Now that he has had a chance to cool down and reflect on what happened, when Minnesota Timberwolves beat writer Jerry Zgoda asked Kevin Love on Friday about the power forward’s testy meltdown following another close loss on Wednesday to the Phoenix Suns, Love downplayed the incident and insisted that everything is a-OK and team chemistry is fine.
“We’ve been on the same page,” Love said. “Everything that happened is now internal. We’ve moved on from it. And we have a big game tonight.”
The “everything” Love is referring to is how Love lashed out at J.J. Barea and Dante Cunningham for what he perceived as the two not being committed to the team after the two sat on the end of the bench and didn’t get up and join the team huddle during timeouts.
Love blasted the two players for their conduct, saying that kind of behavior “kind of pisses me off.”
Love admitted that going 0-10 in games decided by four points or less has been incredibly frustrating for not only him, but his teammates as well. Asked if the team’s late-game struggles — not to mention how Love publicly called out teammates — has had an adverse effect on the locker room, he disagreed.
“We just need to continue to be ourselves,” Love said. “Like I said, keep it internal. We all like each other. And we had a great time at shootaround today. And we have to be ready to go at 7 o’clock tonight.”
The T’Wolves host the Charlotte Bobcats at Target Center on Friday night, and Love’s comment seem to indicate that he believes if the team sticks together, there won’t be a repeat performance and an epic collapse against the Bobcats, and hopefully, less often in the future.
“We just need to continue to be ourselves,” he said. “Like I said, keep it internal. We all like each other. And we had a great time at shootaround today. And we have to be ready to go at 7 o’clock tonight.”
Love keeps insisting that things should be dealt with internally, but he’s been the one that keeps publicly reprimanding his teammates. Perhaps he’s learned his lesson. J.J. Barea, one of the targets of Love’s public ire and condemnation, seems to hope that’s the case.
“A little disappointing, you know?’’ Barea said. “I wish Kevin would’ve just came up to me, face-to-face, man-to-man, and said it. But it’s no big deal. We’re over it. We’ve got to play as a team and stay together as a team, so we’re done with that. We talked, and it’s not really a big deal for me. I just want to win games.’’
Barea also acknowledged that Love is the unquestioned leader of the Timberwolves, so he should continue what he’s been doing: Leading.
“He’s an All Star on this team, so he’s got to be the leader,” Barea said. “He’s got to be a voice, and everybody’s got to follow the All Star. He’s doing a better job this year. Hopefully he’ll keep it going.”
Despite the team’s struggles of late and the fact that Minnesota finds itself once again one game under .500 (17-18), Love expressed belief that there remains plenty of time to get things headed in the right direction.
“We still have a number of games left,” he said. “We’re past the first trimester (of the season). We just need to knock out as many (wins) as we can before the All Star break and give ourselves a chance.’’
With rumors percolating that Love wants out of Minnesota and wants to play for the Los Angeles Lakers and will likely jump ship in 2015, if the Wolves don’t straighten things out quickly, Love’s name may become fodder for trade rumors in the near future.