Greetings from Target Center.
With the Wolves back in town after a long road swing, and with the New York media in town with the Knicks, the crowd of media at this mornings Wolves shootaround was, as expected, immense.
Also as expected, much of the questions surrounded Kevin Love’s big month of February.
In particular, Love was asked, more than once, whether his wonderful February was the best month of his professional career.
“More than anything it was opportunity,” Love said. “A lot of guys have stepped up, not just myself. The fact that [Nikola Pekovic] and [Kevin Martin] were out, I had to do all that I could just to keep us kind of in the fight. So, yeah, I had a good February. I fought as hard as I could. Having those guys back makes us a better team. But, like I said, opportunity knocked for a lot of these guys and they were up to the challenge.”
We’ll know tonight just before game time whether that big month – one in which he averaged 34 points, 14.1 rebounds and three made three pointers per game – was enough to win him Western Conference player of the month honors. That will be announced tonight just before the 7 p.m. start.
“February was probably, statistically, my best month,” Love said. “But hopefully this month, as far as the team goes, will be a better record. I just tried to do all I could to make sure we could win games. I think a lot of other guys did, too. I’ve had great months of basketball, and that was right up there with one of the best.”
Perhaps surprisingly, there were not a lot of questions regarding Love’s future, a topic that has been hot all season. Love, of course, can opt out of his contract after next season, and speculation is already rampant on what will happen.
The Knicks are in a similar situation with forward Carmelo Anthony. The league’s second-leading scorer, Anthony can opt out of his contract after this season.
The one question Love was asked was whether contract speculation can become a distraction. “Yeah, but Carmelo is a pro,” Love said. “I think he’s probably not worried about it. I’m not worried about it. We just think more than anything, we want to get a win tonight. I don’t think it’s a distraction.”
Here are some other items from this morning:
--Ricky Rubio on the team’s current streak: “We just worry about [the] next game,” he said. “And that’s what we have been doing the last couple weeks. Maybe in the beginning of the season we’re looking too much to the future, and we weren’t focusing on what’s next. Now we have New York here at home. We just have to play good and try to win the next one.”
--Rubio on playing with Love in February: “Unbelievable,” he said. “He makes my job so easy. I never thought a player could play as good as he is doing and control everything – not just scoring and rebounding, assisting and defending much better.
--Rookie Shabazz Muhammad on his recent increase in playing time: “I’ve been playing and we’ve been winning, so I think that is something that is great,” he said. “I think all of us have a part in that. I’m just here and I want to win and make the playoffs. We’re making a pretty good run here.”