Before today’s quadruple header of Knicks/Celtics, Heat/Lakers, Bulls/Sixers and Nuggets/Spurs, let us not forget about the clinics All Stars Kevin Love and Dirk Nowitzki put on last night. In a game that was headlined initially by Lamar Odom’s return to the team after family issues and a D-League stint that never happened, Dirk grabbed six rebounds to compliment his 40 points against the Jazz. The performance was one the reigning Finals MVP admittedly said was huge for his confidence and also saw him drop 20 points in each half. Meanwhile, in Rip City, Kevin Love’s 42 points and 10 rebounds were yet another masterful display in a game that saw a matchup of arguably the best young power forwards in the league between he and Lamarcus Aldridge (this includes that guy from the Clippers, too).
1. Every time Dirk shoots horrible flashbacks of last June appear and I damn near start crying. It’ll probably always be like that until history rectifies itself. However, I’m not stupid, and if the Mavs can get Lamar playing with at least half of the intensity he did in Los Angeles, Dallas’ chances in the playoffs jump almost exponentially. Can they repeat? No. Well, at least I don’t think so. Then again, I gave them absolutely no shot last year, too. They wouldn’t exactly be an easy first round exit.
2. Kevin Love, man. Earlier this year, I dubbed Lamarcus Aldridge the best young 4 in basketball. And if Portland could actually become healthy and live up to their potential (which hasn’t seemed possible since Game 7 of the 2000 WCF happened), I’d believe he is. But K-Love is a monster in every sense of the word and one of the more consistent players in basketball. He shot 15-27, including 7-8 from the free throw line and 5-8 from the three point stripe. Everyone knows Kobe, Durant and LeBron are the league’s top three scorers. Yet, I’m willing to bet a lot of country probably has no clue Love is fourth in the league at 25 points per outing and second in rebounding at 13.6. Yeah, 25 and 14 every night and the forecast looks to present much of the same for seven or eight years, if not longer. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the next NBA superstar.