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Thursday, March 29th, 2012 at 8:15 am  |  113 responses

Post Up: Love Abuse

Kevin won’t stop, plus wins for the Knicks, Clips, Spurs and Bulls.

by Eldon Khorshidi | @eldonadam

Rise and shine, SLAM fam. Our man Abe had some business to handle last night, so it’s me—Eldon Adam Khorshidi—holding down TPU this morning. With 10 games and plenty of storylines to dissect, there’s no need for a cute intro, so let’s do this…

Knicks 108, Magic 86

Holy Mike Woodson! A few hours after receiving word that Amar’e Stoudemire’s back was still intact, the Knicks continued their recent success, winning their eighth game in nine tries with a 108-86 thrashing of the Magic. Orlando won the first and fourth quarters with a combined +13 differential, but was outscored 65-30 in the middle two quarters, which obviously didn’t pan-out well for them. New York was sans Jeremy Lin (knee) and Stoudemire, but Carmelo Anthony, who was hampered by a groin injury of his own and played with a noticeable limp, put up 25 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists in only 26 minutes. Rookie Iman Shumpert poured in a career-high 25, Steve Novak had 16 and Baron Davis hit em’ with a smooth 11-7-6 line to propel NY to an easy dub. The turning, er, runaway point of the game came in the third quarter, when New York scored 21 straight points and went up by…39(!). Jameer Nelson led the Magic with 17 points, but honestly who cares about that when Dwight Howard scores 12 points on only seven shots. Seven shots!? You opted-in for seven shots? C’mon, fam! Arguably worse, however, was Dwight (and the Magic’s) rebounding effort, or lack thereof, as Howard grabbed only 5 boards and his team got killed on the glass, 49-34, by a very undersized Knicks squad (Melo started at power forward). With the win, the Knicks are above .500 (26-25) for the first time since mid-January, and are now within 2.5 games of Philly and Boston for first place in the Atlantic Division.

Timberwolves 88, Bobcats 83

Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? The Bobcats, that’s who!

The Wolf, formally known as Kevin Love, continued his March Abuse Tour, scoring 40 points and grabbing 19 rebounds, while Ricky Rubio Luke Ridnour dished out a season-high 14 assists and Anthony Toliver recorded his first double-double of the year (11 points, 11 rebounds) to help Minny (25-27) get within 2.5 games of the West’s final playoff spot.

With his team leading 68-65 entering the fourth, Love quickly stretched the lead to nine with back-to-back threes, and scored 14 in the final stanza to help the Wolves escape with the win. Corey Maggette led Charlotte with 22 points, and Kemba Walker chipped in 20 points off the bench. With starter DJ Augustin’s atrocious play of late (0-4, zero points in this one), it wouldn’t surprise me if Paul Silas makes the switch to Kemba in the near future. Meanwhile, Love is averaging an outrageous 31 points, 14 rebounds and 2 assists in March, while making 47.3 percent of his shots and 45.1 percent of his threes. He also recorded his league-leading 44th double-double, which means he has 43 more double-doubles than Toliver, and that he’s fallen short of a 2-x-2 only four times this season.

Raptors 105, Nuggets 96

“I can’t remember the last time we won back-to-back games…” —Arron Afflalo

Well, Arron, your squad last won back-to-back games on March 5th, which is 24 days ago. No bueno.

A night after knocking off the league-leading Chicago Bulls, the Nuggets, paced by Ty Lawson’s 26 points and 9 assists, and the Raptors entered the fourth quarter tied at 85. But Toronto closed the game on a 17-2 run, holding Lawson scoreless in the final frame and the entire Nuggets team scoreless from the field for the last 8:26 of the game, to emerge with a nine-point victory. Andrea Bargnani led Toronto with 26 points, along the way surpassing the 6,000 point mark for his career, good for 4th all-time on the team’s scoring list. Jose Calderon scored 10 points and dished 10 assists—his fourth consecutive game with double-digit assists—and DeMar DeRozan returned from an ankle injury to contribute 17 points. The Nuggets were outscored (105-96), out-rebounded (49-43) and out-assisted (25-18), a formula that doesn’t equate to winning basketball games.

Pistons 87, Cavaliers 75

In a game when all eyes were focused on the Kyrie Irving/Brandon Knight rookie battle, it was 10-year veteran Tayshaun Prince who stole the show. Prince, who finished with a season-high 29 points (11-for-21, four threes) and grabbed 8 rebounds, was quick to shun every Cleveland comeback attempt, and Knight provided a 16-5-4 line to hand the Cavs their eighth loss in the last nine games and help Detroit win back-to-back road games for only the second time this season. Irving did his usual thing, posting 22 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists, and Antawn Jamison scored 17 points, but it wasn’t enough to get by Detroit, who was playing sans Ben Gordon, and lost Rodney Stuckey to a hamstring injury in the first quarter. Irving tried to bring the Cavs back in the final frame, sinking a jumper to cut it to 76-71 with 4:08 left, but Knight countered with a 3-pointer, Jason Maxiell got a quick dunk and Prince dropped a short hook to secure the victory. Maxiell had 12 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks, and young’n Greg Monroe had 8 points and a team-high 10 rebounds, extending his streak of games with at least five boards to a league-leading 76.

Celtics 94, Jazz 82

KG had 23 points and 10 rebounds, Brandon Bass scored 19 and Rajon Rondo distributed 14 assists to help Boston win for the fifth time in six games, in the process tying Philly atop the Atlantic Division. At one point the C’s were up by as much as 18, but the Jazz came out firing in the third quarter and eventually tied the game early in the fourth. That’s when Garnett scored seven straight, and Boston never relinquished the lead. For Utah, Al Jefferson (who was traded for KG back in 2007 to complete Boston’s “Big 3″) scored 18 points and grabbed 12 boards, Gordon Hayward scored 19 and Paul Millsap 16, but it wasn’t enough. Utah is now in a three-way tie with Denver and Houston for the last two Playoff spots out West.

