Patrick Reusse has been covering sports in the Twin Cities since 1968. He has been a Star Tribune sports columnist since 1988. His sportswriting credo is twofold: 1. God will provide an angle; 2. The smaller the ball, the better the writing.


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First NBA impression of Love was, uh, flawed

Posted by: Patrick Reusse Updated: January 30, 2014 - 11:05 AM

Nikola Pekovic managed to start the season’s first 44 games for the Timberwolves. He went to the bench with an ankle injury in Monday’s victory in Chicago and figures to miss a couple of weeks.

The immediate reaction included the theory that Pek’s injury would require coach Rick Adelman to double-digit minutes from rookie center Gorgui Dieng.

My theory stated on the public airwaves was this was doubtful – that Adelman was more likely to use Kevin Love and Dante Cunningham together than to roll with Dieng for the minutes when veteran Rony Turiaf was not on the floor.

The first test came on Wednesday night with the New Orleans Pelicans at Target Center.

Love played 43 minutes in the 88-77 victory, including the entire second half. Turiaf played 26 minutes and Cunningham played 20. Dieng? He played six minutes.

This was more evidence that Adelman is going to ride Love to whatever extent is possible. With a victory staring at his team, Adelman is going to use Love at center before he’s going to trust a rookie for more than a few minutes.

Love is second in the NBA at 12.9 rebounds per game, fourth in scoring at 25 points and tied for 15th at 36.2 minutes played. He also has a gaudy 4.1 assists per game and is shooting 37 percent on three-pointers.

He will be a starter for the Western Conference in the All-Star Game. Kevin Garnett started eight times from 1997 through 2005, and now Love joins him as an All-Star starter from the Timberwolves.

On April 5, 2008, I was covering the Final Four in San Antonio and watched Memphis rip up UCLA 78-63. Love was a freshman star on a UCLA team that included Russell Westbrook and Darren Collison in the backcourt.

I was not impressed with what Love had to offer in the semifinals against Joey Dorsey, a rugged 6-foot-9 senior for Memphis.

I took that bias with me into the NBA Draft and felt it was a mistake when Kevin McHale selected O.J. Mayo, the shooting guard from Southern Cal, and promptly traded him to Memphis for Love.

The skepticism still was there when watching Love play his first exhibition game in Target Center vs. Chicago on Oct. 22, 2008.

One night earlier, Mayo had gone 12 for 28 and scored 28 points for Memphis in an exhibition loss to Miami. He had averaged 16.1 points in the Grizzlies’ exhibition schedule.

Meantime, on this night in Target Center, the Wolves scored nine points in the first quarter, nine more in the fourth, and lost 85-75 in a dreadful tune-up for the start of the regular season.

 There was a passage on the ugliness of this contest in my next morning’s column that included the following:

“And when it came to ineptitude, no one compared to Love. The rookie played 24 minutes and went 1 for 10 from the field … How is the rookie going to get the ball in the basket against NBA big men?

“He’s undersized and he has no lift. When he tried to go up in traffic, he was able to get the ball somewhere around the chins of Aaron Gray or Joakim Noah or Drew Gooden.’’

The column included a couple more shots at Love’s NBA scoring potential and McHale’s decision to trade a sure-fire shooter such as Mayo for him.

I’ve made this admission previously, but as next month’s NBA All-Star Game beckons, it’s probably time to do so again:

It seems as if I was wrong with that first impression of Kevin Love as an NBA player.

