Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love ended the regular season with a bang, all while playing off the bench and suiting up for less than 20 minutes against the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Cavs forward exploded for 32 points and 10 rebounds in the contest, and he did so in just 15 minutes in the game. Of course he made history in the process, as he became the first player in the shot clock era to have a 30-10 game in 15 minutes or less. Furthermore, as Stat Muse noted, it is the most points scored by a player in less than 19 minutes–breaking the 30-point record set by Kevin Durant in 2014.
Kevin Love today:
in 15 MINS
It’s the first 30/10 game in 15 minutes or fewer in the shot clock era. pic.twitter.com/I1l77WE4rV
— StatMuse (@statmuse) April 10, 2022
Even making things more insane, Kevin Love’s per minute average is actually higher than Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game. Wilt played all 48 minutes of that fabled contest against the New York Knicks, which put his per minute average at 2.08.
In comparison, Love’s 32 in 15 puts him at 2.13.
Now we’re not saying that Love would have scored 100 or more in the contest. Chamberlain’s record is unlikely to be broken even in today’s NBA where scoring is at an all-time high. However, it gives a better perspective on how incredible the achievement of the Cavs big man is.
While he has been largely criticized over the past few years because of his declining play, Love proved his doubters wrong and embraced a new role with the Cavs. He is no longer the same double-double machine he once was in Minnesota, but he has become quite the veteran leader who is showing he can step up for the team when needed.
That is exactly the kind of performance the Cavs needed to see as they head to the play-in to face the Brooklyn Nets. They need to win at least one game in the tournament to make the playoffs, and what better way to motivate the team than seeing a 33-year-old Love put up buckets and grab boards in a highly efficient manner.
If anything, the Nets should be worried that they will be facing a Cavs team that is not only growing in confidence, but is also seeing flashes of the old, dominant Love.