Kevin McHale sure hopes his Houston team doesn't forget that Kevin Love stepped on their team's Luis Scola head a couple weeks ago at Target Center. He called that night the most "fun" he's had in his short time with the Rockets.
Love has said the incident is behind him. He has served his suspension, lost his $83,000-plus in salary for two games out and apologized to Scola, the Rockets' coaches and players.
When asked if Love apologized to him, McHale said, "No, he doesn't have to apologize to me. If he had stepped on my head, he wouldn't have had to apologize to me, I can promise you that."
What might he have done?
"I'll leave that to your own imagination," said McHale, who traded for Love on draft night 2008 when he ran the Wolves.
McHale called his team's response to Love's action that night the most fun he's had with the Rockets so far and said he hopes his team doesn't put that incident behind them.
"From that point on, I really think our team came together and played, really became the type of team that we've got to be, just being the instigator and not the retaliator. That went a long ways to get us to do some of that and that's we've got to do every night.
"I liked the fact that we had 12 players, shoulder to shoulder, everybody screaming at a ref, screaming at them. That’s the way I played. I liked that. I like 15-16 guys in an arena with 18,000 people screaming at everybody you can scream at. That’s fun. That was the most enjoyable time I had with this team. Everybody came together. It's on then. That’s what’s fun."
Might we be starting to see the beginnings of a rivalry between the teams, particularly after Love stepped o Scola's face and chest two weeks ago after some heated play, outraging the Rockets' bench that night at Target Center and earning Love a two-game suspension?
"We both have young teams, so if everybody stays together, you hope it becomes a rivalry," McHale said after his team's shootaround this morning. "Usually rivalries are built in the playoffs, not in the regular season. If it turns into a rivalry that means we're both playing in the playoffs, which is good. That's what I want, for our team anyway."
Scola downplayed the rivalry talk and tonight's rematch, saying, "I think it's a little bit too soon to call it a rivalry. I jus tthink it's a good game because they are right behind us. It's a good game because we've got some little stuff that has been happening lately. Let's just say that. There's not so many things to call it a rivalry. Maybe in the future it can turn into a rivalry."
Love said he expects to be booed some tonight, but he's seen worse: When his UCLA team played at Oregon his only season there and he faced a homestate crowd furious that he didn't choose to play college ball there at home.
"That was horrible, nothing will ever top that," he said. "No matter, I've had far worse. It was crazy, throwing all sorts of things, hot dogs and popcorn and gum, at my family, calling them all sorts of names. My grandma who's 80 years old now -- she's going to get mad at me for telling her age -- they were calling her all sorts of stuff."
Love received death-threat messages on his cell phone that week.
"I feared for my family's safety," he said. "I blocked all that out."
He went out and had 26 points and 18 rebounds in a victory.
One other thing from shoot this morning:
Ricky Rubio didn't say why, but said after shootaround that he has decided not to participate in All-Star weekend's skills contest.
He said he's willing to help out teammate Derrick Williams in the dunk contest, but suggested he might not be needed because Williams has a few tricks of his own stashed away ready.