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New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Dallas 43 2nd Qtr 6:20
Orlando 30
Sacramento 55 2nd Qtr 5:13
Indiana 34
Toronto 52 2nd Qtr 6:04
Washington 35
Houston 19 1st Qtr 3:59
Detroit 24
Philadelphia 10 1st Qtr 5:35
Atlanta 12
Cleveland 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Oklahoma City 7:00 PM
Memphis
Portland 7:30 PM
Milwaukee
LA Clippers 8:00 PM
San Antonio
Charlotte 8:00 PM
Denver
Phoenix 9:30 PM
Golden State
Washington 0 FINAL(OT)
Montreal 1
NY Islanders 1 FINAL
Detroit 4
Arizona 2 FINAL
Ottawa 7
Los Angeles 0 2nd Prd
Boston 0
Florida 0 2nd Prd
New Jersey 2
Carolina 0 2nd Prd
NY Rangers 2
Toronto 0 2nd Prd
Philadelphia 1
Dallas 1 2nd Prd
Winnipeg 0
Columbus 0 1st Prd 10:26
Tampa Bay 0
Edmonton 9:00 PM
Calgary
Chicago 9:30 PM
San Jose
Boston College 49 FINAL
Clemson 64
Western Mich 63 FINAL
Eastern Mich 69
NC State 81 FINAL
Georgia Tech 80
Wisconsin 74 FINAL
Iowa 63
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New Hampshire 63
Notre Dame 72 FINAL
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Saint Josephs 75
Xavier 82 FINAL
Seton Hall 90
Tulane 37 FINAL
Temple 55
Auburn 63 FINAL
Tennessee 71
Texas Tech 58 FINAL
West Virginia 77
Arkansas 56 FINAL
Florida 57
Penn State 58 FINAL
Illinois 60
Lipscomb 73 FINAL
Stetson 75
South Florida 71 FINAL
Tulsa 78
Bradley 58 FINAL
Indiana State 64
UMass Lowell 69 FINAL
Binghamton 76
Green Bay 62 FINAL
Cleveland State 76
Georgetown 67 FINAL
Creighton 40
Coll of Charleston 68 FINAL
Delaware 71
Villanova 68 FINAL
DePaul 55
Vermont 65 FINAL
Hartford 46
TCU 66 FINAL
Iowa State 83
Kennesaw St 51 FINAL
Jacksonville 50
Kansas State 57 FINAL
Kansas 68
Boston Univ 86 FINAL
Lehigh 89
Illinois State 48 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 45
Albany 77 FINAL
Maine 59
Butler 72 FINAL
Marquette 68
LSU 67 FINAL
Miss State 73
Mount St Marys 77 FINAL
Sacred Heart 71
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VA Commonwealth 55
Virginia Tech 70 FINAL
Wake Forest 73
IUPU-Ft Wayne 75 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 65
Arkansas State 43 FINAL
Georgia State 74
Loyola-Maryland 77 FINAL
Army 71
Tenn Tech 53 FINAL
Belmont 71
Bethune-Cookman 61 FINAL
Florida A&M 44
Valparaiso 70 FINAL
Ill-Chicago 65
UAB 65 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 57
Idaho State 69 FINAL
North Dakota 80
Evansville 65 FINAL
Drake 70
Rutgers 64 FINAL
Indiana 72
Ball State 73 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 79
Southern U 59 FINAL
Alcorn State 51
UNC-Wilmington 76 FINAL
Drexel 85
Coastal Carolina 64 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 66
Morgan State 48 FINAL
Howard 64
William & Mary 84 FINAL
James Madison 65
North Carolina 68 FINAL
Louisville 78
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MD-Eastern Shore 92
Ole Miss 67 FINAL
Missouri 47
Wichita State 54 FINAL
Northern Iowa 70
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Pacific 71
Winthrop 66 FINAL
Radford 73
George Washington 55 FINAL
Rhode Island 59
Bryant 71 FINAL
Robert Morris 68
Long Island 64 FINAL
St Francis-NY 81
Fair-Dickinson 63 FINAL
St Francis-PA 68
Massachusetts 60 FINAL
Saint Louis 56
Georgia 50 FINAL
South Carolina 67
Central Conn St 55 FINAL
Wagner 86
SIU Edwardsville 54 FINAL
Eastern Ill 57
Ohio 69 FINAL
Central Mich 74
Eastern Ky 66 FINAL
Morehead State 57
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UNC-Asheville 70
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Texas A&M 69
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Milwaukee 78
Idaho 95 FINAL
Eastern Wash 98
Marshall 57 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 81
