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Sunday night NBA grades: Kevin Love makes his All-Star statement against Griffin

Dec 23, 2013, 1:29 AM EDT

Minnesota Timberwolves v Los Angeles Clippers Getty Images

Our quick look around the NBA, or what you missed while reading about how Charles Dickens’ classic “Christmas Carroll” almost didn’t get published…

source:  Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves. Kevin Love is not going to own up to it, but this came off as a “are all of you really voting for Blake Griffin as an All-Star ahead of me?” game. Love was about 20,000 votes back of Griffin for the last starting spot in the West as of a week ago, with that motivate Love came out looking to dominate the power forward matchup Sunday — 45 points on 15-of-23 shooting, plus he pulled down 19 rebounds. (To be fair, Griffin had 32 points and 10 boards, not a bad night.) Love also fouled Griffin out, getting a charge call in OT. That Minnesota didn’t get Love the ball with the game on the line late in this game (Pekovic got the shots) is a crime.

source:  Los Angeles Clippers’ frontline defense. Love and Nikola Pekovic combined for 79 points on just 51 shots, plus pulled down 33 rebounds — that the Clippers won this game talks about getting some good play elsewhere and some luck (thank you Kevin Martin). The Clippers didn’t deserve this the way their front line defended but L.A. made fewer mistakes down the stretch.

source:  Kevin Martin, Minnesota Timberwolves. Minnesota just keeps losing close game after close game — and Martin was at the heart of this one. He had 16 points but he killed them with 6 turnovers. The big one was with 8 seconds to go in regulation and Minnesota up two — they wanted to get the ball in his hands because he is so good as a free throw shooter. Martin ran into the backcourt to recieve the pass, tried to dribble as the defense came to foul and slipped a little, when that happened he got picked clean by Chris Paul, who made a pass to Jamal Crawford for the game-tying dunk. It went to overtime and again the Timberwolves were up two with just more than three minutes left, Martin made a nice play to get an offensive rebound, then he tried a blind pass out top to get away from pressure and threw it away. Darren Collison picked it up, got the breakaway dunk and tied the game.

source:   Lance Stephenson, Indiana Pacers. How do you get a “B” grade when you have a triple-double? When you go hunting for it — he played a spectacular game for three quarters but missed six of his last seven shots and was making plays to go after it. The result was he needed 15 shots to get the 12 points to go with his 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Still, early in the game he was just destroying all things Boston, including Courtney Lee’s ankles.

  1. antistratfordian - Dec 23, 2013 at 2:03 AM

    You can’t really complain too much about Love not getting the ball when Pekovic put up 34-14 himself and made more shots than Love did – and scored most of their points in OT.

    On the final shot Pekovic had good deep position and got off a good shot. Love was standing around the three point line.

    • mytthor - Dec 23, 2013 at 2:32 AM

      It’s not pickup ball – if Love was at the arc it was because he was supposed to be. You make it sound like he went to the 3-point line because he didn’t want the ball down low.

      • antistratfordian - Dec 23, 2013 at 2:36 AM

        I didn’t make it sound like anything – you read it a certain way – I just stated a fact.

      • mytthor - Dec 26, 2013 at 10:55 PM

        If you meant nothing by adding the line about Love hanging around the 3 point line, then it was poor writing to just throw in random facts that don’t pertain to your core point. You’re either a poor writer or you’re being disingenuous.

      • antistratfordian - Dec 27, 2013 at 1:13 AM

        Lord knows that I would only agree with someone who called me a poor writer. But again, this is still about seeing what you want to see. I never said “hanging around” – you conjured that out of your subconscious – and to use that exact phrase would imply precisely what you want me to be implying. The only problem is that I didn’t use it.

        But you know what, it doesn’t matter either way because it’s still a criticism of Love if he was stationed there by design. The real issue then being why the Wolves would prefer not to go to their star PF in that situation, and would rather have him hanging around the three point line while they entrust the game to someone like Pekovic.

      • abchome - Dec 23, 2013 at 5:29 AM

        Love did look like he didn’t want the ball for the do or die possession.

  2. innovativethinking87 - Dec 23, 2013 at 4:21 AM

    Rubio with zero points playing nearly 40 freaking minutes? I don’t know why ppl sweat this kid. Very overrated. Dragic should get the attention this kid gets.

  3. valeb2012 - Dec 23, 2013 at 5:37 AM

    I’m surprised there was no mention of LaMarcus Aldridge being the best PF in the league. Kurt?

  4. chadley71 - Dec 23, 2013 at 7:16 AM

    lance Stephenson was only “going after it” in the last minute he was in the game. the triple double came within the flow of the game except the last 3 points. no credit EVER to the Pacers

    • davidly - Dec 23, 2013 at 11:22 AM

      It was his last couple of minutes and not just the last three points, but the last assist as well. It led to Granger’s only miss–which not coincidentally was a terrible shot. I’ve been a Pacer’s fan since the existence of dirt, and sure the game was all but over at that point and, yes, I too was rooting for Born Ready to get the triple–but I have to admit, I would have preferred he not throw up those couple of bricks to get it. It just kind of lent a clunkiness to an otherwise beautiful performance.

  5. cheathamhouse1 - Dec 23, 2013 at 8:25 AM

    Do you really think Kevin Love went into this game to prove he was better than Blake Griffin or to win the game? I don’t watch much Minnesota, but it seems from looking at the box score that they don’t have any balanced scoring…Rubio takes 4 shots (in 40 minutes), Brewer takes 5, Martin takes 12 (ok not bad), but combined that’s less shots than each of Love and Pek. I’m just asking because I don’t watch these guys a lot. Maybe they lose a lot of games because they don’t play defense? Is it just a shoot out? On paper, it seems to me that they need to spread the ball around and run more plays and focus more on D. Instead of having 2 guys take all of the shots, they should probably take a look at what the Phoenix Suns are doing…Hornecek (check spelling) has everyone is involved and they are winning games when no one expected. Personally, I don’t think this “Superstar” approach will win Min games. That really only works when you have a couple of superstars that really play D i.e. Lebron, etc…not just offensive shooters. Minnesota needs to find a way to win games…not worry about all star ballots and stats. I know this game was a close one and Martin made a mistake at the end that cost them the game, but the bottom line is that they aren’t even a .500 team right now and I don’t see anything changing in the future. I’m going to watch them more b/c maybe I’m missing something.

  6. tjgrizz - Dec 23, 2013 at 9:30 AM

    Love and Peck took all the shots b/c the interior D of the Clips is terrible and that was where Min had the advantage.

    • cheathamhouse1 - Dec 23, 2013 at 10:06 AM

      Makes sense. In general, I bet Doc is having a tough time getting these west coast players to play D first. Most of the west coast teams seem to have the offensive end of the court mastered, but that’s only good for the regular season and highlights. This is why the old dogs of the SAS can beat most of them anytime, anywhere…b/c they play team D.

  7. stayhigh_247 - Dec 23, 2013 at 9:43 PM

    I’m going to vote for K Love, now! This man is the truth.

  8. jerdogthompson - Dec 24, 2013 at 9:42 PM

    @chreatham

    That’s why the Spurs were used to mop the floors at Staples center RIGHT?

    All these posts are freaking childish, who won the game? Clippers that’s who. That’s all that MATTERS

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