Despite a bruised knee suffered in practice this week, Minnesota Timberwolves Kevin Love looked to set the NBA record for most consecutive double-doubles against the Indiana Pacers tonight. Love tied Moses Malone’s all-time record since the ABA/NBA merger of 51 consecutive double-doubles on Monday versus the Dallas Mavericks. Despite Love’s valiant efforts, the Wolves still lost 108-105. The Wolves looked to snap their current three game losing streak against the Pacers, who are also on a four game losing streak.
The Wolves took an early 10-7 lead after the Pacers missed ten consecutive shots, which included Pacers Danny Granger going 0-7 from the field. Midway through the first quarter, the Pacers were shooting 10% from the field. Love’s knee was bothersome for him in the first quarter, as he sat with four minutes left in the quarter. Love had 6 rebounds but was 0-3 from the field. After one quarter of play, the Wolves led 27-19.
In the second quarter, Love continued to hobble around on one knee but his consecutive three point plays with 8:25 left in the quarter, gave him 9 points and 8 rebounds and the Wolves a 41-24 lead. With 6:51 to play, Love stepped to the foul line and hit his first free throw to break Moses Malone’s record and notch his NBA record 52nd consecutive double-double to a standing ovation at the Target Center. It was a great moment for Love, the Wolves organization and their fans – as Love stepped off the foul line and gave an appreciative thank you to the boisterous crowd. Prior to the game tonight, Love talked about the importance of the streak, “It (the streak) means a lot to the fans so therefore, it means a lot to me.” The crowd reciprocated early and often – by applauding vociferously every time Love grabbed a rebound and inched closer to the streak in the second quarter.
The Pacers continued to struggle as they shot an abysmal 25% from the field. Pacers Tyler Hansbrough led their team in scoring with 11 points and 4 rebounds. Love anchored the Wolves with 10 points and 12 rebounds as the Wolves took a 50-40 lead into halftime.
In the third quarter, the Wolves continued to pour it on as they extended their lead to 66-44 midway through the quarter. After Love grabbed his 21st rebound, Wolves Luke Ridnour’s three point shot in the corner gave the Wolves their largest lead of the night, 73-47. Along with the rest of the Pacers, Granger also continued to struggle with his shot as he went 1-16 from the field with eight points. After three quarters, the Wolves led 79-56.
The Wolves bench continued to sustain the lead in the fourth quarter, as Wolves’ forwards Anthony Randolph and Anthony Tolliver both led the way with 14 points a piece. Randolph, who was questionable tonight with the flu, provided a spark with a couple of nice assists and Tolliver went 2-4 from the three-point line. The Wolves ran away with the game; as they went on to defeat the Pacers, 101-75.
Congratulations go out to NBA All-Star Kevin Love for accomplishing this rare feat tonight. He finished this historic game on one healthy knee; a la Willis Reed, with 16 points and 21 rebounds. Even though the Wolves have struggled to a 16-50 record, Love gave the Wolves some positive national media attention during this streak. He showed a lot of class and consistency as he was able to handle all of the pressure of the streak all season long. Like how his streak of double-doubles garnered great attention worldwide, Love will continue to provide optimism to Wolves fans as he will be the building block for this franchise for years to come.
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Written by Phil Aguila