What Dirk, Kevin Love have in common

December, 1, 2010
12/01/10
2:56
PM CT
There have only been a few rebounders over the last 25 years on Kevin Love’s level.

Minnesota’s board machine has posted two straight 20-point, 20-rebound games and has now amassed five before his 23rd birthday, which is a total exceeded only by Dwight Howard (25), Shaquille O’Neal (15) and Charles Barkley (seven) since the 1986-87 season.

But there’s a Dallas hook here beyond the fact that the Mavs will be getting their first up-close look at Love this season on Wednesday night, when the Wolves visit American Airlines Center and Love attempts to become the first player since Kevin Willis in November 1991 to post three consecutive 20/20 games.

Guess who Love just passed on the aforementioned 20/20 list?

Dirk Nowitzki isn’t exactly known for volume rebounding – probably because he hasn’t had a 20/20 outburst in the regular season since rumbling for 25 points and 22 boards against the Lakers on April 3, 2003 – but I’ve been reminded by the Elias Sports Bureau that Dirk did have four such 20/20s before he turned 23.

Something else I’d forgotten: Dirk had two 30-and-20 games within a span of five days in the 2001-02 season.

Nowitzki, for the record, doesn’t have much to envy numbers-wise himself these days. The 32-year-old enters December averaging 25.7 points and 8.3 rebounds on 54.5-percent shooting from the floor ... compared to 24.6 points, 8.9 boards and 50.2-percent shooting in his MVP season of 2006-07 for the 67-win Mavs.

The 11-3 record Dallas posted in November, meanwhile, was Rick Carlisle’s most successful month since coaching Indiana to a 12-3 mark in January 2004.

Marc Stein | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com
• Senior NBA writer for ESPN.com
• Began covering the NBA in 1993-94
• Also covered soccer, tennis and the Olympics

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Dirk Nowitzki
PTS AST STL MIN
21.7 2.7 0.9 32.9
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsD. Nowitzki 6.2
AssistsM. Ellis 5.7
StealsM. Ellis 1.7
BlocksB. Wright 0.9