Wolves' Love surprised by All-Star starting spot

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 24, 2014 - 11:47 AM

The two-time All-Star didn’t expect fans to vault him over Dwight Howard late in the voting process.

– Timberwolves two-time All-Star Kevin Love had just pushed his room-service cart into the hotel hallway Thursday afternoon when someone else — team President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders — came knocking on his door.

Make that three-time All-Star Kevin Love, and now first-time starter.

Saunders and General Manager Milt Newton came calling to inform Love that fans worldwide voted him into next month’s NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans as one of the Western Conference’s three frontcourt starters.

“To be considered among the elite, you know, my joke was, ‘Hey, I’m popular now!’ ”Love said. “It’s very, I guess, humbling starting in the All-Star Game.”

Love moved from fourth in the last balloting results made public a week ago into the third and final starter’s spot when Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard dropped below both Love and Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin before the league announced the East and West starters Thursday evening.

Love will start alongside Griffin and Oklahoma City superstar Kevin Durant after the Wolves orchestrated a late get-out-the-vote campaign, encouraging fans through contests and promotions to vote for him via text message, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and on NBA.com. He will be the first Wolves All-Star starter since Kevin Garnett in 2007.

“It’s hard to put into words,” Love said. “I was in disbelief up until it came across the screen and the NBA tweeted it. It was just a really surreal moment.”

Just two hours earlier, Love said he was certain he hadn’t been voted a starter, but said he also was certain Western Conference coaches would vote him into the game as a reserve for the third time.

“I guess I was hoping for the best but preparing for the worst,” Love said.

Fans voted Golden State’s Steph Curry and injured Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant in as the West’s starting backcourt while also picking Miami’s LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, Indiana’s Paul George, Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving and New York’s Carmelo Anthony as the East’s starters.

Love made the 2011 All-Star Game when Commissioner David Stern named him an injury replacement for Yao Ming, and he made the 2012 All-Star Game when Western coaches voted him in as a reserve. He wasn’t chosen last season because he played only 18 games after breaking his hand twice in three months.

This time, he made it as a starter.

“It definitely has a different feeling to it,” Love said. “Each of my three has been a little different. It’s kind of a slew of different ways to get yourself in, but to be voted in is very big because the fans are what drives this game. For the fans to reach out and vote me in and to play amongst my peers who are very well-liked and popular around the world, it really means a lot.”

Love made one promise when he gets introduced as a starter.

“Well, I know one thing’s for sure,” he said. “I’m not going to be dancing when my name is called. As a kid, you obviously grow up dreaming of being in the NBA, dreaming of being an All-Star player. But to be an All-Star starter … I keep using the word surreal. It just hasn’t quite set in yet.”

Before Thursday’s announcement was made, Wolves coach Rick Adelman said there’s no doubt Love deserves to be an All Star.

“He’s had a great year,” Adelman said. “There are a lot of good forwards in the West, but he has been the most consistent guy of all the guys. I don’t know where we’d be without him without the year he has had.”

Love is fourth in the league in scoring (25 ppg), second in rebounding (13 rpg) and fifth among forwards in assists (4.0 apg) and yet his team is 20-21 and chasing the West’s eighth and final playoff spot.

“If you go by stats, Kevin Love has the stats,” TNT analyst Kenny Smith said on the network’s Thursday show that unveiled the starters. “I prefer to reward winning, so I was surprised in that regard. If Minnesota was in a solid playoff spot, then I would understand it. But his numbers are beyond All-Star numbers. Those are big-boy numbers.”

  • related content

  • Video: NBA All-Star game starters named

    Friday January 24, 2014

    LeBron James garnered the most All-Star votes with over 1.4 million then went out & lit up the Lakers...

  • Love among 28 NBA players selected for U.S. national team pool

    Thursday January 23, 2014

    Love is one of seven players that return to the national team after capturing gold at the 2010 FIBA World Championship.

