The most annoying thing for Kevin Love while being a member of the Dream Team in the London Olympics was being the only one on the roster without a playoff appearance. The arrival of Kevin Martin and a healthy Ricky Rubio might be the biggest reasons why that is finally going to change.
The Minnesota Timberwolves didn’t get too much from Rubio who is going through something of a rough patch, but still had enough firepower from their two leading scorers in order to beat the Dallas Mavericks 116-108. Kevin Love had 32 points, 15 rebounds and 8 assists while Kevin Martin scored the same amount of points. The Timberwolves, like the Mavs, have their issues on defense, but they’re very hard to stop from scoring points, especially when their outside shooting (40% this time) is working well.
Kevin Love is having one special start to the season, averaging 27.2 points and 14.7 rebounds, finishing with a double double in every game so far. He is the first player in NBA history to average at least 27 points, 14 rebounds and 5 assists through a team’s first 6 games of the season. He’s the fourth player the last 20 seasons with at least 160 points and 80 rebounds in his team’s first 6 games as well and the first since Kevin Garnett in 1999.
It’s never bad to play one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA. The Mavs might have been on a roll with Monta Ellis, scoring 23 points, but they’ve allowed 108 points per game so far this season, giving up less than 100 only once this season.
Even without Ricky Rubio having a special day (only 6 points on 2-of-8 from the field), Love is feeling confident enough to take over Rubio’s role as well. His passing and vision seem to be great, and especially his willingness to share the ball. With Kevin Martin on the floor, there might be less pressure on Love to actually try and score on every possession, showing off his vision and passing skills, including his full-court assist to Corey Brewer, showing some impressive quarterback skills.
The guy can throw a chest pass 100 yards. He should be an NFL quarterback and he can throw chest passes to the receivers.
The Timberwolves look at their roster and see a better, deeper team than last year. Corey Brewer isn’t the same player they once drafted, getting better through the years, especially during his time with the Denver Nuggets. He scored 17 points and is making the disappointment from Derrick Williams and Shabazz Muhammad be forgotten. Nikola Pekovic might not be the all-star center he might think he is, but as a third or fourth scoring option he’s a wonderful asset to have.
Healthy and with improved defense, Minnesota have every right to think about the playoffs. The Mavs? A similar team to Minnesota, built on a talented shooting guard and a stretch four, only a bit older and less talented all-around. At the end of the day, when you can’t get a single stop when you need it against a very similar team, all the talk of playoffs and building a championship team doesn’t seem like something too serious.