Love Selected To Western Conference All-Star Team





Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

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A year ago Timberwolves forward Kevin Love received word he made the Western Conference All-Star team as an injury reserve for Yao Ming while with his team in Toronto, his chances of making the squad very much in doubt.

This year, there was no question. Love was selected to his second straight All-Star Game on Thursday and will be in Orlando for the Feb. 26 event.

NBA coaches voted on the reserves, meaning Love was selected by those who must compete against him on a nightly basis. He said that makes the selection a little sweeter.

“This year I’ve really settled into my position and my status in the league, and I just want to keep getting better,” Love said. “I feel like it’s a tremendous honor, especially being picked by the coaches, and like I said keep working on my game, keep helping this team win, and if I do that everything else will come.”

It’s been a whirlwind year for Love, who signed a four-year extension with the Timberwolves in January, was selected as a finalist for the 2012 U.S. Olympic basketball team and is currently top 5 in some of the most influential statistical categories in the league. Love is first in double-doubles (22), free-throws made (175) and minutes (39.4 MPG), second in rebounding (13.7 RPG) and fourth in scoring (25.0 PPG).

He scored a season-high 39 points and added 12 rebounds against Houston on Jan. 23 and sank the game-winning 3-pointer as time expired in the Wolves' 101-98 win at the Los Angeles Clippers on Jan. 20. Love started the season with eight-straight games of 20-plus points and 12-plus rebounds, the longest streak to start a season in the NBA since Kareem Adbul-Jabbar’s 10 consecutive to start the 1975-76 season.

Love has recorded seven 30-point, 10-rebound games this season. No other player has recorded more than four such games. He also has 19 20-point, 10-rebound games this year—10 more than the next highest total.

During the NBA on TNT All-Star Reserve selection show, on-air personalities including Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley had Love as their top selected reserve across the NBA. Love said getting that type of recognition from some of the greatest players in league history was also a big compliment.

“I’ve had a great season thus far—I attribute that a lot to the coaching staff and my teammates and my coaches helping me through the season,” Love said. “To me, it’s definitely a big deal seeing my name at the top of everybody’s list, so I was very happy about that because I’ve put in a lot of work in these first 3 ½ seasons. And I don’t have any intentions on stopping.”

Part of what makes the accomplishment special is the fact that the Wolves are winning. Minnesota is 13-13 this season and, along with Love’s contributions, have gotten big seasons from key newcomers like Ricky Rubio and Derrick Williams. Love said having those two selected to the Rising Stars Challenge on All-Star Weekend’s Friday night.

Love is the second player in franchise history to make more than one All-Star Game appearance, joining Kevin Garnett (10 appearances). Tom Gugliotta, Wally Szczerbiak and Sam Cassell all made one appearance as a Timberwolves player. Love recorded two points and four rebounds in 12 minutes during the 2011 NBA All-Star Game at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.

He said it will be tough to crack into the starting lineup in future games with Blake Griffin and Kevin Durant being worthy forwards for the two spots for years to come, but he’s up to the challenge in trying to make the leap to an All-Star starter.

“Guys like Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin, those are guys that I sign onto NBA.com and vote for,” Love said. “If that’s the case, I think they’re always going to make it. Everyone loves to see Blake play because he’s a high-wire act and Kevin Durant’s game speaks for itself. So those are guys that warrant starting positions for the West for many years to come. But who’s to say? I might sneak into the starting nod one year. Who knows?”

No question Love, who lost 25 pounds in the offseason and said he learned a lot about game preparation from being at last year’s All-Star game, will continue doing what it takes to be a perennial All-Star.

“It means a lot to me, especially this now being my second year,” Love said. “I’m looking forward to going down there and playing in Orlando.”

Show Kevin your All-Star Love!

Wolves fans can celebrate Kevin Love being named to play in his second All-Star Game by taking advantage of a special ticket offer. Fans can buy an upper level ticket for the Feb. 10 game vs. Dallas and receive a FREE ticket to the Feb. 15 game vs. Charlotte. To purchase tickets, call the Kevin Love hotline at 612-673-1640. Offer expires Feb. 10 at 3:00 p.m.


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