For Love, KG becomes more rival than idol

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 30, 2012 - 11:48 PM

Kevin Garnett dunked in the second half at Target Center.

Photo: Bruce Bisping, Star Tribune

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Before you start comparing Timberwolves forward Kevin Love to Boston's Kevin Garnett, just remember this:

"I have an All-Star jersey of his and also a Timberwolves," Love said. "I was a jersey owner of Garnett back in the day. Him and Tim Duncan and [Chris] Webber. Those were the type of guys I looked up to when I was very young, guys still in this league that I'm fortunate enough now to play against. It's a fun thing. That was my past, and now I have to play against him."

Some already consider Love superior to Garnett when both were at the same stage of their careers because of the mind-boggling statistics Love has been accumulating, particularly in the month of March.

But numbers are just numbers and none of them quantify the kind of unique defensive player Garnett has been throughout his career, a presence he displayed Friday often matched up against Love in Boston's 100-79 victory.

"It's fair because they're both named Kevin and they both played in Minnesota," Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "They're different players, completely different players. I think people should just celebrate the two. I don't think you need to tear one down to build the other up, or vice versa. Why not just celebrate? We've had two pretty good Kevins. That's a pretty good thing."

Injury train

Center Nikola Pekovic (ankle bone spurs), guard J.J. Barea (thigh contusion) and forward Michael Beasley (sprained toe) all missed Friday's game.

Barea hasn't played since recording a triple-double in the March 23 two-overtime loss at Oklahoma City and said he does not expect to accompany the team Saturday on a quick two-game trip to Portland and Sacramento because there's still swelling in his thigh and he can't run or jump on that leg yet. He is targeting Wednesday's home game against Golden State for his return.

"It's brutal," Barea said. "I was feeling great. I was playing good. There's nothing I can do about it. I'm disappointed, but I got to fight through it. During the game, you say, 'Hey, just keep going,' and the after the game you feel it. But I didn't know it'd be this bad."

No predictions on Pek

A team spokesman calls Pekovic out "indefinitely" but also said he could accompany the team to Portland on Saturday, which means there's a still a chance he could play Sunday or Monday.

Adelman said it's a matter of how much pain Pekovic can endure playing with those bone spurs on his right ankle.

Homecoming?

A former Timberwolves player did return to Target Center on Friday and stick it to the Wolves.

And his name was ... Greg Stiemsma?

Yes, that Stiemsma, the 6-11 Wisconsin product and former Development League player whom the Wolves signed at the end of the 2008-09 season to train against recovering Al Jefferson in the summer and because his contract might have been valuable in a trade. Friday, he was a quick sub for Garnett and immediately impacted the game, finishing with eight points, six rebounds and two blocks before fouling out.

"He's terrific to coach," Rivers said of Stiemsma, who never played a game for the Wolves. "He knows his game. He understands his game. He allows himself to be coached, and he's more skilled than people think he is."

Etc.

• Celtics guard Ray Allen participated in the team's morning shoot looking like he intended to return after missing the past four games because of a sore ankle, but he decided before the game he wasn't fit to play and sat out a fifth consecutive game.

• Rivers on Love's improved three-point shooting: "He had a lot of time [to practice], we had a long lockout. He has always liked shooting threes. He just wasn't very good at it."

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