Prior to Love's performance, the last NBA player to grab more than 30 rebounds and score at least 30 points was Moses Malone, who scored 32 and grabbed 38 boards as a Houston Rocket against the Seattle Supersonics in 1982.
The last time an NBA player grabbed more than 30 rebounds was when Charles Barkley grabbed 33 back in 1996.
Love seemed to be amazed by his work. “It seemed like no matter what anybody did I was going to go and get those rebounds. I don’t know what to tell you,” Love said after the game. “I impressed myself. I don’t even know what to say to be honest with you.”
The significance of Love’s accomplishment was not lost on teammate Michael Beasley, who also turned in a spectacular performance himself by scoring 35 points and grabbing six rebounds.
“Thirty years from now I can say I was on the floor while history was being made,” Beasley said. “It’s great. It’s amazing. Every rebound came off to the guy. 20 and 20 is one thing. But 30 and 30?”
Unfortunately for most Timberwolves fans, they were unable to see the game as it was not shown locally in the Twin Cities market.
The Timberwolves also had one of their best comebacks in team history, as they were down by 21 points early in the third quarter.
In the third quarter, Love simply took over the game, scoring 11 points and grabbing 15 boards as the Wolves began to cut into the Knicks' lead.
Minnesota opened the fourth quarter with a 10-0 run, and grabbed its first lead in the second half at 90-87 following a Corey Brewer three-pointer.
The game was a clear example of how a team can take advantage of its opponent’s weakness.
Minnesota is decimated at point guard with injuries to Jonny Flynn and Luke Ridnour. The Wolves started Sebastian Telfair at the point guard spot with Sundiata Gaines, signed less than 12 hours prior to the game, serving as his backup.
The Knicks took advantage and scored nearly 30 points from the point guard spot in the first half.
The Wolves gave the Knicks a taste of their own medicine when Amar'e Stoudemire got into foul trouble in the second half. With Ronny Turiaf, the Knicks' only rebounding force besides Stoudemire, out injured, the Knicks got cold and shot 28 percent in the second half. Love then took over the glass on both ends.
Stoudemire took the blame for the Knicks collapse. “It’s definitely tough,” Stoudemire said. “But this just goes on my shoulders. I take this loss on me. I got in foul trouble. Once I got in foul trouble, they took advantage of that.”
Love reached 31 points in style by putting down a three from the top of the key to give Minnesota an 111-99 lead. Minnesota fans showed their appreciation by giving Love a standing ovation when he was pulled in the final two minutes.
Coach Kurt Rambis was at a loss for words. “Kevin had an incredible game. Those numbers are just stupid,” Coach Rambis said. “I don’t even know what to say.”
Love’s performance was not an isolated freak occurrence, as he grabbed 24 rebounds against the defending NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers earlier this season. Love has now grabbed more than 15 rebounds more four times this season after his performance against the Knicks.
Love will want to hear his coach say that he has now solidified his long-term role in the starting lineup.
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