In other words, he has slightly more than Kevin Love has since Christmas.
The Celtics are taking on the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night at the TD Garden, and that means a visit from a 22-year-old rising star who’s quickly establishing himself as one of the game’s best big men. Ready or not, Boston is about to feel the love.
Love will be matched up with Big Baby, and while the two are both young power forwards making names for themselves this season, they couldn’t be more different.
Baby is a wild card, a loose cannon. You never know which Baby you’re going to get. Will it be the bad Baby, who uncorked a hellish missed 3-point attempt at a crucial moment Friday against the Hornets, or the good Baby, who nearly recorded a triple-double two nights later in Toronto? Will you get 15 points, 11 boards and eight assists, or will you get a potentially game-losing mistake?
On the other hand, Love is Mr. Consistency. He’s cranked out a double-double in 20 straight games, an unheard of streak dating back to a Nov. 19 loss to the Lakers. He’s averaging 20.9 points and 15.3 rebounds this season and 29 of his 34 games have been double-doubles. If he keeps this up, he might someday be mentioned among the best rebounders ever.
The Celtics’ matchup with Love is an interesting one. Without Kevin Garnett around, the C’s are forced to use Davis on him for the majority of the game. They’ve managed to find a big man who’s even stubbier and less athletic than Love.
It’s not about athletic prowess with either guy — it’s about instinct, energy and hustle. And for the Celtics, the key to beating Minnesota will be Davis having more instinct, more energy and more hustle than Love.
This is no ordinary matchup for Davis. We’re talking about a guy who dropped 43 points on the Nuggets two weeks ago, including 5-for-5 from 3-point range. He had a 31-point, 31-rebound game back in November, the first 30-30 in the NBA since Moses Malone in 1982. This guy is doing things we haven’t seen on a basketball court in this generation, and it’s up to Davis to slow him down.
The Timberwolves aren’t the deepest team in the NBA, they aren’t the most experienced and they aren’t anywhere near the best. But they have one extraordinary player on their side, and the Celtics can’t let him beat them.