Before the season, I ranked the Minnesota Timberwolves as the No. 1 League Pass team in the NBA, and about 40 percent of the way through the season, my ranking seems justified. There have been some minor disappointments — Derrick Williams has gotten off to a slow start, J.J. Barea has been injured, Anthony Randolph comes and goes — but they’ve been made up for from surprisingly compelling contributions from guys like Nikola Pekovic and Wesley Johnson (OK not Wesley Johnson, he sucks) and the long-overdue return of Brad Miller. Of course, the combo of Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love makes the team a must-watch all by their lonesome. They’re a fun team, a young team, and for at least one brief shining moment in early February, even a winning team.

Really, there’s only one thing hindering their League Pass potential, and it’s this: Their play-by-play guy, Tom Hanneman, doesn’t make nearly enough Kevin Love puns. I heard one, once — I’d tell you what it was here but I’m gonna need it for myself later (I marked it with an asterisk) — but generally speaking, he does not draw from the well very often. This is inconceivable to me. Do you have any idea how rare it is to get a player with the word “Love,” the most common improper noun in the history of song titles and song lyrics, on your team? I’ll tell you how rare. There have only been three players in league history with that last name (Bob, Stan, Kevin), and they’ve played a combined 19 seasons between them. This is NOT an opportunity that you take for granted.

So maybe Tom Hanneman isn’t the most pop-literate of announcers, who knows. As TBJ’s resident pop culture correspondent, I’m willing to help him out a little bit. I won’t say “do his homework for him,” exactly, even though we all know that’s basically what I’m doing. Here are what are, in my opinion, the 42 best possible announcer puns involving Kevin Love’s last name, to be read in Hanneman’s voice, and imagined as taking place during a Timberwolves home game. Some of them are all-purpose, some of them are only in play in very specific circumstances, but there’s no excuse for a good T-Wolves announcer to not have every single one of them in his arsenal, just in case. He’ll see.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone.

42. “The ball goes to Love in the post against Wright. He bites on the Love pump fake but recovers. Love jab steps once, twice, Wright sticks with him but loses his balance. He tries to strip the ball as Love bursts past him, but crumples to the floor as Love lays the ball in. Oh, yeah, it’s the Love rollercoaster!”

41. “Rubio turns the corner and suddenly finds himself in a swarm of defenders. He chucks the ball up at the net … and there’s Kevin Love to sky for the ball and slam the toss home! Boy, we had no idea what Ricky was thinking there on that, but turns out he was just looking out for a big, big Love on that one!”

40. “Ellington drives and kicks out to Love on the wing, who puts up the contested jumper … nailed it! Eight field goals in a row for Kevin Love, after starting the game just 1-for-10!! Lord all mighty, will you feel his temperature rising? He’s just a hunka hunka burning Love in this third quarter!”

39. “Tolliver hoists the open corner three, but draws iron … and skying in for the rebound is Kevin Love! He goes back up with it and slams it home with authority! I didn’t know he could get up that high! Love is in the air tonight in Minnesota!”

38. “Love gets the ball at the top of the key, with an open lane to the basket. Over slides DeAndre Jordan to take the charge, sprawling to the floor, but the ref calls a block, saying Jordan didn’t have his feet set. Jordan looks furious that he took the hit for nothing, but you know what they say: Sometimes Love knocks you down.”

37. “Love on the wing, picks up his dribble but has nowhere to go. He tosses the ball up off the backboard, then bursts past his defender, collects the rebound, and puts it back up and in! Well, Minnesota, you got to see some of the old playground Love on that one!”

36. “Now, Randolph sizes up Love in the post. Tries to back him down, but Love won’t budge. Spins left, but gets cut off by Love on the base line. Finally, Randolph fades away for the tough jumper … air ball! What a defensive sequence by Love!! Oh boy, Minnesota, how about that Love lockdown?”

35. “Ridnour finds Love with room on the wing, drives base line, gets clipped by a defender and puts up the floater … and one! How did he get that shot off?? And from the sound of it, the entire crowd is murmuring the same question!! Can you feel the Love buzz at the Target Center tonight??

34. “Love, 10 feet from the basket, draws the double team. Splits the defenders somehow, banks it up and in … AND ONE!! 93-76 Wolves!! Tyrone Corbin is looking on with his jaw dropped, he can’t believe it!! And Rick Adelman is smiling at the Jazz coach, as if to say “That’s right — my Love is like ‘woah’.”

33. “Rubio on the break, finds Love spotting up on the wing for the three … drills it! That’s five straight from downtown, his eighth overall! Can you remember a shooting night this scorching? Love is like a heat wave tonight against Sacramento!”

32. “Floater from Barea bounces around and out … up comes Love with the rebound, slamming it home!! That’s 24 for Love!! Well, after going down hard with a twisted ankle in the first, we thought we might not hear from Kevin again tonight … but doggone it, Love is alive here in the fourth!!”

31. “Rebound to Pekovic, outlets for Love at mid-court!! Jason Terry isn’t even goint to try to stop Kevin as he barges in for the easy deuce! People all over the Target Center, join hands! Heeere comes the Love Train!!

30. “The ball goes to Love in the post against Scola. Love turns around and pump fakes, twice, jab-steps right, crosses back over left, spins base line and flips it up and in!! And Scola looks dizzy and dazed out there on the court, trying to nurse his Love hangover! And if there’s a cure for this, believe us, he wants it!”

29. “And Bryant hits the turnaround, causing Rick Adelman to call a timeout. The Lakers now lead the Wolves 70-48 here in the third quarter, with No. 42 failing to register a single point since the opening minutes of the first quarter. And now everyone in the Target Center is turning to their neighbor and asking: ‘Where is the Love?’”

28. “Love squares up against Griffin on the wing, dribbles once, twice, then turns around for the fadeaway … got it! And that should do it for the Clippers here at Target Center. Blake and Kevin have had some epic showdowns in recent years … but after four straight losses to Blake and his Clips, finally we have our Love on top!”

27. “Barea cuts down the lane and kicks out to Love, squared up behind the three-point line … GOT IT!! Time out Hawks!! And Kevin raises up his hands, demanding the appropriate audience response, and boy, are they giving it to him here at the Target Center! Love leads to building on fire once again!!”

26. “Beasley pokes the ball away from Evans, recovered by Rubio, who spots Love sprinting down the floor and throws the touchdown pass. He leads Love a little too far, but Kevin catches up to the ball anyway, gathers it and lays it in, while hurtling into the first row!! WOW!! No way the Kevin of last year has the athleticism to make that play? My my my, my my my, skinny Love!”

25. “Love dribbles the ball to the top of the key, hands off to Rubio. Rubio drives, and kicks to Love, now open in the corner for three. The shot bounces once, twice … and under the basket to put it back up and in is Kevin Love! How did he get there in time? Love is all around us tonight at the Target Center!”

24. “Love hustling down court, one defender to beat and it’s Samuel Dalembert. Love goes careening into him, flips the ball up … and one! And Dalembert is down … looks like he might’ve taken a knee to the chest on that one. Well, it shouldn’t be news to anyone in the NBA … Love hurts!”

23. “Two-on-one break for the Jazz, Harris and Millsap, Love the lone defender. Harris dishes to Millsap who drives in for the layup … offensive foul!! Millsap is kicking himself, knowing that he blew what seemed like a sure layup, until Kevin said ‘Stop! In the name of Love!‘”

22. “And the final seconds tick off of another Wolves win here at the Target Center! The Wolves are now 10 games ahead of where they were at this point last year, and Kevin Love continues his hot play, now averaging 26 points a game, over five points more than he averaged last year, with a higher field goal percentage and fewer turnovers! So when people ask us how to quantify the difference between this year’s Wolves team and last year’s, we say, measure in Love — seasons of Love!”

21. “Rubio at the top of the key, finds Love posting up on the wing. Love holds the ball, steps … and hits a baseline-cutting Webster with a gorgeous pass for two!! Do you see how free-flowing the offense is this year under new coach Rick Adelman? None of that bizarre Love Triangle we saw the two previous seasons with Kurt Rambis!”

20. “With 10 seconds to go, Love, guarded by Frye in the post, that’s a mismatch. Five seconds, three seconds, Love drives the lane and flips it up over Channing … it rattles around and drops in!! And Minnesota wins 107-106, with Love like a sunset to this Phoenix team!”