Nets 100, Pacers 84

One game after beating the Miami Heat, the Pacers, simply put, pooped the bed in this one. Word to Mr. Schwadron.

Deron Williams scored 30 points and dished 9 assists to give the Nets a 16-point win, the team’s largest margin of victory this season. MarShon Brooks added 17 and Gerald Green added 14 to help New Jersey avoid a 4-0 season sweep against Indiana. The Nets started the game with only 10 players, and their roster was soon trimmed to eight, as they lost Shelden and Jordan Williams to an eye injury and concussion, respectively. Shelden actually went to the hospital after game, which by default is kind of scary. Paul George had 22 points to lead the Pacers, who hold a half-game lead over the Hawks for the 5th seed in the Eastern Conference.

Bulls 98, Hawks 77

Atlanta, playing its fifth game in six days, raced to a 13-5 lead but then the weary legs kicked in, as the DRose-less Bulls seized control and never relented. Chicago made its first seven treys (finished with nine) en route to a relatively easy “road” win. “Road” is in quotation marks because at one point in the fourth quarter, Phillips Arena began an overwhelming “Let’s Go Bulls!” chant. Behind Luol Deng’s 22 points (5 threes), Carlos Boozer’s 20 and Taj Gibson’s 19, Chicago improved to an NBA-best 21-6 away from home. Josh Smith led the Hawks with 19 points and 7 assists, but Atlanta didn’t get much from Joe Johnson, who scored only 12 points. The Hawks’ exhaustion coupled with Chicago’s suffocating defense made for a 40 percent shooting night for Atlanta.

Spurs 117, Kings 112

While the Hawks were too tired to compete, the Spurs, who were also playing their fifth game in six nights, used 11 players to hold off the Kings for their sixth straight win. Gregg Popovich did a great job of keeping everyone fresh, as rookie Kawhi Leonard (19 points) was the only Spur to play over 30 minutes. That’s sound coaching, folks.

Rookie Isaiah Thomas posted a career-high 28 points and dished 10 assists for the Kings, and DeMarcus Cousins had a solid 25/11 game, but San Antonio’s reserves, led by Manu Ginobili (20 points), outscored Sacramento’s bench, 55-20. Timmy Duncan added 28, Gary Neal scored 13 and Tony Parker almost had the 3-x-2, posting 10 points, 10 assists and 7 rebounds to hand Sacramento it’s fourth straight L.

Hornets 102, Warriors 87

The Hornets earned only their 13th victory of the season, cruising to a rare victory in an easy dispatching of the Warriors. Marco Belinelli scored 22 points and dished 6 assists, Jarrett Jack had 20 and 9, and Carl Landry scored 20 points and grabbed 8 boards to help defeat Golden State, who fell to 2-8 since trading Monta Ellis. The Hornets built a 69-49 lead halfway through the third quarter and never looked back, despite playing without Trevor Ariza (ankle), Chris Kaman (illness), Emeka Okafor (knee) and Eric Gordon (knee). After the game, Hornets guard Greivis Vasquez (6 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds) had a message for the rest of the League. “Teams better watch out,” Vasquez said. ”We might mess around and win a couple games.” Touché, Greivis. Touché.

Clippers 103, Suns 86

Another classic case of the best (and only) remedy in sports: winning. After losing three straight last week, the Clips continued to erase their woes and cool Vinny Del Negro’s seat, earning their third consecutive victory. Blake Griffin led the way with 27 points and 14 rebounds (including a few sickening dunks), and the ever-consistent CP3 posted 15 points and 15 assists. Paul outplayed his superstar point guard counterpart, Steve Nash, who finished with 15 assists but scored only one point, which came on a free throw. Phoenix converted on only one field goal over the first six minutes of the fourth quarter, and LA took advantage with a 13-5 that put them up 97-60 and sealed the victory. For the Suns, Marcin Gortat scored an admirable 23 points and grabbed 7 boards.

Line of the Night: Kevin Love’s 40 points, 19 rebounds and 4 assists.

Plays of the Night: We’ve got 10, highlighted by Blake Griffin’s amazing aerial feats and Gordon Hayward’s block party.

Tonight: Only four games, but certainly nothing to sneeze at, as TNT’s got us with a Heat-Mavericks Finals rematch at 8 followed by Thunder-Lakers at 10:30. Dopeness on all fronts, if you ask me. Until next time, peace out.

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  • http://www.slamonline.com Jahmai

    Kevin Love

  • Myung

    Kevin Love is putting up video game numbers during the past week… as a Mike Woodson basher, I’m certainly eating my words (for now)… and I generally don’t like making excuses, but yeah, 5 games in 6 nights. You’re probably going to lose that 5th game, even if you’re playing the Bobcats or the Raptors. I guess it didn’t help that we happened to be playing one of the three best teams in the NBA. That was probably the easiest game the Bulls have played all year. That was brutal to watch last night.

  • RunNGun

    How did Kevin Love not make Western Conference Player of the Week last week?

  • ALD

    knicks should thank tyson for that win

  • T-Money

    ok, i think i’ve came around – kevin love is a g among g’s and the best 4 in the nba. i really wanted to see if you could run your offense through him in the last 5 minutes of a game, and you can.

  • thetalkingcomb

    I like how Channing Frye was just twirling around in the air mindlessly like that robot dancer in Dave Chappelle’s skits in the 3rd video!

