November 13, 2010
At one point in the third quarter, Kevin Love leaned over to Michael Beasley on the bench and whispered in his ear.
"I'm going for 30 tonight," Love said.
With Love having only seven points at the time, Beasley looked at him and said, "Thirty what?"
"Thirty what?" Seriously? It's Kevin Love. Geez.
Love got his 30 -- rebounds -- in the Minnesota win over New York. Thirty-one of those caroms, actually, along with 31 points, and it's just a remarkable achievement even considering the fact that New York was playing a converted power forward (Amar'e Stoudemire(notes)) at center along with two small forwards up front. Thirty-one, my friends, is 31, and it's the first time in 28 years this has even happened in the NBA.
And even though we saw Love grab a few boards away from teammates (not too rudely, but we have noticed this aspect a couple of times a game in each of Minnesota's games), 31 is 31.
With that night, Love moves more than a half-rebound ahead of Chicago's Joakim Noah(notes) in the rebounds-per-game department. But as Henry Abbott detailed yesterday, looking at rebounds per game (while discussing season-long performance) in the NBA is nearly as silly as going to "fly balls caught, per game" in baseball or "carries, per game" in football. It's not about the raw numbers. It's about the amount of rebounds you pull in given the amount of chances that you're afforded.
Noah, who is having a fantastic season, is pulling in just over 20 percent of all available rebounds while he's on the court.
Love? Over 25 percent. Keep in mind that Noah's 20 percent would usually lead the league, and Dennis Rodman is the all time leader in this rate (rebound rate, if you will) at 23.4 percent.
Kind of makes you wonder if Timberwolves coach Kurt Rambis will deign to play Love more than the 29 1/2 minutes per game he's averaging on the season. Love (who isn't hampered by foul trouble, at 2.4 fouls per game) is averaging an astounding 18 points, 14.6 rebounds and nearly two assists in just under 30 minutes a game.
It should also be noted that this game wasn't even televised for Love's home fans. As a favor to them, here's some video evidence.