As I’ve highlighted before on this blog, despite the fact that the goal is to cover as much current UCLA Athletics news as possible, there are times when it’s too good to pass up what current, successful UCLA alum are up to in the world of sports.
Yesterday, it was point guard Russell Westbrook getting a max extension from the Oklahoma City Thunder. Today? Another UCLA Bruin from the 2008 Final Four squad highlighted the evening, when Kevin Love hit his first game-winner in the NBA against the flashy-as-hell and just-down-the-street-but-nobody-notices Los Angeles Clippers, which encapsulates the kind of year — and career — Love is having. Check it:
Well, those damn bandwagoning Clipper fans got what was coming to them.
In all seriousness, though, this may have been the dagger in the “best power forward in the NBA” debate, at least for now.
Through 15 games, Love is averaging a ridiculous 25 points and 14.5 rebounds per game. He’s having the best defensive year he’s had in the pros with a defensive rating of 98 (which is the number of points allowed per 100 possessions). All while piling on the minutes, as he gets significantly more playing time now than he ever did under Kurt Rambis.
And that “best power forward in the NBA” debate? Kevin Love has to be leading that list, with Dirk Nowitzki off to a slow start and Blake Griffin proving to all of us that his post moves are still incredibly raw and that his defense is terrible.
At first glance, Love’s Minnesota Timberwolves are a middling 7-8 right now. But in context, it’s a hell of an improvement considering they only won 17 games last year.
Regardless, there’s no power forward playing at the level Kevin Love has. But this shouldn’t shock anyone — UCLA Bruins in the NBA tend to pan out pretty damn well, and Love is just one great player in a list of UCLA legends.
But tonight? Tonight’s Love’s night. Thanks for making us proud, Love.
(No term of endearment pun intended.)