Kevin Love

Blazers slide on home from trip

Minnesota dominates the paint and holds on for 120-109 win
Dec. 18, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS - Kevin Love worked all summer long to put an injury plagued season behind him and reclaim his spot as the best power forward in the league.

LaMarcus Aldridge of the Portland Trail Blazers is one of the players standing in his way.

In their first head-to-head matchup of the season, Love pounced on a road-weary Aldridge and grabbed Round 1.

Love had 29 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists to outshine Aldridge in the Minnesota Timberwolves' 120-109 victory over Portland on Wednesday night.

''Awesome,'' Wolves point guard Ricky Rubio said. ''There's no words to describe. He's doing a great job leading this team in scoring, rebounding, even assisting. He's taking my job.''

Nikola Pekovic had 30 points and nine rebounds and Kevin Martin scored 22 for the Timberwolves, who led by 32 in the second quarter and held off a charge in the second half from the Blazers.

Damian Lillard had 36 points, six assists and six rebounds and Aldridge had 15 points and 14 boards for the weary Trail Blazers, who lost for the first time in six games. It was just their fifth loss of the season in 27 games and came at the end of a four-game road trip.

The Timberwolves outscored Portland 72-34 in the paint and shot 49.5 percent from the field.

Aldridge, one of the early leaders in the MVP race thanks to Portland's remarkable start, made just 7 of 22 shots.

''Just one of those nights,'' Aldridge said. ''I couldn't throw a rock in a lake if I tried to, even if I was standing in the water.''

The Blazers have been the most surprising team of this young season, and they stormed into Target Center fresh off two straight heart-pounding victories on last-second shots by Lillard that gave them the best record in the NBA. But playing their fourth road game in five nights, their legs were heavy, their shots where shaky and the Wolves pounced.

Love owned the first 24 minutes. He had a double-double before the game was 13 minutes old and went into halftime with 17 points, 11 boards and eight assists. The Wolves rode a staggering 42-12 run through the second quarter to take a 62-30 lead five minutes before the break.

He started fast breaks, he hit deep 3s and he went to the floor for loose balls, setting the tone and building a cushion that they sorely needed as the game wore on. But he still ended up one assist shy of his first career triple-double.

''I did think I was looking at it right in the face tonight, but it didn't happen for me,'' Love said. ''Guys kept saying just get one more. I just said let's get a ... win. How about that? I'm way more happy with that more than anything.''

Portland coach Terry Stotts said he considered pulling the plug after the third and resting his starters. But these are the Blazers, who shoot 3s without conscience and play with a swagger generated by their cold-blooded point guard. And they're never out of a game.

Lillard scored 17 points in the third, and his step-back 3 brought Portland to 86-75 with 2:04 to play in the quarter.

''Two things, one is you don't know when to pull a plug on a game like this, and two with our team, with our ability to shoot, you just don't know,'' Stotts said.

Martin, who missed Monday night's game in Boston with a sore left knee, responded with a 3 and J.J. Barea hit two big 3s in the closing seconds of the quarter to push the lead back to 22.

Lillard hit two 3s and Nicolas Batum, who scored 20 points, scored on a putback and a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to five with 46 seconds to play, but the Wolves closed it out at the free-throw line.

''You know last year, that probably would've been a game where we just said all right we're going to give it a shot in the third quarter and in the fourth quarter we probably would've ended up laying down,'' Lillard said. ''But we fought back, and I think with a minute and a half it was a game.''


And it just keeps getting worse for Blazers

Portland loses to Minnesota and Kevin Love again in start of road trip
March 8, 2012

That sound you hear in the background is the Portland Trail Blazers' playoff hopes crashing into the ground.

Wednesday, the Blazers began a seven-game road trip with a decisive 106-94 loss at Minnesota, the second loss to the Timberwolves in five days.

Portland fell to 19-20, and is 1.5 games behind Minnesota for the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference.

But, worse, the teams are going in the opposite direction.

While the Blazers are 4-6 in their last 10 games, the Wolves are 7-3 and have won three straight games.

Portland got 23 points from Raymond Felton and 22 from LaMarcus Aldridge in the loss.