Jackson State 62 FINAL
Miss Valley St 75
Houston Baptist 52 FINAL
Sam Houston St 63
Louisiana 72 FINAL
Texas State 63
Denver 39 FINAL
South Dakota St 69
Oral Roberts 73 FINAL
South Dakota 72
South Alabama 61 FINAL
ULM 67
Texas 55 2nd Half 3:52
Baylor 74
Citadel 66 2nd Half 1:27
Chattanooga 73
Fresno State 51 2nd Half 4:03
Colorado State 75
Yale 61 2nd Half 0:38
Cornell 53
Ark-Pine Bluff 47 2nd Half 7:30
Grambling St 44
Nebraska 42 FINAL
Minnesota 60
Purdue 61 2nd Half 2:19
Northwestern 53
Alabama A&M 61 2nd Half 15:20
Prairie View 33
Dartmouth 53 FINAL
Princeton 64
Pepperdine 60 2nd Half 2:56
St Marys-CA 59
Delaware State 57 2nd Half 3:50
SC State 64
Western Ky 67 2nd Half 3:35
Southern Miss 53
Nevada 51 2nd Half 1:05
Wyoming 57
Hampton 36 2nd Half 11:39
Norfolk State 37
NC A&T 38 2nd Half 12:00
Savannah State 31
Akron 29 2nd Half
Bowling Green 29
Colgate 27 2nd Half
Bucknell 35
FIU 44 2nd Half
Charlotte 31
Brown 35 2nd Half
Columbia 39
George Mason 15 2nd Half
Duquesne 22
NC Central 35 2nd Half
East Tenn St 28
Saint Peters 25 2nd Half
Iona 25
Alabama 22 1st Half 0:52
Kentucky 37
Char Southern 35 1st Half 2:13
Liberty 29
Hawaii 27 2nd Half
Long Beach State 26
New Orleans 15 1st Half 7:50
McNeese State 21
Lafayette 40 2nd Half
Navy 37
Elon 25 1st Half 0:53
Northeastern 38
Fla Atlantic 30 2nd Half
Old Dominion 29
Harvard 36 2nd Half
Penn 15
La Salle 29 2nd Half
St Bonaventure 27
Furman 29 2nd Half
Samford 29
Duke 26 2nd Half
Virginia 25
Mercer 26 2nd Half
Wofford 20
Northern Ky 31 2nd Half
Fla Gulf Coast 44
USC Upstate 38 2nd Half
North Florida 46
Longwood 35 2nd Half
Presbyterian 27
Ark-Little Rock 15 1st Half 9:31
Ga Southern 12
Abilene Christian 29 1st Half 3:31
Lamar 31
TX A&M-CC 12 1st Half 4:59
Stephen F Austin 19
SE Missouri St 7:00 PM
Austin Peay
CS-Northridge 7:00 PM
UC Riverside
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Hofstra
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Murray State
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SMU
Southern Ill 7:05 PM
Missouri State
Troy 7:15 PM
Texas-Arlington
Jacksonville St 7:30 PM
Tennessee St
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Texas Southern
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Washington St
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BYU
TX-Pan American 8:00 PM
New Mexico St
Northern Ariz 8:00 PM
Southern Utah
Middle Tennessee 8:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Weber State 8:00 PM
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Chicago State 8:00 PM
Grand Canyon
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Gonzaga
Air Force 9:00 PM
UNLV
Cal Poly 9:00 PM
UC Davis
Seattle 9:00 PM
CS-Bakersfield
Montana State 9:05 PM
Portland State
Montana 9:05 PM
Sacramento St
Colorado 9:30 PM
UCLA
UMKC 9:30 PM
Utah Valley U
Mount St Marys 64 FINAL
Sacred Heart 71
Texas-El Paso 53 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 74
Arkansas State 61 FINAL
Georgia State 47
Bryant 84 FINAL
Robert Morris 87
Central Conn St 83 FINAL
Wagner 67
Fairleigh Dickinson 78 FINAL
St Francis-PA 60
Long Island 53 FINAL
St Francis-NY 62
Bethune-Cookman 70 FINAL
Florida A&M 57
Longwood 56 FINAL
Campbell 68
Charleston Southern 40 FINAL
Winthrop 77
Louisiana Tech 68 FINAL
Marshall 67
Ohio U 74 FINAL
Central Michigan 66
Western Mich 61 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 53
Coppin State 58 FINAL
MD-Eastern Shore 66
Incarnate Word 34 FINAL
Nicholls 67
Samford 46 FINAL
East Tenn St 48
Western Carolina 72 FINAL
Furman 84
Gardner-Webb 71 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 65
Liberty 58 FINAL
High Point 41
