Monday, March 14, 2011

Kevin Love's Streak Getting No Respect

On Sunday night the Minnesota Timberwolves lost to the Golden State Warriors 100-77.  The game itself was not worth mentioning as both teams are incredibly irrelevant in terms of the playoffs and the entire league for that matter.  What is worth mentioning is that Timberwolves power forward Kevin Love finished the game with just 6 points and 12 rebounds which means that his streak of consecutive double-double games finally came to an end at 53.

Love's streak, which was the longest in franchise history and the longest in NBA history since 1973-1974 when Elvin Hayes recorded 55 straight double-doubles, never really got the attention I think that it merited.  The fact that Love could play so many games in a row and constantly have such an impact that he was putting up at least 10 points and 10 rebounds is astounding and really shows that he is an underrated player in the NBA.  He basically didn't have an "off game" for 2/3 of the season and had recorded a double-double in every Timberwolves game since November 19th, 2010.

During the streak Love averaged 21.8 points per game and an astounding 16.3 rebound per game.  On 9 separate occasions he posted a 20-20 game (meaning 20 points and 20 rebounds) at one point even doing it 3 games in a row.

Despite Love's statistical dominance the Timberwolves still managed to be absolutely awful going just 13-40 during the streak.  How you can only win 13 out of 53 games when one of your players is putting up an automatic double double a game is beyond me, oh wait their starting five last night featured the likes of Darko Milicic and Luke Ridnour now it makes perfect sense.

As for Love himself he told the Associated Press after the game that he was glad the streak had finally came to an end, "Now I can just focus on playing my game.  I was still doing it for myself, but a lot of it was for fans and everybody who wanted to watch me get those double doubles." 

Hopefully Love will now get the attention that he deserves and should have been receiving the entire time the streak was occurring.  Not once has he been mentioned on PTI or Around the Horn on ESPN and if you typed his name into Google News before Sunday night there was little to mention of his streak in any articles on the web.  Now if he played in a bigger market like New York or Los Angeles or was a bigger name in the league like LeBron James or Kobe Bryant this would be a much bigger story, but that's the reality of sports.

The craziest thing about the streak ending was how it ended.  Love was shut down by a Warriors team that is often ridiculed around the league for playing pathetic defense and focusing more on trying to outscore teams rather than shut them down.  And the player that put the clamps on Love was David Lee who like the rest of his team would be viewed as a defensive liability on most teams so the fact that he is the main reason the streak ends is somewhat interesting.

What's even more interesting is how far short Love came of breaking the All-time record for consecutive double-doubles.  That record is held by Wilt Chamberlain who record a double-double in an astonishing 227 consecutive games a streak that lasted from 1964 to 1967.  Chamberlain also is #2 and #3 on the all-time list with streaks of 220 and 133 respectively.

So yes Love never even came closing to breaking the all-time mark but his streak is still impressive and worthy of praise.  To do what he did in the modern NBA is nothing short of spectacular and to see that no one has been able to get to 50 in over 30 years really speaks to not only Love's great play but also the evolution of the league itself.

Think of all the great players that have been in the NBA over the past three decades and how none of them achieved what Love has.  Forwards and centers like Patrick Eewing, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Karl Malone, Charles Barkley Shaquille O'Neal, David Robinson, Larry Bird, Scottie Pippen, and Hakeem Olajuwon all put up a tremendous amount of double-doubles but never in a consecutive streak to match Love's.

Even guards like Jason Kidd, John Stockton, Steve Nash, Michael Jordan, Kevin Johnson, Tim Hardaway, Mark Jackson, Clyde Drexler and Magic Johnson couldn't compare to the consistency of Love.

That's what makes the streak so impressive and worthy of discussion.  It's the fact that he was so consistent every game that makes Kevin Love's streak eye opening.  He may never go down in NBA history as one of the greats but he will always be able to look back on this streak and say that he accomplished something only a few players ever have.

Random YouTube Video

No comments: