Los Angeles Clippers: Brad Miller
January, 21, 2012
By Pedro Moura | ESPNLosAngeles.com
Gary A. Vasquez/US PresswireMinnesota's Kevin Love celebrates the victory after his 3-pointer defeated the Clippers on Friday night.
LOS ANGELES – During his first few seasons in the league, Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love said Friday, he didn’t feel comfortable shooting potential winning shots.
He was coming off the bench most of the time. His range didn’t stretch nearly as far as it does now. Players like Al Jefferson, Randy Foye and Jonny Flynn often had the green light to shoot over him.
But, oh, does he feel comfortable now. With 1.5 seconds to play Friday against the Los Angeles Clippers, the fourth-year forward was the guy Minnesota coach Rick Adelman wanted taking the final shot in what was a tense game with the score tied.
And, sealed off from long-armed Clippers center DeAndre Jordan by screens from Wayne Ellington and Ricky Rubio, an unguarded Love caught the inbounds pass from Luke Ridnour well beyond the 3-point line and calmly knocked down a 27-footer to win the game, 101-98.
“I got a good pass and a good screen and I had an open look,” Love said. “It felt great when it left my hands.
“I knew it was in.”
The shot completed a mammoth comeback for Minnesota, which trailed by 12 just nine minutes earlier. Led by Rubio, the rookie point guard, the Wolves broke off a 13-2 run to come within one point and then tied it up on a Rubio 3-pointer with 20 seconds to go.
When the Clippers’ Chauncey Billups missed a layup on the ensuing possession, Adelman called timeout and diagrammed a way to get Love the ball.
He had drawn up a similar play for Brad Miller in a similar situation during his days in Sacramento and thought back to it when he processed the circumstances.