Photo - Hannah Foslien (Getty images)
By: Joe Perovich | KFAN
Nearly 20 years after provoking Reggie Miller courtside, the prideful Spike Lee spent Sunday’s game between the Timberwolves and the Knicks showcasing humility, not feigning ignorance to what the NBA’s leading scorer is putting forth on a nightly basis.
Effectively keeping the New York Knicks at bay, Kevin Love successfully knocked down a well-defended and well-earned jumper with just 3:18 remaining in the fourth quarter. He trotted back to the defensive end after extending his team’s lead, but not before extending his hand out to the award-winning director who had no choice but to give credit where credit was due.
The Minnesota Timberwolves defeated the Knicks 109-100 at Madison Square Garden on Sunday night, cementing the franchise’s most successful start to a season since the 2001-02 campaign. How to characterize this success? It’s a sprint, not a marathon.
The Timberwolves scored 40 points in the first quarter of Sunday’s game, bringing their average points scored in the first quarter of their small, three-game sample size to 37.3. For reference, the Los Angeles Clippers are second best at 30.0, and the 7.3-point average that differentiates the two teams is the biggest separation between any two teams in the NBA thus far. Need further elaboration? The Timberwolves averaged a 14th ranked 24.7 points in the first quarter last season.
Kevin Love headlined the team’s third win with 34 points, 15 rebounds, and 5 assists. Advanced stats reveal Kevin Love’s versatility, that is, if it’s not apparent enough already. He is shooting a staggering 54% from the left wing three-point zone, paired with a 64% conversion rate at the rim.
Love’s night was impressive, but perhaps not as satisfying as Kevin Martin’s.
Martin made all five of the three pointers he attempted, and went 9/12 on shot attempts as a whole. He finished with 30 points, and was +26 in the plus/minus column. The newly acquired shooting guard needed a performance such as this after dampening some of his own buzz in the first two games, submitting a less-than-advertised 29% from three-point land, and 33% field goal percentage overall.
On the Knicks side, last season’s scoring champion Carmelo Anthony was visibly frustrated all night. He was 8-22 on shot attempts, almost half of which came during the Knicks impressive comeback attempt in the fourth quarter. The reigning scoring champion never was able to find his groove. The odds of this being the effect of watching someone on the same floor take a stab at dethroning the title he’s trying to defend are pretty unlikely, but why not be facetious and mention it anyway?
As premature as it is, Kevin Love is the NBA’s current leading scorer at 27.9 ppg.
Amare Stoudemire isn’t the player he once was, but his absence was felt greatly as the Knicks were brutally outplayed in the paint by Minnesota’s bruisers, Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic.
Tyson Chandler’s athleticism and Andrea Bargnani’s range frustrated the offensive-oriented Pekovic at points on the defensive end, but it was not enough to will their team to victory when the game drew to its final close. The Timberwolves are making the small/mid market stereotypes into their own, personal punch line, laughing at the perceived inability to compete with the organizations that can dangle not only money, but also bright lights and beaches.
If the Timberwolves weren’t already on the national radar, that time is coming. Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Spike Lee, as already mentioned, were in attendance Sunday night.
The stars come out to see the stars. On Sunday night, the stars couldn’t be found on the home team.
When you accuse a man of choking, you can’t possibly make excuses to belittle a man who kept his team from choking. Spike Lee knows this. And soon, everyone will.
Yes, even you LaMarcus Aldridge.