Kevin Love has been on a tear lately, and his injured Timberwolves squad has needed his heroic efforts to pick up the slack. Love has posted seven straight double-doubles and has almost single handedly kept the Timberwolves in playoff contention.
At (24-26) Minnesota is currently 2.5 games out of the final playoff spot, but if Love continues to score and rebound like he did Friday when he had 51 points and grabbed 14 rebounds they may be able to make a run. Even though they lost on Friday 149-140 against the Thunder; Love followed that effort with a 30 point- 21 rebound performance in a win against the Nuggets on Sunday.
Only four and a half games separates the Clippers and the Trail Blazers (number 4 and 12 respectively in the standings), which means the Western Conference is very even right now and if a team can get hot they could easily find themselves breaking out of the pack.
Nobody in the league is hotter than Love right now. He has the ability to carry a team and keep them in the game against anyone. It’s a good thing for a team to have a player like this when they are trying to work their way into a playoff spot. Love plays hard and with tenacity, which is something I don’t often see on a night to night basis in the NBA. He knows what he has to do to get to the postseason, and is well on his way to accomplishing that, but at what price?
Even if the Timberwolves make the playoffs, at this pace, Love will be exhausted by the end of the year. I’m not sure if he will have the stamina to carry his team in to the playoffs, and then have enough gas left to actually win a series. The most successful teams are helped by their stars and don’t rely on them.
Chicago has played great this season despite the fact that last year’s MVP Derrick Rose has missed quite a bit of time. A team like this has a lot of momentum and confidence that will only be enhanced when Rose comes back at full strength.
Love’s performances at face value look to be terrific for the Timberwolves, but in the long-run it poses a problem. Love will likely put together a strong run and get his team into the playoffs, but without a better all-around team surrounding him I don’t think he will have the gas to lead them any farther than that.