster remembered it was the first time Love had worn his Peak shoes in a game. Beasley remembered how hard the team worked on defense to come back. Oh, and one other detail: "Remember Kevin's last three-pointer?" Webster asked of Love's late three from the top of the key that put him over 30 points as the crowd screamed. "I had the assist."

The game definitely gave a big assist to Love's growing fame. But Love hasn't watched the game, and he doesn't dwell on it either.

"It's kind of a thing of the past," he said before recording 32 points and 21 rebounds in Saturday's 100-98 loss. "It was a great game, it was one I'll be able to look back and say I had a 30-30 game. Maybe I'll have another or a couple others in my career."

Maybe Monday

Wolves center Darko Milicic hasn't played much lately. He's been sick, he had a quad bruise and, most recently, a sprained ankle; Milicic missed his fifth game in a row Saturday. So does coach Rick Adelman expect the big man to see action any time soon?

The answer: hopefully. "He's been working out with some of our people and everything," Adelman said. "They say he's been getting better. I would hope by Monday we're going to have him. And we're going to need him."

Why? Because the Wolves play at Orlando on Monday, a team led by center Dwight Howard.

"We're going to need him against Howard," Adelman said. "We'll need all the big guys we can get."

Etc.

• Saturday's announced attendance of 20,232 was the fourth-largest Wolves crowd in Target Center history. It's their biggest since March 12, 2004, a span of 327 games, including 10 postseason games.

• Adelman said Webster has played well since his return from back surgery. But the time Webster missed has made his comeback difficult. "He's doing fine," Adelman said. "But it will take him time. He missed a lot of months."

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