The San Antonio Spurs are one of the best defensive teams in the entire NBA, but somebody forgot to tell Kevin Love that.
Minnesota’s superstar forward went off against Tim Duncan and the Spurs to the tune of 42 points and 14 rebounds. Not only did he put up eye-popping numbers in a double-double effort, but he shot a blistering 8-of-9 from behind the three-point line, 15-of-27 from the field and hit all of his free throws.
It was the type of performance that only a handful of players in the entire world are capable of posting, which makes it incredible regardless of the fact that it was in a losing effort. The Timberwolves ultimately fell to San Antonio 117-110.
ESPN’s Stats & Info department was quick to point out that Love is no stranger to posting numbers like this.
Kevin Love: 5th career 40-point game. Career high is 51 points— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 14, 2013
Coming into the Dec. 13 showdown with the Spurs, Love was averaging nearly 24 points and 14 rebounds a night, while shooting 43.7 percent from the field, 35.2 percent from downtown and 82.6 percent from the charity stripe. There are few safer bets in the entire NBA than Love tallying a double-double while he is on the floor.
So what does this performance mean going forward for Love and the Timberwolves?
For one, it gives the squad confidence that it can lean on its best player against the elite squads in the NBA. Nobody questions Love’s ability, but it still raises the confidence level of the entire team to see its leader dominate such high-caliber competition. With the No. 8 seed still in sight for Minnesota, perhaps Love’s efforts will galvanize a run.
If nothing else, it proves the Timberwolves’ third-ranked scoring offense is capable of putting up big numbers against an elite defense if Love is clicking.
On the other end of the spectrum are the possibilities if Minnesota falls from the race. Timberwolves fans may not like it, but if Love continues to perform at such a high level he may draw the eyes of trade partners. ESPN’s Bill Simmons floated the idea of trading him to the Bulls before the season started, via Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report, and trade talks could heat up with performances like this one.
For now, though, Minnesota gets the chance to enjoy one of the game’s best players. It’s hard to ask for much more if he is posting these types of performances.