Tickling Love's funny bone
The Timberwolves' live-entertainment department primed the pump for Saturday's "The Game We've Been Waiting For" by introducing a dramatically produced scoreboard video played Wednesday night. The video promoted one by one every Cavaliers star until it got to its point and trumpeted the anticipated return of … Mike Miller?
The guy purposely left out of the video laughed genuinely and answered playfully when asked about the now-YouTubed video after his team's Friday morning practice.
"That's hilarious," Love said. "I thought it was really funny, 'cause Mike is one of those guys who wakes up every day and is like sunshine and blue skies. For them to do that is pretty good. Timberwolves P.R. is very funny, unlike ours now. I thought they did a very good job. That was fun."
That was then, this is…
Love claimed nothing stirred inside the first time he faced his former team, a Dec. 23 game at Cleveland that his Cavaliers won. But he predicted things would be different the first time he returned to Minneapolis, the city he called home for six seasons.
That time has come for a Cavaliers team that has churned out streaks either way — winning or losing — depending on when LeBron James has been healthy enough to play.
"I'm sure once I get there, it'll be a little different feeling," Love told reporters Friday morning. "Going into the visitors' locker room, going to the different bench … not staying at my apartment, staying at a different hotel."
A reception he expects
Somebody asked Love how he expected to be received by a Wolves fan base that's probably a bit split over his ambivalent defense and failure to carry the franchise to the playoffs once in six years and the franchise's failure to build a winner around him.
"Truthfully?" he asked before scrunching up his face and sounding, "Booooooo … Tomorrow will be one of those times they'll have a chance to tell me how they really feel."
Rattlin' the cage?
Love laughed at the Wolves' video, but might it inspire him?
"I'm hoping that doesn't unleash the beast," said former teammate Nikola Pekovic, "and he goes for 40 [points] and 20 [rebounds] or something."
Will he or won't he?
The Cavs lost nine of 10 games earlier this season when James was injured and have won nine consecutive following Friday's home victory over the Kings in which Love scored 23 points. James missed Wednesday's home victory over Portland because of a sprained right wrist and was doubtful for Friday's game but played anyway. You'd expect he'd play Saturday.
Wolves G Ricky Rubio (ankle), F Shabazz Muhammad (oblique) and F Robbie Hummel (hand) are listed as out. G Mo Williams (hip) probably won't play. Cavaliers F/C Anderson Varejao (Achilles' tendon rupture) is out for the season.