  • http://caseyvaughn.com AlbertBarr

    The Sacramento Kings have figured out there starting 5 talent and how to use them. Our bench…it sucks.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O53yqG0KgmQ IAMORANGE4EVER

    REALITY – With WOODY these Knicks are doin’ it, doin’ it, and doin’ it well. As of today the Knicks are 8-1 record with Woody as coach, and it’s due in large part to their improved play at the defensive end of the floor. These Knicks defensively are only giving up 86 points per game since Woodson got the keys to coach the team 9 games ago. On the other hand the Knicks offensively are scoring 100 points per game with Woody roaming the sidelines. Boy’s and girl’s, I am no mathematician, but that right there is a 14 point average margin of victory for the Knicks.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O53yqG0KgmQ IAMORANGE4EVER

    WOODY = WINNING

  • T-Money

    i like how blake didn’t go right away after the screen and waited for a crease in the defense.

  • http://dimemag.com Royal

    That LL Cool J reference cannot go unnoticed. Well-played IAMORANGE

  • Heals

    Avery Bradley straight balling, glad to see his offense start to catch up to his D. I think BGriff was trying to turn into the Hulk during the last bit of the 4th quarter. Good lawd young man. I dunno RnG I was thinking the same thing when it was announced. Damn this season has been weird, 2 weeks ago I thought Orl would beat Bos in a 3 v 6 match-up, now they ripe for the picking (again)…

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    What were the defensive numbers under D’Antoni? Didn’t you say they were giving up like 87.4 points or something under him a few weeks back?
    The Knicks are actually competing instead of sulking and quitting. And thus, they are winning. While it’s the coach’s job to motivate players, (motivations and strategy are all coaches do) the players must take some blame for playing like bums for Mike D. Oh well, I would feel worse if I didn’t think dude is a bit of douche.
    And the Love Machine is too good to deny. I had to say it a few weeks back, and he’s just making it easier to claim now. No, he doesn’t shoot a great percentage. No, he’s not the best one-on-one scorer. But he’s CLEARLY better than he was last year and constantly improving and even with the gaping holes in his game (cough… defense) he still puts up ridiculous numbers. No player in my basketball watching time has put up numbers like him on a consistent basis. Every good power forward in the game has some serious weaknesses, and Love has fewer than all the rest. He wins.

  • Heals

    Like they say about 3 pointers, ya live by MikeWoodson, ya gonna die by MikeWoodson (see Atl)…

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Also, Steve Nash played the absolute worst pick and roll defense possible on that Blake dunk. Watch the replay again.

  • http://slamonline.com datkid

    I guess kevin love really is the best 4…. the fact that I have to admit this annoys me a lot actually smh

  • http://sdjfklfl.com Jukai

    Kevin Love… here is your trophy.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Slick Ric

    Give him his props, best pf in the game now.

  • T-Money

    it’S still kind of telling that i have to go by elimination before declaring he’s the best. it’s never readily apparent, even as you are watching a full game – you have to look at the boxscore. the stat line is dominating but you rarely feel as if he is dominating the game. i still have questions on to what extent he impacts winning basketball games but he is currently the best 4, it’s undeniable. he still won’t make 1st all nba team for a long while tho (kd/bron got that ish on lock).

  • Lance Stephenson

    How wack is OJ Mayo/Josh Selby?

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Kevin Love was definitely the best player in that game last night by a big big margin.

  • Crystal

    Dirk is better than kevin Love until Kevin Love can win a ring… yeah his numbers are monstrous but Dirk has done the salsa into the playoffs for the past ten years and it doesn’t look like he’s slowing down anytime soon. As far as the knicks go, Melo has to get out of the first round. I’m not going to celebrate a .500 team just yet. Hopefully the Jazz can string together some good wins and grab a playoff spot. The Bobcats are the worse franchise in all professional sports probably. Dwight can’t be happy about Orlando. Also, I wonder how derrick rose and amare will heal and affect the team chemistry come playoff time. ~crystal

  • Myung

    Orange, for your sake (and the sake of my Knick friends), I hope you’re right about Woodson. As a Hawks fan who lived through the Woodson era, this is what I knew him as: a coach who had NO offensive game plan (AKA Iso Joe) and drove fans nuts with his cluelessness on that side of the ball… a coach who called time out’s well after the other team was done making its 9-0 run, generally burying the Hawks chances at digging out of those holes… a coach who called time out’s when his own team was on a roll, thus killing all sorts of momentum… and a coach who lost the respect of his players towards the end. Here’s the thing: I could absolutely be wrong about him. Maybe Billy Knight just gave him some bad pieces. Maybe he learned from his mistakes and improved, and since Atlanta was his first head coaching gig, maybe he is now more ready to be a head man than when he first arrived here. Maybe Josh Smith and Joe Johnson were the problem. I can admit when I was wrong, and it’s only fair to give the man his props and I can do that. I can give him the benefit of the doubt. I am still salty about his coaching tenure here, but hey, if you like him as your head man, then that’s cool with me. I guess we’ll see how this whole thing plays out. I’m still NOT a fan of his, but again, maybe he’s just a new coach than the guy who used to roam our sidelines, shaving his eye brows and such. Enjoy the Mike Woodson era. I’m still glad he’s not our head coach though. Good riddance.

