Love's outlet passes are more reward than risk

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 4, 2014 - 12:25 AM

– Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman has watched Kevin Love throw those freakish full-court outlet passes since Love was a star back at Lake Oswego (Ore.) High School.

That still doesn’t stop him from shaking his head at them sometimes, both for their accuracy and Love’s sheer audacity when he chooses to flick them.

Love hadn’t reached a triple-double in points, rebounds and assists in his first five NBA seasons until this year. Now he has three of them, including two in his past four games. Four other times this season, he has come within one assist of a triple-double.

Since training camp started last October, Adelman has prodded Love privately and publicly to become more of a “facilitator” who’s capable of making his teammates better with his passing.

Love has done that in the flow of Adelman’s offense this season, but those long outlet passes to a streaking Corey Brewer or Kevin Martin sure do help the assist statistics.

He flicked a few during Wednesday’s 102-88 victory over Memphis.

“Some of them caught my breath tonight, I wasn’t sure where he was going with them,” Adelman said after Wednesday’s game. “He just has such a knack for them.”

And Love’s not afraid to throw them, on any occasion.

“Those things, it’s the time and the score and the way the game’s going,” Adelman said. “If you don’t score for three or four possessions, maybe you don’t want to throw that pass. But he’s got a pretty good idea when the game is open. It’s incredible. It’s on the money so many times.”

Love was asked after the game if he surprises even himself with some of his outlet passes.

“In some ways, yes, but I’ve been doing this my whole life,” Love said, “and I’ve had good targets and this year has been no exception. I guess I’ve gotten better at it at this level.”

Then Love was told Adelman said he was surprised with some of the game and time situations in which Love chooses to throw those passes.

He smiled.

“Yeah, me too,” he said.

Wolves waive Price

The Wolves waived veteran point guard A.J. Price on Thursday morning, a decision that creates a roster spot for the team to sign a player with only eight games remaining in the season.

Price hadn’t played since undergoing an appendectomy March 9, although he was cleared to play last week. He played in 28 games this season, and averaged 3.5 minutes in those games.

The Wolves had decided to waive Price before forward Dante Cunningham was arrested early Thursday morning on suspicion of domestic abuse. They waived Price before the team flew to Miami without Cunningham for Friday’s game against the Heat.

Depending on Cunningham’s future, the Wolves could use that roster spot to sign another power forward or combo forward, quite possibly one they’d intend to bring to summer-league play and training camp next fall.

Heeeere’s Ronny

Wolves reserve center Ronny Turiaf played nearly 22 minutes Wednesday, his first night back after missing 19 games because of a knee bone bruise. He delivered 11 points, seven rebounds, three blocked shots and noticeably gave energy to a second unit that turned a two-point deficit into a 10-point, second-quarter lead.

“Tired, tired, tired and then having some fun, you know,” Turiaf said afterward.

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