It took Kevin Love 338 NBA games, but one of basketball’s most notable single-game accomplishments eludes him no more.
More than halfway through the sixth season of his career, the Timberwolves power forward recorded 37 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in a 121-104 win Saturday at Utah. It was the first triple-double of his professional tenure and the second by Minnesota player this season. Ricky Rubio had the first one on Nov. 10, 2013 against the Los Angeles Lakers (12 points, 10 rebounds, 14 assists)
There have been 30 triple-doubles — 27 in the regular season — in the Timberwolves’ 25-year history. Garnett has 19 of them (16 in the regular season).
"I thought at some point it would happen," said Love, who did a postgame interview with FOX Sports North arm-in-arm with point guard Rubio. "I’ve been very close. Happy it was tonight and more happy we got the win."
Five times previously — all this season — Love had come within one or two assists of a triple-double. Hitting 6 of 10 3s and controlling the glass against Utah, he tallied his ninth helper with 2 minutes, 23 seconds left in the third quarter.
About 2 minutes into the final frame, he found Corey Brewer with one of the signature outlet passes Love has perfected since high school. The Timberwolves’ leak-out specialist laid it in, giving Minnesota a 101-82 advantage.
"I was glad it was Brew for the 10th assist," said Love, who made his first All-Star Game start earlier this season and ranks fourth in the league in scoring and second in rebounding. "It was fitting that it came in an outlet pass."
It also helped the Timberwolves (27-28) match their longest winning streak of the year at three victories and commence a five-game road trip on a positive chord.
But that wasn’t the only reason Rubio couldn’t stop grinning from ear to ear after Saturday’s contest at EnergySolutions Arena.
"It’s fun to play with (Love)," Rubio said, unable to wipe the smile from his face.