  • http://slamonline.com datkid

    I always kinda thought kevin love would be dope given the right minutes over time but not this dope… I didn’t think it’d happen this fast either smh

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    T-Money- I don’t know what you mean that you don’t see Love dominating. I’m not trying to nit pick, but when I watch him and he grabs 80% of the boards for his team every night, and shoulders the scoring load. I have seen be on fire multiple times this season. Like, CANNOT BE STOPPED, type of on fire. He dominates the game when he has big games that I see. I’m watching him and his play more than anyone when i’m watching him so that may have something to do with it. If your not paying attention he definitely will sneak past you, but he can absolutely dominate a game.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Crystal, I think we all agree that Dirk is the Post Season man at PF. He has proved it. As Gasol did 2, 3 years ago. Love will prove it when he gets a chance. He definitely gets the best regular season PF award though, that accounts for something. Honestly I don’t think the Wolves would be in the Playoffs with Dirk this year over Love so you have to give Love credit for what he’s doing for his team.

  • http://cechicagorilla@aol.com yada

    i love kevin love lol but mann im just not that much in awe of big numbers on bad teams. granted minny isnt bad but average and are playing without rubio but im not sure about MVP. he should get some consideration off numbers alone but when i really ask myself “could kevin love be the best player on a championship team?” i say no pretty quickly. if minny was like 3rd in the west and he was leading the way id be all over the klove bandwagon

  • Myung

    I think Love has solidified a starting spot on the Olympic team, hasn’t he? Dwight at C, Love at PF, LeBron at SF, Kobe at SG, Rose at PG (amazingly, Durant is the odd man out, right?). That is one scary US Olympic team.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I can’t believe I’m typing these words but, without Michael Beasley, Minnesota’s offense is absolutely horrible. I mean Beasley doesn’t make it “good” but man they need him on the court. Kevin Love only had 2 shot attempts last night between 3 and 19 feet. It’s amazing to me a team can win that way with an offense that features it’s best player shooting 31 shots and only 2 of the makes are from short to mid-rage (regardless of the team they are beating being the Bobcats).

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    *He had 7 attempts from outside 3 feet, inside 19 feet, but only made 2 of them* – my bad

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Myung, I don’t know if he has solidified himself as a starter on Team USA. Not because he isn’t good enough, he is. He would actually be highly valuable with his rebounding and ability to stretch as good as any big in the world if not the best, but LeBron would be a huge advantage at the 4 spot. He can knock down jumpers, but more importantly he is the most incredible athletic specimen in the world. KD can man the 3 spot and they would still have a massive size advantage. Only thing I could imagine is if they are going against Spain and need to match Size(length) for size.

  • http://cechicagorilla@aol.com yada

    nah man team USA doesnt work that way. i mean ur gonna go with the lineup that plays best together. u got superstars coming off the bench

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    nbk, I don’t know if you caught me saying that yesterday, but that’s what I was saying. Beasley needs to play. He can help them drastically. Sure he can hurt them, but he can do much more good than harm if you just pull him if he starts actin a fool. I wonder now if they are trying for draft position more than wins.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    i noticed you said that but i didn’t attribute that as a real problem. but it seems to be. I mean, for how great Kevin Love is, the offense doesn’t run through him. He still doesn’t score in isolation or command double teams (unless you think he should be double teamed after shot attempts, like a double box out lol).

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    haha, yeah your right. The offense goes to him, but doesn’t run through him. Not that the offense would run through Beasley either though. He has kind of turned himself into a spot up shooter and slasher instead of iso scorer/play maker that he was for a while. He just shoots over guys like Love now. They need a good shooting guard. Like most teams I guess lol.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    KLove has been the best PF by far statistically this season but when are people going to start expect more from him efficency wise? I’m not trying to be picky but the guy is shooting 45% this season. Gone are the days when a player had to be efficent from the field, be good-to-great defensively and lead his team to the playoffs year after year just to be considered the best at his respective position.

  • http://espn.go.com/nba/ Paul H

    Since the allstar break 47% from the field, 44 from 3. Don’t know how many times In the last week I have had to bust that stat out In Love’s defense.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Taylor, Gone are the days of big guys only playing big also. Big guys are starting to make a name for them selves as being great shooters in addition to other facets of the game they didn’t use to use. Love is only relate-able to a few NBA players in history so you can’t expect the numbers to be similar. He averages 5 three point attempts per game. How many “bigs” in NBA history have done that in addition to grabbing more than 13 boards, hell, lets make it 9, 10, or 11 boards a game. I would venture to say…. none. Am I wrong? He is doing unheard of things so he is going to have different numbers in different areas. Barkley only averaged 48% FG’s from 93 to 99. That’s only 2.5% better and he was considered dominant and efficient during that part of his career. Many PF’s dip below 48% FG range. I can guarantee he doesn’t shoot this low of a FG % next year. I expect high 40′s. Around 48%. He is still working out kinks in his game and when you are a majority jump shooter you are going to have some bad shooting nights.
    Excuses, but I feel valid ones.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Oh I know it wouldn’t run through Beasley. But the shape of the defense changes with him on the court because he’s atleast a threat to score. With only Love as the scorer on the court Minnesota is stuck just running pick and pop after pick and pop. Leaving a lot of the offensive responsibility on Luke Ridnour. If Love wasn’t so effective on the offensive glass they would have lost last night.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    JTaylor
    You need to explain who is better than Love and why.
    I feel like the power forward position is inhabited by some very flawed players right now.
    No one is even close to a prime Garnett or Tim Duncan, which means dominant on both sides of the ball, and a great rebounder. Right now, everybody’s game has flaws. Love has fewer flaws than everybody else, and puts up video game numbers.
    Go down the list.
    Bosh doesn’t board enough and randombly disappears for stretches of games. Plus he loves his jumper too much.
    Dirk doesn’t board, only defends somewhat better than Love and had a horrible start to the season.
    Gasol loves jumpers, is soft on both ends and appears to have lost all semblance of mental toughness.
    Aldridge doesn’t board and his team is horrible. Plus, he’s a big jump shooter as well.
    Randolph boards and scores, but doesn’t defend, hasn’t put up numbers like Love, and has been injured most of the year.
    Garnett and Duncan are old and just don’t have that elite burst enough.
    Blake Griffin is raw with no defense and can’t shoot free throws.
    Amare doesn’t board or defend.
    Josh Smith doesn’t match Love for consistency, rebounding or scoring.
    Boozer–LOL
    Millsap–can’t score like Love and isn’t a great defender either.
    Who is there/

