The NBA: Love Hurts

Kevin Love spreads his arms in, err, love as he hit the buzzer-beating
shot that sent the T-Wolves to a win in Los Angeles.

 *All images are by the Associated Press.

It all went according to plan by halftime – the Clippers, owners of a division-leading 8-4 card, led the flashy, but lowly, Timberwolves by 11.

And then they let Minnesota back in.

They let Ricky Rubio hit a big three to tie the game in the waning moments.

They let the Wolves stick too close for too long and when it came down to the biggest shot of the game…

(Yes, Rubio’s shot was still not the biggest of the game!)

Pushing away from DeAndre Jordan and then squeezing thru a double-screen set by Rubio and wingman Wayne Ellington, Love shot a high-arching three that swished and iced the game.

Lob City?

How about Love City, eh?

How sweet it probably felt for Love, who is in the thick of a “Who’s the best PF in the West?” discussion that pits him against the likes of Zach Randolph, LaMarcus Aldridge and, of course, Blake Griffin.

Well, as far as this game goes at least, we know Kevin Love’s chances are pretty good.

After the JUMP, key stat-stuffers for today’s games:

DEN over WAS, 108-104 – Nuggets get a much-needed road win over the hapless Wizards. Al Harrington continues his resurgent play after his forgettable 2010-2011 campaign.
PHI over ATL, 90-76 – Jrue Holiday won the match-up at the point against Jeff Teague, who’s been stepping up in the absence of Kirk Hinrich.
POR over TOR, 94-84 – LaMarcus Aldridge crossed the border and tore up Ontario with a superhuman 33-point, 23-rebound effort.
MIL over NYK, 100-86 – Believe it or not, this is just Philly’s first win in their division, but they’ll take it, especially against the Knicks, who’ve dropped five in a row.
PHX over BOS, 79-71 – Maybe it IS time to press the panic button (re: time to trade for more complimentary talent). I mean, these are the Suns who beat the Celtics. Yikes.
CHI over CLE, 114-75 – Rose continues to miss burn time, but Carlos Boozer doesn’t really mind. In the last three games Rose has missed, Boozer has averaged 21ppg and 9rpg, and he has shot 58% from the floor. Redemption campaign?
MEM over DET, 98-81 – Greg Monroe continues to show improvement. He might be Dwight Howard-ish in a few years. This year, however, he’s one of the best young players on a dirt awful team.
ORL over LAL, 92-80 – Let’s just say the Lakers didn’t really prove to Dwight Howard that he’d have a better shot of winning a title with the Purple & Gold.
SAC over SAS, 88-86 – It’s not much, but this upset by the Kings gives them back-to-back wins. Tyreke Evans has looked sharp of late, too.
IND over GSW, 94-91 – Pacers recover in time against Monta Ellis and his Warriors. Danny Granger’s crew is tied with Miami and Atlanta for 4th spot in the East.
MIN over LAC, 101-98 – Rubio and Love hit big shots to silence Lob City. Love over Griffin, at least in this game.

Super Scorers (Top scorers of the night!)
Brandon Jennings (MIL) – 36
Carmelo Anthony (NYK) – 35
LaMarcus Aldridge (POR) – 33
Kobe Bryant (LAL) – 30
Al Harrington (DEN) – 29

Ragin’ Rebounders (Top rebounders of the night!)
Dwight Howard (ORL) & LaMarcus Aldridge (POR) – 23
Roy Hibbert (IND) & Elton Brand (PHI) – 16

Dwight Howard proved that Andrew Bynum still
has a lot work to do before he can be included in the league's
top centers argument.

Dynamic Dishers (Top playmakers of the night!)
Jose Calderon (TOR) – 13
Mike Conley (MEM) & Jrue Holiday (PHI) – 11

Terrific Thieves (Top thieves of the night!)
Jeff Teague (ATL) & Tony Allen (MEM) – 5
A LOT with 4

Jeff Teague (L) strips Jrue Holidy (R), but
the Sixers still managed to trounce the Hawks.

Boomin’ Blockers (Top blockers of the night!)
James Johnson (TOR) – 4
A LOT with 3

Sharpshooters (Top 3-point shooters of the night!)
Brandon Jennings (MIL) – 6
Al Harrington (DEN) – 5
Nick Young (WAS), Jodie Meeks (PHI) & Dorrell Wright (GSW) – 4

Brandon Jennings went on a scoring tear as the
Knicks added the Bucks to their list of tormentors.
Jan. 20, 2012 First Five
C – LaMarcus Aldridge (POR) – 33pts, 23rebs, 5asts, 2stls
F – Carlos Boozer (CHI) – 19pts, 14rebs, 4asts, 2stls, 2blks
F – Al Harrington (DEN) – 29pts, 7rebs, 5 triples, 2asts, 1stl
G – Kobe Bryant (LAL) – 30pts, 8asts, 3rebs
G – Brandon Jennings (MIL) – 36pts, 6 triples, 5asts, 2rebs, 2stls

Honorable Mention:
Tyreke Evans (SAC) – 23pts, 11rebs, 7asts, 1stl
James Johnson (TOR) – 23pts, 6rebs, 4blks, 2asts, 2stls
Marcin Gortat (PHX) – 24pts, 12rebs, 2blks, 1stl

For a full summary of the day, here’s today’s NBA Daily Zap:

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