Kevin Love sets record for most consecutive double-doubles since 1976
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MINNEAPOLIS -- It was by no means Willis Reed limping on the court for the 1970 NBA Finals or Kirk Gibson hitting a pinch hit home run on two bad legs in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.
But for a 15-win NBA team desperate to become relevant and a Minnesota fan base desperate for something to cheer about, Kevin Love surpassing Moses Malone for the longest double-double streak since the NBA/aba merger on a bum knee was pretty cool.
Love was listed as a game-time decision after suffering a knee contusion earlier in the week and he wasn't even announced as a starter until right before tip-off of the Minnesota Timberwolves' 101-75 dismantling of the Indiana Pacers Wednesday night.
"It was a flip of the coin (on if I played), to be honest with you," Love said. "I really didn't think I was going to be able to play because of how stiff my knee was."
Love put the finishing touches on his 52nd doubled-double at the free throw line with 6:51 left in the first half and received a rare standing-ovation from the Target Center, many of whom took advantage of tickets priced at $4.20 and $42.00 in honor of Love's jersey number 42.
"They have been great all year. I'll be their MVP any day," Love said about the announced crowd of 15,153.
He went on to finish with 16 points and 21 rebounds in 27 minutes.
It was the 27th time Love secured a double-double by halftime this season but was the first time he did it on one leg.
After the game, true to form, Love was a lot more excited about the team victory than his individual accolades.
"It was bigger than the double-double streak," Love said. "We needed a win and we needed a win in big fashion."
Love could have played it safe and sat out without jeopardizing the streak. The streak would have remain intact had he never got off the bench and he would have lived to fight another day.
There has been lots of discussion if Love's mark of 52-consecutive double-doubles is a 'streak' or a 'record.' It is a record for the most since the NBA/ABA merger in 1976 but he is still two full seasons worth of consecutive doubled-doubles before he breaks Wilt Chamberlain's all-time record of 227 straight.
"If you are looking at the grand scheme of things, you have to look at the 227 by The Big Dipper Wilt the Stilt," Love said. "He was something special. It's not like I have my eyes set on that. I am pretty happy in 2011 with where I am at with 52 double-doubles."
Love's streak started on Nov. 22 after he was held scoreless against the Los Angeles Lakers in what he said was the worst game of his career.
Since then the streak has faced its fair-share of scrutiny and criticism from critics and opponents who say Love cares more about his personal stats than he does the team's win-loss record.
Love recently replied to these claims by saying, "That is their opinion," Love said. "If it was a shot at me in anyway then I say they don't know (expletive)."
The knee contusion isn't the only adversity the streak has faced. Ever since it grew to a number worth counting, opposing teams have been gunning for Love in hopes they be the team that ends the streak. Love said some teams have even come up to him during the game telling him they are going to snap the streak.
But through it all, the streak continues, and will be on the line Friday night against the Utah Jazz as Love pushes towards The Stilt's record -- but he won't bite.
"There are unbreakable records in this league and that is one of them."