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Boozer – “LOL” ftw

  • http://espn.go.com/nba/ Paul H

    I think we all got robbed by Rubio going down this season. I think just seeing how Love would perform In a playoff series against say Okc, Lakers or SA would settle this debate In one way or another. My guess It would be Love out on top, not In the series but the debate. (30 and 15 on 50% against the Lakers, 36 and 13 on 53% vs Okc) San Antonio Is the only one who has shown they can even remotely control him, but still 20 and 12 In 3 games aint exactly bad).

  • http://espn.go.com/nba/ Paul H

    And as far as being good both sides of the ball to be considered the best at your position? BARKlEY.

  • http://espn.go.com/nba/ Paul H

    *Not In the series but In the debate, sorry

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    In Barkley’s era the best PF’s in the league were one way player. The great defenders were poor offensive players, and the great offensive players were poor defenders. Or guys that were just ok at both. There was no Garnett, or Duncan in that time. Just Karl Malone, Barkley, Kemp, Larry Johnson, Dennis Rodman.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    The league has changed quite a bit since the 90s, you can’t really bring up Barkley to try and justify an argument for Love. It’s a totally different league now.

  • http://espn.go.com/nba/ Paul H

    That’s exactly my point NBK.

  • http://espn.go.com/nba/ Paul H

    What It Is now unequivocal that you MUST be an immense two way player to be considered the best at your position even if, as Allenp pointed out, your major competition all have their glaring weaknesses that are either similar to or completely different to your own? There Is no such thing as a Best position debate If there Is no one player who Is DOMINATING on both sides of the ball like a Garnett or a Duncan?

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Exactly. The L can’t be compared from 20 years ago to todays. The L is different. Different players, dominating in different ways.

  • http://espn.go.com/nba/ Paul H

    And by that rational no pass first point guard (ala Jason Kidd) can ever be considered the best In the game again because It Is a different era which Is being dominated by scoring combo guards like Rose and Westbrook? My point with barkley was that he was a one way player who excelled at scoring and rebounding. That can’t ever happen again?

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    No you don’t have to be dominant on both ends, but you can’t just ignore one side of the ball like you could in the 90s. I am fine with people saying Kevin Love is the best 4 in the league, i don’t agree because he is a horrible defender and not a player you can give the ball too in isolation. But if you feel that he’s the best in the league that’s fine, every player in the league has their issues. I’m just saying, you can’t bring up something from 20 years ago to try and justify a situation today. It’s totally different.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I think Barkely is a great comparison to be honest.
    The issue is that Love doesn’t dominate the way we expect players to dominate.
    Like Duncan, he doesn’t possess jaw dropping athletic ability. But, he also isn’t as polished on the block as Duncan either. He’s a jump shooter, but unlike say, Karl Malone, he shoots from three most of the time, or is shooting layups.
    Love is actually very similar to Malone and Barkley. Unlike Malone is doesn’t have the same sort of consistency to get you 30 ppg every single night. But, that has a lot to do with pace too. But, he also is far more likely to put up video game numbers like 40 and 20 than Barkley and Malone ever were, and none of them were great defenders, although Barkley and Malone were slightly better when motivated.
    I think the three pointers are what throw people off. You almost feel like he’s cheating in some way because he gets more points despite making fewer shots. If you look at his lines, he will regularly shoot like a shooting guard, but because of his free throws and threes, his numbers will be insane.
    It’s interesting to watch and completely unique.

  • http://espn.go.com/nba/ Paul H

    I take you’re point about comparing era’s but I don’t think It was ever ok to ignore the defensive side of the Ball. Even In the Nineties.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    As a player he is comparable to Barkley, very comparable. I am solely just talking about using the “Barkley was the best in his day, so Love is the best today” train of thought. That to me doesn’t make any sense. That’s like me saying, Barkley would be the best PF in the NBA right now if he were there.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    It seems comparing players to players of a different eras is a one way street for some people. You can do it if it proves your point, but not if it proves mine lol. I hate that double standard.
    Love is a great PF in any era. So is Malone, Barkley, Duncan, Webber, Garnett, McHale, Rodman, LJ, Dirk, Gasol, Kemp, even guys like Griffin, LaMarcus A., Z-Bo would all hold their own.
    -nbk, you say he is a horrible defender, but the other PF’s are just mediocre to slightly above average. Smith and Ibaka are the only two defensive stalwarts at the 4 spot. Love plays better defense than these PF’s:
    -Boozer(duh)
    -Amare(duh)
    -Z-Bo
    While being suitable defenders, guys like Dirk, Gasol, and LA are only slightly above average defenders. Not great, but suitable.
    I don’t think you have to be a great player on both ends to be the best at a position, but you do have to be viable. He is working his way towards being viable.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    *without any reasoning or proof* my bad, i am really low on sleep over the last couple weeks.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Ibaka is not a defensive stalwart. Let’s get that straight. The guy is a good help defender, but he is no stalwart at all.
    .
    i have expressed how i feel about Love numerous times over the last few days, it’s not just his defense that keeps me from putting him as the top 4. the most important thing to me is winning, and frankly putting up 40 and 19 in a 5 point win over the Bobcats is not going to change my opinion even a little bit.

