Wednesday night's heartbreaking 104-103 loss to the Phoenix Suns was particularly tough to stomach. Playing on national television, with a chance to climb above .500, they fell victim to a game-winning jumper from Phoenix swingman Gerald Green with 3.9 seconds remaining.
In the aftermath of yet another gut-wrenching loss, Love went to the media and called out his teammates, J.J. Barea and Dante Cunningham, for sulking on the bench instead of joining the team during timeouts in the fourth quarter.
Per Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press:
Love: "We can't have 2 guys sitting at the end of the bench that play good mins just sitting there and not getting up during TOs ... ".— Jon Krawczynski (@APkrawczynski) January 9, 2014
Love: "We all need to be in this together. That kind of pisses me off. We're supposed to be a team."— Jon Krawczynski (@APkrawczynski) January 9, 2014
Love: "If and when I did that last year when maybe I didn’t sit out for the game for all 48 minutes ... They would’ve aired me out."— Jon Krawczynski (@APkrawczynski) January 9, 2014
That last quote is reference to the criticisms Love faced last season when he didn't join the team while rehabbing from injury, according to Krawczynski. Neither Barea nor Cunningham was injured. Both played in the game, though not much in the fourth.
Love and Barea have a somewhat checkered history...to put it mildly. This is the second incident to occur in the last two weeks.
Per Krawczynski, Barea was angered by Love's comments after a Dec. 30 loss to the Dallas Mavericks. Love let it be known to the press that the Wolves' bench play was unacceptable after the second unit scored a meager five combined points in the 100-98 loss. Incidentally, it was Barea who scored all five of those points.
The problems between Love and Barea go at least as far back as the 2011-12 season, Barea's first with Minnesota, when the two players had to be separated toward the end of a March 18, 2012, loss to the Sacramento Kings.
Clearly these two have issues. For the sake of the team, they should have it out in private. Instead, Love and Barea are airing their grievances for all to see. And when two teammates fight in public, there are no winners.