Minnesota got 29 points and 16 rebounds from Kevin Love, who hit 3 of 5 three-point attempts, and 8 of 11 free throws

The Blazers were a mess Wednesday in their starting line-up. Felton scored 23 points to improve his trade-bait status, but while he was on the floor the Blazers lost ground by 15 points. Aldridge hit 10 of 18 shots, which helped Portland shoot 47 percent from the field, but he had just seven rebounds, nine fewer than Love. The team lost ground by six points in his time on the court.

Jamal Crawford returned to a reserve role, but scored just six points.

Portland got outscored 19-3 at the free-throw line.

The Blazers return to action Friday at Boston.


Love, T-Wolves rampage at Garden, 122-110

Minnesota ends a 16-game skid against the Blazers
March 3, 2012

Kevin Love returned to Portland and had a monster game Saturday, leading the Minnesota Timberwolves past the Portland Trail Blazers 122-110.

Love hit 15 of 27 shots, including 5 of 8 three-point attempts, and finished with 42 points, just one short of his career high. Minnesota moved past the Blazers in the Western Conference standings to 19-18, while Portland dropped to 18-19, falling under .500 for the first time this season.

Nicolas Batum scored 29 and Gerald Wallace added 25 points to lead the Blazers, but All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge managed just 14 field-goal attempts and finished with 145 points before fouling out.

Minnesota hit 53 percent of its shots and got 21 points from former Blazer Martell Webster.

Portland, which has lost three straight, plays host to New Orleans Monday and then begins a seven-game road trip at Minnesota Wednesday. The seven games include six teams battling for playoff spots or positioning.


College players finally getting the attention they deserve

Thu, 06/02/2011 - 8:13am
Cliff Pfenning
Cliff Pfenning's picture
Last seen: 56 min 15 sec ago
Joined: 2010-07-01

With the millions of dollars flowing through the college football world, the NFL struggling to figure out how to dole out $9 billion, and the problems of both Ohio State and Southern Cal with players getting a taste of financial success while they're still in school, Steve Spurrier spoke up with the idea of paying football players.

It would be a stipend, but would be a form of payment for ... making him rich. Wednesday, he offered to pay the stipend out of his own pocket, which caused at least one media outlet to multiply $300 per game for each player into the sum of $300K for a season, which would lower Spurrier's pay from $2.8 million to $2.5 million.

At least Spurrier is addressing an issue that needs addressing - how coaches and college administrators make money off players who get paid through scholarships, which is a form of payment, but, especially in football and men's basketball, it's only a fraction of what they would should earn as part of a system that essentially turns them into professional entertainers who could be viewed as making something like minimum wage.

The University of Oregon can pack Autzen Stadium with fans and make millions for its athletic department and players will happily play for the value of an education, which they have to earn. But, where other students might have a job and make money they can spend on items such as extra entertainment or travel, or whatever, the football players are football players. They can't have jobs, so some have delved into selling things they can, like rings from successful seasons, to get extra money. This is a key to the scandal that caused Ohio State coach Jim Tressel to resign this week.

Tressel made millions coaching the football team for a university whose annual gross revenue is more than $100 million, while his players were paid an equivalent of some $25,000.

I've noticed this for quite a while - the inequity between what coaches make and what players make at the college level. There's two examples that I point out to people when this comes up. They involve Kevin Love and LaGarrette Blount.

When Kevin Love graduated from Lake Oswego and headed to UCLA, he was on the fast track to the NBA after just one season as a Bruin. And why not? College is preparation for a professional position, and when you can move up, you should move up. He did. The problem is that before he played one minute as a Bruin, you could go on eBay and buy things with his signature on it. Love's name already had value to fans/collectors, and people who got his autograph and sold it made money off him. He didn't. You could easily argue that he was increasing the value of his name for later years, but he didn't make any direct money off the sale of his name.

When he got to UCLA, the school sold jerseys with his name on the back and made money off that. He didn't, other than get free access to classes.

Blount is up there with uniforms. Even when he got suspended from the Oregon team after team violations, the University still sold jerseys with his name and number on them. Blount didn't see any of that money, other than through getting to sit in on classes he may or may not have had any interest in. The NCAA keeps up its goal of making sure the school keeps its athletes focused on their school work as part of maintaining the status quo, but the trouble with all the money isn't going away anytime soon.

What if all the college football players formed a union?


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