  • http://www.slamonline.com TADOne

    I think another way to look at the PF argument: if you were to start an NBA team from scratch, which PF would pick for your squad? I would take Love myself and fill in the talent around him.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I don’t think you have to see Love as the best. But I think you should.
    Dirk isn’t above average on defense.
    Love does not play better defense than any person you named. They play equal defense.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Dirk is an above average defender. I don’t see why anyone doesn’t notice this. Is it just because he’s slow people think he is a bad defender? Is it because he wasn’t good when he was young (and weak)? What is it that makes you think he isn’t an above average defender?

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Exactly once again nbk, Ibaka is no defensive stalwart and he is one of the best defending 4′s in the L.(telling of our expectations in defenders)
    Putting up 40, 19 against an NBA team is a feat. No matter if it’s in a losing effort or a winning one. No matter if you played defense or not. No one else has put up numbers like that against the Bobcats. I mean you can keep claiming that he has to win more and all that(to which I agree in the long term). But no one else is doing what he does in losing efforts either. No matter what he is making history.
    Kobe might have scored 81 against the lowly, defensively deficient Raps, but no one else did or has come close. Props need to be sent K-Loves way for the yeoman’s job he does on the glass every night and the improvements he has made to his offensive game.

  • http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/39089/killer-lineup-dirk-and-the-d nbk

    Average PER against Dirk is 13.0 – He leads the Mavericks in Defensive Win Shares. The Mavericks gives up less points and force a lower shooting % with Dirk on the court. He’s a legit 7’0″ tall playing PF. His height is a huge. And he is actually an effective Pick and Roll defender (believe it or not). Now Dallas does hide Dirk a little bit on defense to prevent him from getting into foul trouble, so he switches on picks less then the rest of the team. You can click my name if you want to read an article that talks about Dirk’s effectiveness on defense. (as well as highlighting Dallas’ starting lineup as the best defensive 5-man unit in the league, which I bet nobody believes but there is proof)

  • http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/39089/killer-lineup-dirk-and-the-d nbk

    Uhm Lake how much credit do you want me to give Kevin Love? I said he was by far the best player in that game last night. Every time I say something remotely negative or don’t agree then i’m not giving enough credit….I don’t think he’s the best PF in the NBA. He’s top 5, but to me, he isn’t the best. There is nothing wrong with me having that opinion, or you disagreeing with it. (And 40 and 19 on 31 shots in a game where both teams shot 40% is not 81, i don’t see what Kobe’s game against the Raptors has to do with this at all)

  • http://espn.go.com/nba/ Paul H

    @NBK, I wasn’t saying that “Barkley was the best in his day, so Love is the best today”, or anything near that train of thought, I was simply saying that they are very similar players and he was the most glaring example I could think of when thinking of a player who excelled on only one side of the ball and was considered the best at his position.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    It’s more that you won’t take him top 3 that bugs me. I don’t claim him as the best 4 hands down. He is playing like the best 4 in the L. I still would take a mentally and physically 100% Gasol and Dirk over him. That’s it at this point. He gives you too much on the offensive end to have him any less #3.
    I don’t need you to say it, I just think your wrong. So any who, moving on…

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Dirk absolutely sucks on the ball. Which is why he is always guarding the worst big on the other team. He is decent about rotations and staying attached. I say average. He is better than he was, but mainly because teams rarely go at him because they player he is guarding doesn’t have that ability. He looked worse on defense when there were more talented bigs in the League, and Dallas had Shawn Bradley as it’s other big.

  • T-Money

    perhaps the 4-spot is just kinda weak right now? love is the best 4 to me but he still doesn’t crack my top 50. i would pick any of these guys before love: bron, kobe, wade, durant, westbrook, rose, dwight, paul, deron, melo .

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Quick bigs give him problem. Strong bigs give him problems. He can forget where his man is at times in the man to man. His rotations are often slow. But, he doesn’t foul, and he doesn’t just give up contested buckets.
    He’s average, and given how good he is on offense, that’s enough for that team.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Paul I see, my bad.
    .
    Lake, well I don’t really know what to say, Love doesn’t score in isolation, and is a horrible defender, to me, he can’t be (right now, not in the future) the best player on a very good team, the other guys can. So I would pick him after them. Although, I’m rethinking my feelings on Bosh, I feel I overrate him for his defense that might really be a product of being on the Heat more then anything else.
    .
    Allen he sucks on the ball against 4′s who can beat you off the dribble, which is a pretty small list. He’s not bad one on one in the post, he’s not bad off hedging and recovering off of picks. And he does a good job of preventing his counterpart from crashing the offensive glass, overall he is an above average defensive player.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I’m with T-Money though, the position is kind of weak overall. It’s not like it was with KG and Duncan in their prime at all, sh*t even a prime Rasheed Wallace would probably run rough-shot over the vast majority of the 4′s today.

