Everything is clicking for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Kevin Love early this season, from big shots, to even bigger numbers and most importantly non-stop winning so far, beating the New York Knicks 109-100 to keep their undefeated start going after their first game on the road.
Love is looking the way-too-early MVP of the league after another fantastic performance, scoring 34 points and bringing down 15 rebounds. He was struggling from outside the arc (2-of-8), but his tendency to take tough shots did work out well for him more than once, including his shot while taking a hit from Pablo Prigioni after steamrolling Carmelo Anthony, rewarding him with a high five from Spike Lee.
He’s averaging 29.7 points and 14.7 rebounds per game, which will subside at some point, but not by much, if the injury-free development of Love into a superstar and not just an efficient player continues.
The Knicks lost right from the start. They gave up 40 points in the first quarter, and the rest was a slow game of playing catch up. Carmelo Anthony did finish with 22 points and 17 rebounds, but there doesn’t seem to be a single bit of fluidity in the Knicks’ game, with different players coming in and out each time, while the lack of effort on defense from some players, something Mike Woodson has to be worrying about, just kills them on certain plays.
It wasn’t only Love the Knicks were struggling with, as Kevin Martin had his best game for the team. He scored 30 points on only 12 shots: He made 75% of his field goal attempts, including 5-of-5 from beyond the arc and 7-of-9 from the line. At his best, Martin is a slippery eel for defenders, but it only gets worse when the Knicks continue to hope that just by having Tyson Chandler on the floor things are going to get better.
Ricky Rubio had an off night when it came to his shooting and scoring: 3-of-11 from the field, scoring 8 points. He did however add 10 assists and 6 rebounds, and his ability to push and orchestrate the team, so far not having any clashes of authority with Kevin Martin who loves taking over the ball, is a big reason to why the Timberwolves have been this successful early on.
With such a performance from Love and Martin, there wasn’t a need for something special from anyone else. Nikola Pekovic had his double double with 11 points and 12 rebounds, and that was it. The Timberwolves are playing good, sometimes wild basketball, but they have a better defense than some people realize, and a star that’s almost an automatic 25-12 player without it coming at the expense of others.
This is such a fun team to play on. Nobody is trying to lead the league in scoring here. Everybody has the big picture of getting to the playoffs. We don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves because of the injuries. So don’t want to live in the past, don’t want to live too far in the future, we just want to try to plan for Cleveland tomorrow.