Kevin Love has basically been a model of consistency since his historic streak of 52 consecutive double-doubles began on November 22nd of 2010. While his current double-double streak stands at just three, never has Love played bigger than he has over these past three games… and he’s still Mr. Consistency.
Whilst leading his Timberwolves to three straight victories, Love has, in all three games, scored at least 25 points, grabbed 10 or more rebounds, knocked down no fewer than three long-range field goals, and thoroughly outplayed an All-Star-caliber counterpart. Twice in the last five days has Love gotten the best of Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge, and once LA’s Blake Griffin. Two completely different players, but Love has outshone the both of ‘em.
With last night’s 106-94 victory over Northwest Division rival Portland, Minnesota has moved into 8th place in the West. They knocked Portland down to 11th in the process, and climbed to within 2.5 games of the third-place Clippers, another team they’ve beaten over the past five days. Talk about a meaningful stretch of ball games, eh? That’s the Western Conference right now… it’s kind of like late April, except it’s the beginning of March.
I’m just going to cut to the chase: as of right now, Kevin Love has got to be a leading MVP candidate. He’s got to be. For those of you who disagree, let me ask you a question… who the hell else is gettin’ busy averaging 36.6 points and 14.3 rebounds in three straight victories over not only individual peers, but over teams that must be beaten? Think about it this way… if they drop those two games to Portland, the Blazers are in 8th and Minnesota’s in 11th. Take those two monster contests, sandwich a match up with the West’s third-place team in the middle, and consider a slumping Rubio and the absence of Pekovic (who completely occupies a defender in the paint) and you have what has EASILY been the most impressive and important three-game stretch of NBA basketball played by any individual this season. I mean, make no mistake about it… it’s Kevin Love making this sh!t happen. He’s opening the games (15 PPG in first quarters), and the closing the games (9 PPG in fourth quarters). He’s still scrapping for loose balls and scoring on the offensive glass, but he’s also being asked to play quite a bit of isolation basketball. Sometimes he looks his man in the eye and shoots it. Sometimes he drives by ‘em. Sometimes he does it with his back to the basket. While his one-on-one moves aren’t on par with the likes of, say, Dirk Nowitzki, he’s finding a way to put the ball in the basket when that’s where it needs to be put… plain and simple.
While my argument may strike you as a bit of an overreaction, consider how well Love has played all season long (4th in scoring, 2nd in rebounding, 45/37/83 percentages). I’m not making him a leading MVP candidate because he’s played three good games. I’m making him a leading MVP candidate because he’s led a team that won 17 games last season to a playoff position. Will I be able to say that at season’s end? That’s yet to be seen, but as the title points out, Kevin Love would be my 2012 NBA MVP if the season ended on March 8th. I suppose that doesn’t mean a whole hell of a lot, but I had to say something after these past three games. F@cking guy has been UN. REAL.
This post actually started out as a short blurb about how often Love is dunking these days. He got his 30th dunk today… had 22 all of last season. Just thought I’d throw that out there.