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Sunday night NBA grades: Kevin Love can defend, too

Dec 16, 2013, 1:05 AM EDT

Philadelphia 76ers v Minnesota Timberwolves Getty Images

Our quick look around the NBA, or what you missed while laughing at LeBron James’ recent outfit

source:  Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves. He could be here for the 30 points on 21 shots. He could be here for the 9 rebounds (which is a little off his pace a little), But he is here because a guy much maligned for his defense did a good job on Zach Randolph in the post and that was the real key to slowing the Memphis attack (Z-Bo was 7-of-19 on the night and while he got 20 he really had to work for them).

source:  Memphis Grizzlies defense. Last season this team was a defensive force, this season not so much. They have not been good on that end all season but it is just getting worse. Sunday night they gave up 113.5 points per 100 possessions to Minnesota. In their five games (four of them losses) the Grizzlies have allowed 113.4 points per 100 possessions, which is the worst in the NBA over the that stretch. That will not get it done.

source:  Rudy Gay, Sacramento Kings. Give the man some credit for a fairly efficient night in his home debut in Sacramento — 26 points on 10-of-20 shooting. More than that his shots were not forced (most were good looks) and he had five rebounds, four steals and four assists. The Kings don’t beat the Rockets without him.

source:  Eric Bledsoe, Phoenix Suns. Stephen Curry tried but he doesn’t have the quickness to stay in front of Bledsoe, who racked up 24 points on 16 shots, plus added 8 rebounds and 8 assists. Bledsoe and Goran Dragic are a very underrated combo in the backcourt — they played Curry and Klay Thompson toe-to-toe. Five wins in a row for the Suns and Bledsoe has been key for that stretch.

  1. muhangis - Dec 16, 2013 at 5:25 AM

    Love is a generally better defender than given credit for.

    • khadeemw - Dec 16, 2013 at 9:00 AM

      hes horrible on defense lets be honest…i hate when starts get treated like they are good at everything….Kevin Love is the best rebounder in the game and is a good shooter….but by no means is he even an average defender

      • timberwolvesbrisin - Dec 16, 2013 at 10:18 AM

        He’s below average, not horrible. He’s a decent team defender, but not that good individually. He plays very well defnsivley at times, others not so much. So on par he’s slightly below average. If you consider defense rebounding, a part of defense, than he clearly is a bove average, as he is reposnible for ending many possesions.

    • antistratfordian - Dec 16, 2013 at 11:02 PM

      Well yeah, because he’s given 0 credit. So his defense is better than non-existent – but not by much.

  2. urodaddy07 - Dec 16, 2013 at 7:41 AM

    He has to be in the argument of who is the best PF in the game right now. He gets my vote

    • cheathamhouse1 - Dec 16, 2013 at 8:21 AM

      Let’s talk at the end of the season…I expect teams to finally start preparing for this anomaly of a 6-10 PF looking to shoot 3’s. Once opposing teams take away his shooting space as Boris Diaw FINALLY did on the high screen and roll during the SAS game, KL will shoot a bad shot because he doesn’t have enough athleticism to go around the defender or create space with lateral movement…he’ll just try to bump you to create the space. Notice that he didn’t score the last 6 minutes of the game vs. SAS. Hey, I’m not hating on the guy…he’s a good player…17-20 pts a game…damn good for the NBA. It’s just that now, he’s surprising a lot of teams with all of these 3’s. Further, this formula of the Wolves will not work in the playoffs even if they get there. You live by the 3…you know the rest. That’s why Golden State will never win a championship…just good entertainment for the regular season and some playoff scares. But the Wolves don’t have enough teamwork to get out of the first round with REAL D in their face…I mean I saw a game where Martin took 6 shots…

    • khadeemw - Dec 16, 2013 at 9:07 AM

      In the argument ok. But LeMarcus to me is clearly better. Hes a better post player, defender, and hes no a slouch on the boards either. Most importantly you can run the offense through and he’ll draw double teams. That much cannot be said about K Love. K Love is good in the pick and pop game with Rubio and Barea, but hes not particuarly adept at creating his own shot in the post. He doesnt have a great hook, turnaround jumper, or the very common baseline spin that the best post guys (Duncan, Aldridge, Bynum, Melo, West, Dirk, and Lopez) all seem to have. LeMarcus is adept in the pick and pop/roll, low post, and high post.

      • timberwolvesbrisin - Dec 16, 2013 at 10:20 AM

        It is Lamarcus.

        But what are you watching? Love doesnt get double teams? LOLOLOL. And he gets many of his points on his little hook shot, post up move.You sir, are either ignorant, ot just a fool.

      • dntoupin - Dec 16, 2013 at 10:45 AM

        You obviously do not watch Kevin love very often.

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