  • Kevin Love career statistics

    Saturday August 23, 2014

  • RandBall: Playoffs? Wolves have better chance than Wild

    Thursday January 23, 2014

    If you had to bet on either the Wolves or Wild to make the playoffs, you would be better off betting on the Wolves -- at least according to...

  • Pekovic worked on smaller muscles to get big, stay healthy

    Saturday January 25, 2014

    Big-muscled Nikola Pekovic needed to develop his smaller ones in order to avoid injuries.

  • Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love (42) drives against Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Minneapolis, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

  • Minnesota Timberwolves' Kevin Love (42) works around San Antonio Spurs' Tim Duncan (21) during the second half on an NBA basketball game, Friday, Dec. 13, 2013, in San Antonio. San Antonio won 117-110. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

  • Kevin Love slipped ahead of Dwight Howard in the closing days of voting to become an All-Star starter. He’s averaging 25 points and 13 rebounds per game.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
Toronto 110 FINAL
LA Clippers 98
Boston 88 FINAL
Washington 101
Orlando 102 FINAL
Charlotte 94
Memphis 103 FINAL
Miami 95
Indiana 110 FINAL
Brooklyn 85
New Orleans 100 FINAL
Chicago 107
Atlanta 90 FINAL
Milwaukee 85
Philadelphia 71 FINAL
Utah 88
New York 129 FINAL
Sacramento 135
Minnesota 97 FINAL
Golden State 110
NY Islanders 3 FINAL(SO)
Buffalo 4
Detroit 3 FINAL(OT)
Ottawa 2
Carolina 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay 2
New Jersey 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 3
Boston 2 FINAL
Columbus 6
Winnipeg 4 FINAL(OT)
Minnesota 3
Washington 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 0
Dallas 4 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Nashville 4
Anaheim 1 FINAL(SO)
Arizona 2
Chicago 5 FINAL
Colorado 2
Edmonton 1 FINAL
Calgary 4
San Jose 1 FINAL
Los Angeles 3
Indiana 87 FINAL
Georgetown 91
Maine 43 FINAL
Seton Hall 72
UNC-Wilmington 82 FINAL
Minnesota 108
Georgia State 61 FINAL
Green Bay 78
Jacksonville St 61 FINAL
Jacksonville 75
Kentucky 58 FINAL
Louisville 50
Northern Ky 55 FINAL
Northwestern 76
UAB 58 FINAL
North Carolina 89
IUPUI 55 FINAL
Pepperdine 53
Santa Clara 60 FINAL
St Marys-CA 73
Oakland 56 FINAL
Maryland 72
Gonzaga 87 FINAL
BYU 80
Mercer 77 FINAL
Georgia 86
San Francisco 77 FINAL
Pacific 71
Wright State 55 FINAL
Ohio State 100
Presbyterian 65 FINAL
Virginia Tech 87
Brescia 42 FINAL
Western Ky 89
Tennessee St 46 FINAL
Tennessee 67
Kennesaw St 45 FINAL
Illinois 93
Colorado State 58 FINAL
New Mexico St 57
Portland 61 FINAL
San Diego 58
Wayland Baptist 63 FINAL
Utah State 75
Bristol University 59 FINAL
Weber State 109
Sacramento St 74 FINAL
Utah Valley U 49
Southern Utah 45 FINAL
UNLV 79
SD Christian 50 FINAL
San Diego St 72
Illinois 18 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 35
Rutgers 40 FINAL
North Carolina 21
NC State 34 FINAL
UCF 27
Cincinnati 17 FINAL
Virginia Tech 33
(15) Arizona State 36 FINAL
Duke 31
Miami-Florida 21 FINAL
So Carolina 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Penn State 31
(25) Nebraska 42 FINAL
(24) USC 45
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
East Carolina 1/3/15 11:00 AM
Florida
SMU 45 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 96
UCF 64 FINAL
Houston 50
BYU 62 FINAL
Gonzaga 78
Pacific 92 FINAL
San Francisco 54
St Marys-CA 62 FINAL
Santa Clara 61
San Diego 87 FINAL
Portland 65
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite pro sports coach in the Twin Cities?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close