Presbyterian 46 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 59
Kent State 67 FINAL
Akron 74
Northern Ill 65 FINAL
Ball State 62
Houston 66 FINAL
Cincinnati 69
SIU-Edwardsville 65 FINAL
Eastern Illinois 48
Eastern Kentucky 58 FINAL
Morehead St 76
Holy Cross 67 FINAL
American Univ 61
Army 62 FINAL
Loyola-Maryland 53
Niagara 53 FINAL
Manhattan 46
Lehigh 78 FINAL
Boston U 71
Navy 65 FINAL
Lafayette 60
Saint Josephs 57 FINAL
Davidson 52
Duquesne 56 FINAL
Fordham 46
George Washington 87 FINAL
George Mason 52
St Bonaventure 77 FINAL
Massachusetts 57
Milwaukee 64 FINAL
Youngstown St 87
Jacksonville 78 FINAL
Kennesaw St 64
North Florida 49 FINAL
USC Upstate 61
St Marys-CA 53 FINAL
Pepperdine 49
Nebraska Omaha 49 FINAL
IUPUI 68
Houston Baptist 67 FINAL
Sam Houston St 74
Mercer 59 FINAL
(25) Chattanooga 71
No Dakota State 52 FINAL
South Dakota St 82
Oral Roberts 70 FINAL
South Dakota 93
Southern Miss 63 FINAL
Western Ky 61
TX-San Antonio 57 FINAL
UAB 73
East Carolina 67 FINAL
Tulane 63
South Florida 57 FINAL
Memphis 53
Buffalo 75 FINAL
Eastern Michigan 53
New Mexico St 74 FINAL
TX-Pan American 71
Utah Valley U 58 FINAL
UMKC 61
Jackson State 71 FINAL
Miss Valley St 74
Louisiana 83 FINAL
Texas State 81
South Alabama 53 FINAL
ULM 55
Saint Louis 72 FINAL
Dayton 87
Cleveland State 72 FINAL
Oakland 64
Grand Canyon 76 FINAL
Chicago State 51
UCLA 65 FINAL
Oregon 67
Washington St 56 FINAL
(12) Stanford 75
Kansas State 41 FINAL
Texas Tech 38
UNLV 91 FINAL
Air Force 79
UCF 61 FINAL
Tulsa 70
UNC Greensboro 64 FINAL
Wofford 77
Delaware State 62 FINAL
SC State 64
San Diego State 70 FINAL
Utah State 59
Sacramento St 86 FINAL
Montana 94
Northern Colorado 52 FINAL
Weber State 59
Hampton 66 FINAL
Norfolk State 71
NC A&T 53 FINAL
Savannah State 48
Alabama A&M 64 FINAL
Prairie View 81
Toledo 64 FINAL
Bowling Green 48
Ark-Pine Bluff 56 FINAL
Grambling 75
Southern U 59 FINAL
Alcorn State 51
Marist 63 FINAL
Iona 58
Bucknell 41 FINAL
Colgate 54
North Dakota 69 FINAL
Idaho State 75
Ark-Little Rock 58 FINAL
Georgia Southern 44
BYU 58 FINAL
Santa Clara 56
Gonzaga 85 FINAL
Portland 63
Pacific 84 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 61
Abilene Christian 72 FINAL
Lamar 76
Colorado State 49 FINAL
Fresno State 53
New Mexico 64 FINAL
San Jose St 62
UC Davis 60 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 54
San Diego 74 FINAL
San Francisco 69
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McNeese State 82
TX A&M-CC 55 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 64
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Florida Atlantic 44
Tenn Tech 53 FINAL
Belmont 59
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Idaho 95
Stetson 82 FINAL
Lipscomb 77
Washington 58 FINAL
California 82
USC 35 FINAL
(7) Oregon State 68
IUPU-Ft Wayne 55 FINAL
Western Ill 59
Northwestern St 52 FINAL
SE Louisiana 58
SE Missouri St 62 FINAL
Austin Peay 70
Portland State 46 FINAL
Montana State 63
Charlotte 81 FINAL
FIU 62
Morgan State 77 FINAL
Howard 64
(19) Princeton 83 FINAL
Dartmouth 65
UT Martin 95 FINAL
Murray State 85
Columbia 69 2nd Half 2:47
Brown 79
Penn 70 2nd Half 0:13
Harvard 66
Troy 67 2nd Half 1:03
TX-Arlington 68
Alabama State 27 2nd Half 12:19
Texas Southern 51
Jacksonville St 53 2nd Half 6:19
Tennessee St 45
Wyoming 25 2nd Half
Nevada 27
Oklahoma St 36 2nd Half
Iowa State 31
CS-Bakersfield 32 2nd Half
Seattle 33
La Salle 30 2nd Half
VA Commonwealth 30
Cal-Irvine 27 2nd Half
Cal Poly 36
Fla Gulf Coast 29 2nd Half
Northern Ky 21
Green Bay 7:00 PM
Illinois-Chicago
Southern Utah 7 1st Half 12:25
Northern Ariz 5
Cal State Fullerton 9:00 PM
Long Beach St
CS-Northridge 9:00 PM
Hawaii
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