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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Let's surprise Love and ourselves on Jan. 31

Posted by: Patrick Reusse Updated: August 23, 2014 - 5:20 PM

Anyone with even a modest interest in the Timberwolves has to appreciate the following from Kevin Love:

*You have to appreciate the fact that he came here as part of a disputable trade on the night of the 2008 NBA Draft and turned it into the best decision of Kevin McHale’s tenure as the team’s basketball boss.

I would put it ahead of selecting Kevin Garnett in the 1995 draft, because it was a much-tougher decision at the time to trade guard O.J. Mayo for Love than it was to select Garnett at No. 5 overall.

*You have to appreciate the effort that Love put in to both transform himself physically and to add much to his offensive game. He has been one of those admirable players who got his bank account filled and continued to work to get better every season.

Then, when limited to 18 games by injuries in 2012-13, he came back as an offensive monster and an All-Star starter in the mighty Western Conference.

Nowhere in All-Star honors is there more prestige than in being selected as a conference starter in the NBA … one of a mere five players from 15 teams.

Yes, Love may be a “numbers guy,’’ but when those numbers are 26.1 points, 12.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists all you can do is whistle.

You know how to whistle don’t you … you just put your lips together and blow. (Maybe that line came off better when Lauren Bacall said it in a movie).

*You have to appreciate the fact that Love --- after two years of immature behavior in sending signals that he would be leaving the Timberwolves at the first opportunity – shut it down for the last few weeks and let Flip Saunders conduct the business of getting the best possible return for his star.

Love could have kept making noise, could have said publicly that he intended to fully explore his free-agent opportunities after next season, but he didn’t do that.

The reverse might be true. There have been reports that Love gave Cleveland a wink about sticking it out long-term with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, which had to make it easier for the Cavaliers to say goodbye to Andrew Wiggins.

*If you’re a hardcore sports fan in these parts, and have tired of the pontificating of know-it-all sportswriters and/or radio hosts, you have to enjoy the fact that Love received instant ridicule from one of those types (I don’t want to embarrass the guy by naming him) and forced that genius to eat every sentence that was written or uttered at the very beginning of Love’s career.

Considering all these positives, and considering that the small group of Timberwolves zealots seems to be voicing approval for the trade, there's a proposal to offer.

Local hoop-heads note Jan. 31 on their smart phones. And then we show up en masse on that Saturday night at Target Center, and here’s what happens:

We throw a surprise at the national pundits, we throw a surprise at Love, and we throw a surprise at ourselves.

We do it by greeting Kevin Love with applause. No boos, no hisses, no one-liners about knuckle push-ups … just respectful applause.

Maybe we even give him a quick stand up when he’s introduced along with LeBron and Kyrie. Not a standing ovation, with stomping and cheering … put the hands together seven, eight times, it's over, and Love is so shocked he can't find his jump shot all night.

We do this to show Love appreciation for what he made of himself as a player in Minnesota, and also what that improvement in six seasons here allowed the Timberwolves to get for him in return.

Let’s make it a hashtag campaign: #applaudlove. Who’s with me?

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Cleveland 86 FINAL
Indiana 93
Washington 81 FINAL
Philadelphia 89
Golden State 113 FINAL
Toronto 89
New York 121 FINAL
Detroit 115
Orlando 88 FINAL
Atlanta 95
Charlotte 98 FINAL
Boston 106
LA Clippers 97 FINAL
Memphis 79
Brooklyn 98 FINAL
Houston 102
Miami 102 FINAL
New Orleans 104
Minnesota 89 FINAL
Chicago 96
Utah 104 FINAL
Denver 82
San Antonio 107 FINAL
Sacramento 96
Milwaukee 93 FINAL
LA Lakers 101
Oklahoma City 112 FINAL
Portland 115
Boston 3 FINAL(OT)
New Jersey 2
Calgary 1 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
Washington 0 FINAL
Carolina 3
Chicago 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay 4
Colorado 5 FINAL(SO)
Dallas 4
Los Angeles 2 FINAL
Anaheim 4
Siena 63 FINAL
Quinnipiac 73
Harvard 49 FINAL
Cornell 57
Penn 69 FINAL
Brown 75
Fairfield 65 FINAL
Canisius 72
Manhattan 75 FINAL
Iona 79
Saint Peters 67 FINAL
Marist 69
Princeton 60 FINAL
Yale 81
Ohio 58 FINAL
Akron 70
Dartmouth 84 FINAL
Columbia 71
Valparaiso 56 FINAL
Cleveland State 53
Louisiana Tech 75 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 88
Seton Hall 77 FINAL
Xavier 60
Cornell 54 FINAL
Harvard 60
Yale 49 FINAL
(14) Princeton 67
Elon 51 FINAL
Drexel 54
Northeastern 47 FINAL
James Madison 82
St Johns 60 FINAL
Butler 49
Creighton 71 FINAL
Georgetown 62
Brown 58 FINAL
Penn 75
Columbia 50 FINAL
Dartmouth 60
Canisius 54 FINAL
Siena 58
St Josephs Brooklyn 35 FINAL
NJIT 78
Western Carolina 86 FINAL
UNC Greensboro 80
Colorado 66 FINAL
Arizona 51
Southern Ill 72 FINAL
Bradley 66
Drake 59 FINAL
Wichita State 80
Indiana State 71 FINAL
Evansville 53
Illinois State 53 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 67
Northern Iowa 70 FINAL
Missouri State 72
Utah 42 FINAL
(10) Arizona State 46
Providence 62 FINAL
Villanova 71
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