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Updated: February 14th, 2011 5:04pm
Love: 'As a player who wants to be a leader, I need to step up'

Love: 'As a player who wants to be a leader, I need to step up'

by Phil Mackey
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Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love wasn't thrilled about his team's two most recent losses -- at Indiana on Friday and home against Philadelphia on Saturday.

More specifically, Love wasn't happy with his own performance and demeanor.

"I let the emotions get the best of me [Saturday] night," Love told the Star Tribune. "I felt like I'd taken a step back as far as maturity."

"I let things bug me," he added. "I let missed shots bug me. I let different players on the offensive and defensive ends bug me. As a player who wants to be a leader, I need to step up and take that in stride and keep working through that. I don't think I did that [Saturday] night. So I wanted to come in and have a good attitude and work hard."

Love is averaging 21.3 points and 15.5 rebounds this season, and he will bring a 40-game double-double streak into Monday night's match-up at Target Center with the Portland Trailblazers.

The Wolves (13-41) looked somewhat impressive with back-to-back road wins against New Orleans and Houston last week, but they took a step back with double-digit losses to the Pacers and Sixers.

"These past two (losses) have bugged me more than any the whole season," Love said.

In fairness, the Wolves have been plagued by injuries lately. Martell Webster, Darko Milicic, Michael Beasley and Luke Ridnour have all missed time in recent weeks.

Love, 22, who has not suffered through losing seasons to this degree at any point in his basketball career prior to the NBA, apparently wants to be the one who steps up and takes more of a leadership role.

"You have to bring it every day, do all the right things in practice and everywhere else, so guys will follow you. If you want to tell someone they're wrong, you'd better be sure you're doing most, if not everything, the way it should be done."

Phil Mackey is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd