Kevin Love calls out two teammates in loss to Suns
Though he wouldn’t name names and said he didn’t want to “single anyone out,” Timberwolves All-Star Kevin Love called out “two guys sitting at the end of the bench” – later identified through game footage as J.J. Barea and Dante Cunningham – following the team’s one-point loss to the Phoenix Suns at home on Wednesday night.
Speaking to reporters following the game, Love said it “kind of pisses me off” that those two players didn’t get up from the bench during timeouts, according to Nate Sandell of 1500ESPN.com.
“We can’t have two guys sitting at the end of the bench, who play good minutes, just sitting there and not getting up at timeouts. We all need to be in this together. That kind of pisses me off. We’re supposed to be a team.”
Love later referenced the “two guys” again, saying he expects more from them and that they should expect more from themselves. Barea finished with eight points in 13 minutes while Cunningham had three points and one rebound in a season-low 11 minutes. Love said he “didn’t want to make it bigger than it is” but said those players need to show that they’re “really in it together.”
“It’s to a point that where those two guys, if and when I did that last year when maybe I didn’t sit out for the game for 48 minutes and so on and so forth, they would have killed me. They would have aired me out. It’s two guys we expect more from them, and I think they expect more from themselves…I’m not trying to single anybody out, and I don’t want to make it bigger than it is. That was a team we needed to beat tonight. Even guys that didn’t play any minutes, we need to have a team on the bench that’s really in it together.”
Wolves point guard Ricky Rubio also chimed in on the apparent disconnect between players, saying that not having the team together is “even worse than losing the game.”
“Somebody is maybe frustrated because he didn’t have the minutes he wanted or he wasn’t in the game in the late situation. If something happened, no matter if it’s Coach’s decision or whatever, you have to be with the team. I didn’t see that, but if (Love) says that he saw something. We would have to talk, because that’s even worse than losing the game. Not having the team together, that’s terrible. We have to be a team.”
The Wolves are currently a game under .500 with a 17-18 record following last night’s loss to the Suns, who improved to 21-13 on the season under new head coach Jeff Hornacek. Minnesota is now 0-10 this season in games decided by four points or less.