How Love puts up numbers worthy of Kareem, Wilt and Elgin
DAL 4, MIN 2 10:04
McClanaghan works with dozens of NBA players. He says he recommends yoga to each of them, but only Love has embraced it; he maintains his practice in-season. "It's helped make him more flexible and helped his body control and balance and given him more discipline," says McClanaghan. "It shows you how badly Kevin wants that extra edge."
"In this league you're going to get your shot blocked, it's just part of the deal," Love says. "You can pout about it or you can keep playing. I choose to keep playing."
After the Mavs miss a layup, Martin can't connect on a floater in the lane. With his left arm Love is pushing 6' 6" Jae Crowder nearly out-of-bounds, but with his right hand Love delicately tips the ball off the backboard. Brewer corrals the rebound, and the T-Wolves reset. Love gets the ball back in the left block with Marion now guarding him. He turns to face him, takes two dribbles toward the baseline and then, with another pump-fake, gets Marion to leave his feet. As Marion flies by, Peter Pan-style, Love buries a one-footed fallaway from 15 feet. ("Yeah, I stole that one-footed move from Dirk.") In one sequence his unique skill set has been on display: savage strength, soft hands, textbook footwork, silky shooting touch, bulletproof confidence. The game, a 116-108 Minnesota win, is now essentially over.
Or, really, the next play. "One thing Flip has talked to me a lot about is how to fail quickly," Love says. "It's O.K. to make a mistake as long as you leave it behind." This is the essence of Love's greatness: a relentless commitment to making the right play. In the grand sweep of his game against Dallas, Love enjoyed no dunks, no killer crossovers, no trash talk, nothing that meets our definition of a highlight, warped as it is by braying SportsCenter hosts and YouTube mixtapes. He just did the little things over and over, until they added up to something big.