  • http://espn.go.com/nba/ Paul H

    I wouldn’t take ‘Melo over Love If my life depended on It.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Love doesn’t score on iso??? You watch him right nbk? How much more iso-ed can you get than being isolated from your team which is giving you space to score. I’m sorry, but no one has ever scored 26+ points a game and not been able to score competently in isolation. I don’t even know what to make of that statement broski.
    Dear goodness gracious, we have a terrible thing that has been said by one of our own…. “a prime Rasheed Wallace would probably run rough-shot over the vast majority of the 4′s today.” ?? What ?? A guy who never scored 20 points a game, a guy who never grabbed double digit rebounds, not even 8.5 ever, a guy who perennially under achieved by everyone’s expectations is going to be the best 4 in the L with Dirk, Gasol, Love, LA, CB, Z-Bo at the 4?? No… No he is not.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Yeah I wouldn’t take Melo over Love even if it meant curing myself of the bubonic plague

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    CoSign Paul on Melo over Love. That’s BS. The rest of them I pretty much agree with you on T-Money. Deron is a close one.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Did I say Rasheed would be the best 4 in the league? Kevin Love is running rough-shot over the vast majority of 4′s in the league at this very moment and I don’t think he’s the best 4 in the league lol don’t overreact with what I said. I was just giving an example of how weak I think the position is today, not that he would walk out and be the best in the league.
    .
    Love just scored 40 points last night, and only ONE!!!!! (1) UNO of his baskets came from isolation. He went 14 for 31, 10 makes were off of assists, 3 were off of offensive rebounds, and 1 was in isolation. Against the Bobcats. If there is not more glaring proof that he doesn’t score in isolation I don’t know what is.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    ON an unrelated note, is there a more stereotypical bad team with a bad name then the Bobcats in professional sports? Judging solely by team names if I had to bet I would bet on the Bobcats over every other professional sports team to never win anything based just by their name.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    When Sheed played you had Duncan, Garnett, young Dirk, old Barkley, Malone, Webber, Coleman, Gugs, and second tier guys like Tyrone Hill, Charles Oakley, the Davis brothers, Brian Grant and some other I can’t remember.
    i don’t know if Sheed would have run roughshod over the current crop, but he would have likely been better than he was when he had to deal with what he had to deal with back in the day. Probably same numbers as Aldridge, but with better defense.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    NO Deron is not a close one with Love. Neither of them lifted a crap team when they were the best player.
    Deron is Love equal as a statistical beast at his position and is better skill wise for his position. He has no weaknesses in his game from a skill standpoint.
    And he’s a stellar defender.
    In every demonstrable way, he’s a better player than Love even if they play different positions. AND he plays the point guard and is a proven playoffs beast.

  • BuzzerBeater

    Grizzlies vs Knicks in the finals.
    Oh how I wish it’d be true!
    -Asian fan from Vancouver

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Yeah I would take Deron over Love. But it’s ‘slightly’ to me at this point. Deron has been good this year, but he has only been truly impressive a half dozen times as opposed to Love having over a dozen really great games this year. He isn’t quite the defender he use to be. I use to have him as elite. He is no longer though. Still a tough dude to go up against, but he won’t stop you like he use to.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    If your point guard is averaging 22 and 8 he is stellar almost every night. He hasn’t put up video game numbers, but he’s been stellar, easily.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    AllenP, I said Love is playing like the best PF. I just think that Gasol and ZBo are better players despite putting up inferior numbers to Love. If you had to pick a PF to build your team around, who would you take between those 3 guys? I’m leaning towards Gasol.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Taylor that argument should easily go Loves way just because of age. If your building a team it’s usually for the long haul and Gasol is on the steady decline. Love’s stock is looking up, up, up. Gasol can’t give you 20 points any more. His defense is there, but we all know he can be bullied pretty easily if you get in his head. Love or Griffin should be the only realistic choices for “building.” I’d take Love over Griffin.

  • http://slamonline.com datkid

    ehh maybe love is just top 5… and since cp3′s regression I actually have deron as the #1 pg in the league. but that’s me.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Lake, I was looking towards a season or two not a long-term deal.
    Also, Gasol has avg. 20ppg only twice in his 10yr career. You can’t just look at his PPG numbers as a way to judge his performance because when he was playing like the best PF in basketball during LA’s recent 2peat, he never cracked the 19ppg barrier. You should already know by now that I’m a fan of cats that are able to dominate and command double teams on the block than I’m of 3pt shooting bigs. It is what it is.

  • http://sdjfklfl.com Jukai

    Allen’s 3:22 pm post is why I wish he wrote about players more.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    I think CP has been slightly better than DWill this season. Better from the field, 3, FT line, grabbing more rebounds, assists, steals and turning over the ball 2 less times (huge). I love DWill’s game and I can’t hold it against him for the nets’ lack of performance this season but I think he’s shown a real lack of leadership with the way he’s reacted to teammates.

  • http://sdjfklfl.com Jukai

    I can’t see how someone can argue ZBo is better than Love. That’s the weirdest argument one can make, to be honest.
    Randolph is the only guy on the power forward list who was possibly worse than Kevin Love defensively at his worst. They’re equal right now.
    Zach Randolph is a better offensive player, slightly. He can get more buckets in isolation so I give him the nod. But it’s not like you can stop Kevin Love from getting points in the flow of the game. I mean, Kevin Love has one game winner and one game tier this year. You can give it to him at the end of the game.
    And Kevin Love is a much better rebounder and passer.
    Randolph is not better.
    I think Gasol and Dirk, if their mind and body were in the right place, WOULD be better. But they aren’t. They are both out of shape and mentally just not there. So they fall.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Jukai, you mean on the ‘top’ of the PF list? Boozer and Amare are both worse defensively.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    David Lee also for that matter. Is Bargnani a Center? If he’s a PF him also. lol

  • http://sdjfklfl.com Jukai

    I think Boozer is better than both Love and ZBo. Truth be told, I forgot about Amare.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Don’t let Thibs fool you like that Jukai.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    When a PF is shooting 45% from the field, best believe that defenses are stopping him from time to time.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    When a player is averaging 26.6 PPG on 45.5% Shooting and grabbing 14 boards all while taking 5 threes a game. Best believe this dude is damn near unstoppable.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Off of a pick

