Kevin Love scored seven points in last night's 87-84 loss to Houston -- his third sub-10-point performance of December. While I understand that his healing broken hand might have something to do with his awful shooting (3-14 last night), I can't understand the lack of emotion he's playing with.
James Harden is a max-player, and he showed the world why right in Love's face as he drove past Love three times in the final five minutes of the game and scored easy layups. The effort provided by Love as the help-defender on each layup was basically worthless. Arvydas Sabonis, 48 and retired, would have looked more capable than Love.
Harden scored 17 points on 6-9 shooting in the fourth quarter. Love didn't scored in the fourth quarter. Love didn't scored in the third quarter. And he didn't score in the first quarter. Max-player?
What's worse is that Love and the Wolves didn't play a game Tuesday night. The Rockets did. Houston played like they were tired for the first 30 minutes of the game, but found a way to turn "it" on over the final 18 minutes. The Wolves, at home, in front of the third largest crowd in Target Center history, played without energy all night long.
Love's game and passion does not resemble that of last season. He's the leader of the team, and if he doesn't start playing like it the Wolves will be in trouble. This isn't the Eastern Conference, where 40 or fewer wins can get you into the playoffs.
It's going to take, in my opinion, a minimum of 44-46 wins to reach the postseason in the ultra-tough Western Conference, and blowing 14-point second half leads at home to teams you're racing against isn't the formula to getting in.