Wolves fans can officially begin to either start crying and/or celebrating the departure of the player who was once thought to be a franchise cornerstone.
Due to one of the most anticipated “handshake agreements” in NBA off-season history, it appears that Love will be joining LeBron James and Kyrie Irving to form the league’s newest “Big 3″ in Cleveland, in hopes of bringing a championship to the long beleaguered city.
While some fans in Minneapolis may be bitter about Love’s somewhat frequent trade demands over recent seasons, it is undeniable that the UCLA product turned in one of the most impressive (although short) careers in a Wolves uniform. With that being said, let’s take a look at Love’s top-five performances during six seasons of calling the Target Center home.
Note: Given the extreme difficulty of narrowing down the double-double machine’s top games to just five, I elected to choose games where the T-Wolves came out victorious. (There were many, many, many potential games that could have made this list.)
1. 11/12/2010: The 30-30 game
Love was an absolute monster in this game, leading a comeback win over the Knicks and posting a ridiculous 31 points and 31 rebounds in the effort. In nearly 41 minutes of playing time, number 42 shot just 11 of 26 from the field, but nailed a clutch fourth quarter three-pointer, registered an absurd 12 offensive rebounds, and pitched in five helpers as well. In just his third NBA season, this was the game that put Love on the national map.
2. 02/27/2011: Love makes 18 free throws in narrow win over Warriors
K Love went 18 for 23 from the free throw line, 8 of 13 from the field, 3 of 4 from downtown, oh and by the way, had 37 points and 23 rebounds. The Wolves beat the Warriors 126-123.
3. 03/25/2012: Love fills stat sheet in Wolves victory over Nuggets
Due to the lockout that preceded the 2011-2012 campaign, Love only played in 55 games. He made them count, however, posting 48 double-doubles. In this 30 point, 21 rebound masterpiece, Love led the Timberwolves to a 17 point win over the Nuggets. He shot 11 of 19 from the field, made all seven of his free throws, and had four assists, two steals and three blocks.
4. 12/28/2013: Love leads dominating win over Bucks in of end of the year affair
In this holiday season game, Love had 33 points, 15 rebounds and six assists. He also made four three-pointers in this big 22-point win over the Bucks.
5. 02/19/2014: Love’s 40 point output gives Wolves big win over Pacers
Was this one of the final marquee, classic, double-double games from Love that Wolves fans saw at the Target Center? If it was, it was quite a performance against a superior opponent. The big man finished with 42 points and 16 rebounds in the upset win over the Pacers. K-Love shot 14 of 22 overall, including 5 of 10 from long-range. This was a particularly impressive performance by Love, given the elite opponent the Wolves were facing and it happened in front of the Minnesota crowd.