  • http://sdjfklfl.com Jukai

    Who cares if he needs a pick? Damn.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Off a nit pick… Lol that was terrible sorry.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    I care when you just said that he’s damn near unstoppable. There’s nothing unstoppable about a 6-10 PF shooting 45%, nothing.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Well without being able to create his own offense I think unstoppable is the wrong word. Nothin wrong with it, he’s a great player. I’m stuck watching Channing Frye over here! I was just sayin

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    -He does create his own offense though. Not as well as Z-Bo, not as well as Dirk, Not as good as Gasol when he is on, but he is better than any other PF at iso scoring. What is it called when you get the ball, do a spin move in the lane while keeping your pivot foot, then putting in a nice floating hook over the defender. Sounds like a nice 1 on 1 move. One that is done in isolation. I have seen him do this dozens of times this season.
    -Taylor you put no context on his shooting number though. He shoots 5 threes(which I realize you don’t like) and mostly jumpers. 45.5% considering those facts is not great, but understandable. Lets not forget that he is at 47% post All Star game also.
    -Dirk Nowitzki 2004-2005, right in his prime, arguably his best season: -Mins played: 38.7
    -Rebounds: 9.7
    -FG%: .459
    -3 Pt. FG taken: 2.9
    -3 Pt. FG Made: 1.2
    -3 Pt. FG%: .399
    -Assists: 3.1
    -Steals: 1.2
    -Blocks: 1.5
    -TO: 2.3
    -Points: 26.1
    -Why did I post this? I dunno. Just appeared interesting to me. I guess his FG% stands out to me. It’s low like Loves, while he took two less 3′s a game, but he improved to be better. Love will also.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Well the next year he shot 48% and won MVP so….

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    Last night was an excellent example of why MDA’s “system” wasn’t working with Melo. Last night the Knicks posted Melo on the wing, elbow, extended block a hundred times. The Knicks ran the offense through Melo thus allowing for Melo to touch the ball early in the possession and also allowing for multiple touches per possession. It’s incredibly important for a volume scorer to trust he’ll get the ball back if he chooses to pass. Multiple touches per possession are a fantasy in a SSOL system. But the key last night was the Knicks did NOT have a shooter in BOTH corners.

    Yes to the casual (novice) fan, last night the Knicks at the offensive end looked a lot like MDA ball – good ball movement, unselfish passing. The key difference was NOT having a shooter in both corners. Why? So Melo had space after the catch on the wing to maneuver and operate. If Melo catches a pass on wing and a help defender is a few feet away on the shooter in the corner it restricts what Melo can do and where the double comes from.

    Without the shooter in the near-side corner it forces the opponent to double from the top of the key or further away on perimieter depending on how far Baron clears out. This allows Melo to always get a one-on-one shot (important for late 4th quarter possessions) by dribbling quickly to baseline and pulling up – no defender in the corner remember.

    With Melo being a willing passer the moment the help defender commits (like he was last night) the Knicks have a legit offensive set here. Having a shooter in the corner near Melo on the wing or elbow allowed opponents D to stay home on the other 3 Knick players. But like “we” saw last night if the help has to come from the top of the key or further away it forces the D to make multiple rotations. It’s so nice to have a real coach again.

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    @Royal You’re welcome. :)

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    heat 80 MAVS 69 … GO MAVS! lol

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    heat 80 MAVS 72 only an 8 point game..the CHOKE in the 4th is coming!

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    So your predicting K. Love is going to do the same?
    I agree.

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    I’m still laughing at JTaylor for saying he’d take Z-Bo over K-Love in the “blink of an eye.” rofl

  • http://sdjfklfl.com Jukai

    IAMORANGE4EVER: so, what happened to that choke?

  • Justin G.

    I have to agree with nkb through most of this. While you don’t have to be dominating on both sides of the ball, you have to play at least a little defense. Love is putting up ridiculous numbers right now but he’s not the best PF in the game…yet.

    I think Karl Malone was underrated as a defender personally. He didn’t block shots but he rebounded and he had good hands down low for a lot of strips.

    Only thing I’ll disagree on AllenP’s assessment of other PF’s is Bosh “randomly disappearing” and Aldredge being on a horrible team. Bosh doesn’t disappear so much as Wade and Lebron stop giving him the ball. How many times have we seen Bosh have a great first half only to be looked off so Wade or Lebron can try and get theirs? Look no further than what Bosh was doing while Wade was out the first time with his ankle injury. He was straight up beasting but as soon as Wade came back he wasn’t seeing the ball, even with almost every player and coach on that team admitting that Bosh is the key to that team winning it all. As for Aldredge, we’re talking about the holes in a player’s game so stating he’s on a horrible team as some sort of detriment to his game is sort of dumb.

  • http://espn.go.com/nba/ Paul H

    Aldridge Is a terrible rebounder for a guy his size playing pf, he Is an good defender (not an elite one like many have suggested) and, despite all the talent he has had around him his best showing as the unquestioned star of that team Is 48 wins and a first round exit. Not enough to put him over Love.

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    @Jukai they didn’t choke, they swallowed the W down good. I’m proud of them. lol

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Chris Bosh and Aldridge are both better isolation scorers than Love. David Lee might be as well.
    But it doesn’t matter. Love gets buckets and he can score in isolation when he needs to. Malone got a LOT of his points off a pick, the vast majority of them in fact. Didn’t make him any less of a beast.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Justin G
    Bosh becomes passive on his own. He gets touches on nearly every possession. When he’s aggressive he’s looking to get to the rack off the bounce (which he is pretty great at) and he’s crashing the glass. When he’s passive, he’s settling for jumpers and spectating.
    Aldridge’s team just collapsed. That reflects on him as a leader. Which is a part of what makes you a great player.

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