Love's mastery of the double-double could be troublesome for 76ers

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Kevin Love has recorded double figures in points and rebounds in 48 consecutive games. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

The 76ers will face one of the hottest players in the NBA, the master of the double-double, when Kevin Love and the Minnesota Timberwolves visit the Wells Fargo Center on Friday.

Love has recorded double figures in points and rebounds in 48 consecutive games and is nearing the 51 recorded by Moses Malone.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the record of consecutive double-doubles is 227 by Wilt Chamberlain from Dec. 11, 1964, to Nov. 17, 1967. Malone had a streak of 50 consecutive double-doubles to end the 1978-79 season and another in the first game of 1979-80.

The NBA does not recognize the double-double as an official statistic.

Listed at 6-foot-10 and 260 pounds, the 22-year-old Love is averaging 20.9 points and 15.5 rebounds.

"Kevin Love has such strong hands and great timing," Sixers coach Doug Collins said following Thursday's practice at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Love is shooting .423 from beyond the arc, another major improvement for the third-year frontcourt performer and first-time all-star.

"The thing that is shocking to me is how he shoots the three ball," Collins said. "He steps out there and has a great feel for the game, his passing is terrific, and he is having a great, great season."

Love's father is former NBA player Stan Love, and his uncle is Beach Boys singer Mike Love.

During the summer, Kevin Love played with Sixers swingman Andre Iguodala on the U.S. national team that won the FIBA World Championship.

"I knew he did a great job on the boards, but I didn't know he was that good," Iguodala said. "He gets to a spot where he wants to, and he gets there first."

Collins called Love a relentless rebounder.

"He reminds me a little of Charles Oakley, who I coached: not a great leaper but incredible hands and has a great feel for where the ball is coming off the rim," Collins said.

The Sixers did a good job against Love during their previous meeting, a 107-87 victory Feb. 12 in Minnesota. In that game, Love had 16 points and 13 rebounds.

"It was a good team effort against him," Sixers forward Elton Brand said.

Notes. The Timberwolves are 15-47. . . . The Sixers (30-30) are coming off Tuesday's 101-93 loss to the Dallas Mavericks, snapping a four-game win streak. . . . The last time the Sixers lost consecutive games was Jan. 19 at Orlando and Jan. 20 at Charlotte. . . . Love is coming off a 20-point, 20-rebound effort in Wednesday's 116-105 win at Detroit. It was the ninth time he had at least 20 points and 20 rebounds in a game this season. . . . Brand, who on Tuesday dislocated his right pinkie finger for the second straight game, said on Thursday he had some pain but would be fine. He was still getting adjusted to wearing a splint on his finger. "Elton wants to rip that splint off, but we have to keep it on his hand because if he gets it hit again it will dislocate," Collins said. . . . The Sixers have won 13 of their last 18 games.

 


Contact staff writer Marc Narducci at 856-779-3225 or mnarducci@phillynews.com.