Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Blake Show or The Love Boat

This Tuesday, the Clippers have a chance to re-do that heartbreaking last-second loss to the Timberwolves earlier this season. At 17-17, the Timberwolves are not exactly the biggest threat in the west, but they're reminiscent of last years Clippers; they are youthful, exciting to watch, and can potentially take down any team at any time.

The matchup also provides us, the fans, with something special: the chance to watch a head-to-head matchup of arguably the best two power forwards in the game, whose combined talents would leave almost nothing to criticize in a single player.

I'm going to take you through a few categories, both on and off the court, to see how Blake and K-Lo match up against each other. For the sake of keeping it fresh and interesting, I'm going to strictly talk about the 2011-2012 NBA season.

Rebounding: No need to save the best for last. Both of these guys should be sponsored by Windex for the amount of time they spend cleaning the glass. (And Hip to Clipp should be sponsored by LameSportsJokes.com.) There are very few people who have ever played the game (Dennis Rodman, Bill Russell, Moses Malone) who took rebounding as seriously as Kevin Love does. Love is taking in 14 rebounds a game this season, and at 6'10'' it's clearly not some kind of Wilt Chamberlain effect. Ask Dennis Rodman (6'7''), and he'll tell you rebounding is about positioning, effort, and angles - Kevin Love has all of these down.

Blake is pulling down slightly less at 11.4 rebounds per game, however the Clippers miss slightly less shots per game (44.1) than the T-Wolves do (46.3). Although it's quite a small difference, that's still 2 more potential rebounds Kevin Love can grab per game, and is worth noting. It's also worth pointing out that the Timberwolves' second leading rebounder, Nikola Pekovic, is not a starter and has played in only 25 games this season, whereas the Clippers second leading rebounder, Deandre Jordan, has played in all 31 games and started alongside (and usually plays side-by-side with) Blake. That all being considered, it's hard to argue that anybody is a better rebounder right now than Kevin Love, so he gets the nod here.

Offensive Effectiveness: Taking a quick look at the numbers, Love looks more impressive with his 25 points per game compared to Blake's 21.4 per game. However, Blake is shooting about 54% percent from the field which is much more impressive than Kevin's 44.6%. Of course, Blake is typically attacking the basket for more high-percentage shots, but we are talking offensive effectiveness here, regardless of shot-choice. Also, the Clippers are 7th in the league in points scored per game (97.9) and 11th in the league in assists per game (21.4), compared to the Timberwolves who sit at 10th (96.8) and 26th (18.7) respectively. These offensive stats clarify that the Clippers have more players contributing at the offensive end which ultimately diminished Blake's touches and points scored. Also worth mentioning Blake's abysmal 54% free throw shooting compared to Love's pretty hearty 83%. And when Blake is getting fouled as hard and as often as he does, his free throw percentage has proven to be a pretty glaring weakness in his offensive game.

When we talk offensive effectiveness, let's not forget that the Clippers are winning games. There is no doubt that Blake is surrounded by better players who are bringing more to the floor on the offensive end than Love's teammates. Ultimately, the numbers don't say it all, and these two players, although for very different reasons, are pretty evenly stacked at the offensive end.

Defense: Both Blake and Kevin could use a healthy dose of improvement on the defensive end. Not that either is a liability, but neither of them are premiere defending big men. They both stack up pretty poorly in the blocked shots department, with Griffin at 0.8 per gamea and Love at 0.5 per game. Fair enough, that's not really their game. Their defensive games, like on the other end, are somewhat dissimilar; Blake is athletic enough to keep up with smaller 3's and K-Lo is strong and wiley enough to hang with bigger 5's. However unimpressive their defensive prowess may or may not be, they are sticking tough on their positioning, as Griffindor is picking up over 8 defensive boards a game and Scola-Stomper is taking in over 9.
Personality: (Note: The following section is completely unbiased.) There is no arguing that both of these guys give all they've got on the court, night in and night out. You have to admire their work ethic and passion for the sport, whether you like them or not. Having said that, even before he stepped on Luis Scola's face, Kevin Love always rubbed me the wrong way. I've heard multiple personal anecdotes about him being cocky and too-cool-for-school.. Oh, and those knee-high socks are hideous. Blake, on the other hand, has pretty funny Kia commercials, an adorable relationship with DeAndre Jordan, and coined the now-famous phrase "Lob City." What's not to like? Okay, he kind of looks like a dinosaur, and also stares down the refs quite a bit... But he gets fouled so hard, give him a break. *Little-Girl Sigh* Oh, Blake...


  1. As a Timberwolves fan, I watch Kevin Love every game. He is the real deal, always gives full effort, and while he could use some more shot blocks, and a few more assists each game, he is the reason for the wolves turn around this season. Blake Griffin is a great player. His move to the basket, and hustle make him a great addition to any squad. He does however, need to work on his consistency at the free throw line. I can't believe that this will dog him through out his career. Always exciting when the Clippers come to MN to play. Don't know how we managed three wins this season.

  2. Agreed, Blake has definitely got to get his FT% up or that will be a glaring hole in his game. Thanks for reading and for the insightful comment!