If there is any one player in the NBA that exposes the weaknesses of the Golden State Warriors, it is the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Kevin Love.
After a gut-wrenching 126-123 loss to Minnesota on Sunday, Love was single-handedly the main factor as to why the Warriors lost, but to him it was just another game. With 37 points and 23 rebounds Love recorded his 46th straight double-double and his forth game of the season with at least 30 points and 20 boards; and against a team like the Warriors it is all too easy for a guy like him to get those kinds of numbers. But if Golden State took a couple of notes from Love, they can learn a thing or two about winning a ball game.
After the game head coach Keith Smart had this to say:
“This is a painful loss. Credit Kevin Love, we couldn’t do anything on the glass. Second opportunities for him and getting to the free throw line.”
Second opportunities and getting to the free-throw line; two things the Warriors can almost never seem to come up with. Golden State is currently dead last in the NBA in free throw attempts per game at 20.9, which says to me that players like Monta and Steph need to take it to the hole and draw contact a lot more than just pulling up for a jumper, especially Curry since he is one of the NBA’s premier free throw shooters (90.6% for his career). The W’s need all the easy buckets you can get, and they don’t get much easier than free throws.
Second chance opportunities come from rebounding, which is another Achilles heel for this Warriors team. Keith Smart spoke about it after the game Sunday:
“Rebounding is desire…you have to be determined to get the ball. Steph (Curry) did a good job of getting the ball and catching the long ones and things like that. There are some dirty ones right close to the basket we’ve got to come up with that we didn’t come up with tonight. And Kevin Love, he’s going to play in that area.”
Desire. Determination. Terms I don’t readily associate with how the W’s grab boards. It’s not like Lee, Biedrins and Amundson are outsized or outmatched every game, they simply get out-hustled. Kevin Love is the epitome of hustle, and it shows up in the box score every night. If Love can play this hard for a team with only 14 wins, we certainly should be able to get some more production with the players on the W’s. If Stephen Curry leads your team in rebounds any given night (like last night) then that is a collective failure on the boards for the rest of the team.
Golden State should sit down with a bunch of Kevin Love footage and do some studying. There's no way it could possibly hurt.