On Wednesday, Kevin Durant and the Thunder played the Minnesota Timberwolves to an epic overtime standoff, which only ended when one of the worst starters in the NBA botched a free throw with seven seconds left. This led to a messy tangling underneath the basket, and several disgusting attempts at winning the game by players who had no right to even try.
The franchise in Minneapolis is in desperate need for some good news. Forbes just ranked the Timberwolves as the penultimately least valuable NBA franchise, almost $7 million last year in the red on operating income. For ownership, being two points behind with two free throws coming must've looked pretty good, in retrospect. Unfortunately, Corey Brewer was taking the shots.
Upon gaining an offensive rebound on Corey Brewer’s miss, Kevin Love’s deferment of that game-winning post shot might be one of the budding star’s most egregious “basketball IQ” errors in his career. But the dude will get better with time. After last night, he may stop making that mistake. Love’s play last night was absolutely sublime, and this might be the first game that has made many of us realize his consistent greatness.
Considering Durant’s nearly legendary effort (and more importantly, winning), it’s not surprising that Love is being overlooked. And considering that he received a hard no-call on that last possession (where the officials called the foul sending Brewer to the line), I’m sure it makes the days after such a competitive game even more difficult.
But instead, many major sporting outlets in the country is calling for Kevin Durant to be considered for MVP again. Durant had an ethereal night, sure, but he only played that well because he wasn’t getting as much help as he needed. Russell Westbrook’s shooting was mediocre and he committed eight turnovers. Jeff Green performed Jeff Greenly.
Love, on the other hand, was part of a team effort by the Timberwolves, likely their best game of the season. Love shot and hit 3 three-pointers, and shot 56% total, collected 21 rebounds (8 offensive)... but whatever: Durant! Through the incredible play of Love and Michael Beasley, there are signs that – perhaps next year – the Timberwolves will be contending for a playoff spot. Maybe. Instead: another loss, another laugh at Kurt Rambis’ poor imitation of Phil Jackson, Beasley’s past drug issues, Ricky Rubio being a baby.
Last night, nobody was thinking about any of that: all we saw was Durant, Love and Beasley, and one of the best games of the season that nobody watched.