Love owns the glass for T'Wolves in loss

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Love owns the glass for T'Wolves in loss

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com

BOSTON - Shaquille ONeal has seen hundreds of players come and go through the NBA during his career. And then there are those to stand out to him.

Kevin Love can add his name to that list.

In only his third season in the league, Love has made a strong impression.

"Hes a great rebounder," said ONeal. "Thats what I expected -- hes been doing that all year. He did it in college. Hes a great rebounder. Guys like him only come around once every 10 years."

ONeal wasnt the only player praising Love following the Boston Celtics 96-93 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night.

Love posted 24 rebounds and 12 points in 44 minutes, recording his league-leading 30th double-double of the season.

He easily surpassed the most rebounds grabbed against the Celtics this season - 16 by Reggie Evans of the Toronto Raptors on November 21, 2010.

During the second half, Loves 19 rebounds tied the entire Celtics team combined. The Timberwolves out-rebounded the Cs, 45-30.

It was a Love fest, Celtics head coach Doc Rivers said. No, no, no, I mean, Loves terrific. Hes tenacious. It hurt having Baby (Glen Davis) in foul trouble (five personal fouls) obviously because we wanted his big body on Loves big body. But, hell, I think he had 10 in the first quarter, if Im not mistaken. He gets a ton of them.

The five offensive rebounds are the ones to me that stood out more. The defensive rebounds, someones going to get the defensive rebounds. Those arent a big deal to me. But the offensive rebounds are the ones that he hurts you on.

Like Rivers and ONeal, veteran Ray Allen was also impressed by the abilities of the 22 year old. Allen could only name a handful of players who positioned themselves for rebounds as well as Love does.

I believe he has a knack for keeping his body in motion around he basket, Allen said. Hes got long arms and hes strong. Hes built like refrigerator so you cant really move him from one side to the next. Hes getting his hands on balls. And I think other guys have tendencies, you kind of look up and watch and see what the balls doing. Hes getting right to that spot and hes moving you out.

So positioning you can see with him is real key, and the last few guys that Ive seen like that - Jayson Williams, when he was with New Jersey, you just knew he was getting that rebound. And we havent had a guy like that in the NBA in a long time. Ben Wallace, you could throw his name in the pot and obviously Dennis Rodman, the best Ive ever seen do it just in the eras Ive played.

Allen believes that Love has developed such a rhythm at the basket that the ball is just kind of finding him.

Thats talent, he said. Thats I dont know what you want to call it, but he has it.

On Monday night, it was simply called dominating the boards.
Follow Jessica Camerato on Twitter at http:www.twitter.comjcameratonba

Blakely: Celtics not as feared as they were last season

Blakely: Celtics not as feared as they were last season

BOSTON -- On more than one occasion Monday night, the Boston Celtics were a discombobulated bunch with some players thinking they were running one play, while others were thinking the play called was something totally different.
 
You see that stuff in the preseason and to a certain extent in the regular season for a lot of teams. It is in those moments that we’re reminded that this Boston Celtics team is a work in progress on so many levels.
 
Because of that, we all need to hit the pause button when talking about them as a team inching closer towards Eastern Conference supremacy.
 
After the first month of the season, they have yet to show that they are going to be better than last season’s 48-win ball club.
 
The big problem a year ago was the offense bogging down and for the most part, not making shots. This year, it’s the team’s defense that has let them down on many nights.
 
And with that comes a sobering reminder this crew is good, but at best are maybe top-five in the East.
 
As a team on the rise, beating teams you’re not supposed to has to happen with some semblance of regularity.
 
There were only three teams on the Celtics’ docket this season thus far that they should have been beaten by without there being any argument: Golden State, San Antonio and Cleveland.
 
They were beaten in all three, two of which (Golden State and Cleveland) had final scores that did not indicate the level of dominance they had over the Celtics.
 
The average margin of defeat in the three games was 9.3 points, but two of them (San Antonio and Golden State) were at the TD Garden, which is supposed to be the equalizer for upset-minded teams.
 
But in each game, Boston put up a decent fight only to fail to emerge victorious.
 
The struggles against the upper echelon teams of the NBA has nothing to do with not having a superstar or a great rebounder or any of the kazillion reasons/excuses offered up as to why they’re not better.
 
It’s hunger.
 
It’s effort.
 
It’s about being blinded by the internet clicks that tout them as one of the best teams in the East, and them not seeing the danger that comes with embracing all that patting on the back.
 
It makes you soft.
 
It makes you fat and happy.
 
And maybe most significant, it creates a false sense of arrival before you’ve left the tarmac.
 
That’s where the Boston Celtics are right now: a team that seems to have forgotten why they were the team nobody wanted to play last year.
 
It wasn’t that teams feared playing them. It was the fact that they knew playing the Celtics would be tough, and it would force them to play a lot closer to their full potential than they were used to if they wanted to win.
 
It was because everyone knew that to beat the Celtics, you don’t have a choice but to play hard because you damn well knew they would.
 
Not anymore.
 
They bring that toughness to the game in small doses, like an intra-venous drip full of hope and promise, providing just enough to life to keep their fans optimistic but not nearly enough to kill the noise of their haters and critics.
 
And while the season is still young, the Celtics need to start racking up some quality wins.
 
Right now, their most impressive win is a toss-up between beating Charlotte 104-98 on Oct. 29, or a 94-92 win at Detroit on Nov. 19.
 
Boston plays at Orlando on Wednesday, a team that’s likely to be back in the lottery again. But after that, they travel back to Boston where they’ll host Toronto -- a game that they desperately need to not only to pad their win total but also provide a much-needed boost of energy and confidence going forward.

The Celtics have to find that hunger, that collective desire that we’ve seen in the past which has propelled them to greater heights than we’ve seen thus far.
 
Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford… you can go down the roster and the mission for all of them has to be the same: play harder, for longer, and be smarter about it, because this team has too much collective talent to be just three games above .500.
 
At 12-9, Boston is third in the East and trail conference-leading Cleveland by three games for the best record in the conference. But then you look at the teams behind the Celtics and realize that they’re only two games out of having the ninth-best record in the East.
 
It speaks in part to the season still being in its infancy stage. But it’s also telling as to how Boston does not have a huge margin of error when it comes to losing winnable games.
 
And as we’ve seen thus far, the Celtics can play with any team in the NBA and hold their own.
 
But beating them is a totally different narrative that this squad has yet to write.