We’ve all been inundated with Kevin Love stats of late in the wake of his great start. But, for all of them, one stat stuck out. Last night Love scored 33 points with eight rebounds, six assists and zero turnovers. And he only needed 16 shots to get to those 33 points. According to a tweet by @statcenter, no other player in modern NBA history has done a 33-8-6-0 with less than 20 field goals attempted.
Yes, this is another stat might be rather arcane. But I think it speaks to the efficiency with which Love is playing at the moment. He’s second in the league in scoring and I don’t remember him taking too many bad shots.
That, coupled with his willingness and ability to pass the ball, has made him even more formidable.
“He’s really taking that on,” Wolves coach Rick Adelman said after today’s practice. “Every good player or great player in this league gets better every year at something new. They just don’t do one thing and that’s all they do. I think that was his next step, to be a facilitator.’’
Love, meanwhile, said he tries hard not to take much notice when folks start comparing him to Moses Malone and the like.
“It’s definitely flattering to hear those names,” he said. “Guys I grew up either watching or studying tape or just trying to emulate in my back yard. But, more than anything, I’m just excited about winning.”
--Yet another stat: There have been seven first quarters in which 38 or more points have been scored in the league this season. The Wolves have four of them.
--Meanwhile, Kevin Martin was back at practice today and is full-go for tomorrow’s game in Denver. He watched Wednesday’s game on TV and said the way the team played may have cured him. “I started feeling better after the first half last night,” he said. “The team made me feel a lot better.’’
-And yet another stat, tweeted out by Wolves play-by-play man Alan Horton last night. Ricky Rubio had a career-high 16 assists last night. Every one of them resulted in either a three-pointer or a shot from within three feet of the basket.
That is making your team better. It’s not like Rubio was picking up cheap assists by throwing the ball to someone for a 17-footer.
“I just liked the way he played last night,” Adelman said. “He picked and chose his spots. He had a good rhythm to the game as far as the flow for us. He got us up and down the court. There’s times when he tries too hard to make something happen. Last night, I think he just saw what was there and he took it and found the right people. He’ll grow and figure that out more and more as the season goes on.”
-- Robbie Hummel proved Wednesday how important it is for a player to be ready when an opportunity comes along, scoring 10 points in his first NBA start with Martin ill.
“I was proud of Robbie,” Martin said. “The journey he took to get here, and then get an opportunity like that? I was a proud big brother for Robbie last night. That’s why you work hard in practice. You could be the 12th man one night and the sixth man the next. You have to be ready for your opportunity, like Robbie was last night.’’
--One final item: The Wolves expect Chase Budinger to return from Florida this weekend so they can monitor his recovery from October knee surgery here. Budinger has been rehabilitating in Pensacola, Fla., and jogging on a treadmill there, but is not yet cleared or close to practicing with the team or playing, president of basketball operations Flip Saunders said.