MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Kevin Love’s return from a two-game suspension means the Minnesota Timberwolves are regaining their leading scorer and rebounder, and losing a 6-foot-9 cheerleader.
Love was suspended for stepping on Rockets forward Luis Scola last weekend. He missed a win over Sacramento on Tuesday and a loss at Memphis, reducing the two-time All-Star to a role he wasn’t used to playing while he watched the games from his couch at his downtown Minneapolis home.
“I felt like I almost needed some pom-poms I was cheering so loud,” Love said on Friday morning after the team’s shootaround in preparation for the game against Dallas on Friday night.
Love is averaging 25 points and 13.7 rebounds this season. He also leads the NBA with 39.4 minutes per game. Rookie Derrick Williams started in Love’s place the previous two games and delivered two solid performances, but certainly not to the level the Wolves expect from Love.
Williams had 14 points and eight rebounds and hit a crucial 3-pointer down the stretch to help the Wolves beat the Kings and had 13 points and nine rebounds in the loss to the Grizzlies.
“It was very tough. I was sitting on my couch tweeting,” Love said. “I felt a little bit helpless. I wasn’t able to go out there and help those guys win and I wasn’t able to make plays for them. I’m looking forward to getting back on the court and back to business.”
And the Wolves can’t wait to see their leader back out there with them.
“It’s great,” center Nikola Pekovic said. “We missed him these two games. In the first one we succeeded without him but in the second game you saw that we really miss him. I’m happy to have him back.”
Love was named a Western Conference All-Star on Thursday. Last year he was named as an injury replacement to Yao Ming. This time around, he made it in without any help.
“I’ve had a great season thus far. I attribute that a lot to the coaching staff and my teammates and my coaches in helping me through the season,” Love said. “To me, it’s definitely a big deal seeing my name at the top of everybody’s list, so I was very happy about that because I’ve put in a lot of work in these first 3½ seasons and I don’t have any intentions on stopping.”
Three years ago, former Timberwolves center Al Jefferson went down with a knee injury just before the All-Star break. He said he threw one of his shoes through a flat-screen television while watching his teammates play without him.
Love’s television survived his brief time away. But the same couldn’t be said for his sound system.
“I did actually break some speakers,” Love said. “I turned it on really loud on the last play (during the Kings game). The two speakers in my kitchen broke. They’re repaired today. Don’t worry about it.”
(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)