Retired NBA legend, Moses Malone, saw two of his records smashed this week. First, Kobe Bryant surpassed Malone on the All-Time Scorer’s list to land at #6, and then on Wednesday night (March 9), Minnesota Timberwolves star Kevin Love surpassed his longest double-double streak.
However, it almost didn’t happen, because Love almost didn’t play. The Wolves forward had a bruised and swollen left knee and didn’t decide to play until about 20 minutes before tip-off, reports ESPN.
“I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to get up and down the court with how stiff it was,” Love said, who played with a brace around his knee. “But I think I made the right choice, not only did I get that [mark], but more importantly we got the win.”
However, once he did, he extended the longest double-double streak in 37 years … and did it in just 27 minutes.
Love scored 16 points and grabbed 21 boards, to help the Timberwolves win for just the 16th time this season over the Indiana Pacers, 101-75.
It was Love’s 52nd double-double in a row, helping his pass Moses Malone’s run, for the longest streak since the ABA and NBA merged in 1976.
He accomplished the feat with 6:51 to play in the first half, sinking a free throw to give him 10 points and 10 rebounds. When he did, the crowd rose to its feet and roared, chanting “MVP! MVP!”
“They’re funny,” Love said with a chuckle. “They’re the same crowd that has been backing us all year, but also the same crowd that was chanting MVP for me last game. They’re funny. They’ve been great all year. I’ll be their MVP any day.”
According to ESPN, only nine players in NBA history — both before and after the merger — have had at least 50 double-doubles in a row. The eight include Malone, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Elgin Baylor, Walt Bellamy, Wilt Chamberlain, Elvin Hayes, Jerry Lucas and Bill Russell — all of whom are in the Hall of Fame.
Next up for Love to beat is Hayes, who had 55 in a row between 1973-74, and Love is gunning for him.