19. “Rubio feeds Love off the pick-and-roll, and Kevin puts up the 18-footer … it’s good! A career-high 45 points for Love, and we needed every one of them tonight, on a night when the Wolves turned the ball over 19 times and went a collective 2-17 from downtown. But even amidst such team-wide turmoil, it once again proved true: Love will keep us together.”

18. “The Nuggets defenders swarm Love as he dribbles the ball, down one with six seconds left. He splits the double team, goes sprawling into Nene in the post and flips up a shot, which he banks in as time expires!! Wolves win!!! And you could tell that the Nuggets knew, too — there are plenty of weapons here on this Minnesota team, but only Love can break your heart.”

17. “Eight seconds to go, Rubio finds Love posting up on the left block. Love turns, squares up, sizes his defender. Three seconds. Love pulls up and fires — AND HE BANKS IT HOME AS THE CLOCK HITS ZERO! WOLVES WIN, 98-97!! After a couple straight empty possessions, it looked like the Wolves might not have been able to pull this one out … but it turns out that once again, all you need is Love!

16. “Love gets the ball on the baseline, spins on his defender and slams it home!! And oh boy, is he giving Boris Diaw a glare on the way back down the court!! Look out, Boris, we all know that look! That’s the look, that’s the look … the look of Love!”

15. “AR’s shot rolls around the rim and off … but there’s Kevin underneath the basket to tap it back home!! And LaMarcus Aldridge is in total disbelief that Love got that tip, shrugging at the Portland bench as if to say ‘What the hell do I have to do to keep this guy off the boards?’ What can we tell you, LaMarcus? That’s the way Love goes!”

14. “Love, with a hand in his face at the top of the key … drains the three! And the Target Center goes absolutely bonkers as Gregg Popovich calls a time out. I don’t think I’ve ever heard this building so loud? That, my friends, is the Power of Love!”*

13. “The ball is loose, and it’s Love who picks it up in stride on the way to the basket. Rondo makes a swipe at it, but Love palms the ball, rocks it back with his right hand and tomahawks it down!! Ohhh, the cradle of Love! Don’t rock it easy, Kevin!”

12. “Ridnour dumps the ball down low to Love in the post, defended by Andrew Bynum. Love pumps and spins on him, chucks it up as both players go sprawling to the floor … it’s good! And Bynum is still on the court, clutching at what looks to me like a possible ACL tear. Looks like Bynum is finding out the hard way — falling in Love is hard on the knees!”

11. “The Clippers do not want to foul here, as Ridnour finds a wide-open Love in the corner for three. It’s good, but too little, too late, as the buzzer sounds, and the Wolves fall to the Blazers, 82-80. Kevin was absolutely magnificent tonight, ending with 37 points and 14 rebounds, but in a game like this, with none of his teammates scoring more than a dozen, sometimes Love just ain’t enough.”

10. “And it’s Love posting up against Metta World Peace. Kevin backs him down, dribbling, dribbling … then spins base line, as Metta’s feet get tangled and he falls to the floor. And the Wolves fans are going wild here at the Target Center, singing to themselves “Give me Love, give me Love, give me Peace on earth!

9. “Ridnour drives the paint, kicks out to Love behind the arc for three … bottoms! That’s 35 for Love, and Skiles calls a timeout! The crowd goes wild as Kevin puts his hand to his ear, asking the crowd: Can you feel the Love tonight?”

8. “Wes fakes the three, drives the ball and dumps off to a wide-open Kevin under the basket! He gets hacked by Kenyon Martin to prevent the easy bucket, which makes six on Martin, and he is gone! Another victim claimed by the Love Removal Machine!”

7. “Speights squares up for a jumper on the right wing … Love gets a piece of it! Kevin collects the rebound and outlets to a streaking Rubio for an easy two!! Boy, the Wolves’ smaller lineup was getting absolutely killed on defense early in the fourth, until Rick Adelman pointed to his bench and said, “Bring me a higher Love!”

6. “Kevin gets the ball at the foul line, fakes the spin right, pivots left, pulls back and drains the jumper! From the back, to the middle and around again! That move was 100% pure Love!”

5. “Rubio dribbling at the top of the key … puts the ball up for a streaking Love who slams the alley-oop for two! Oh boy, we thought Rubio’s pass might’ve been a little too high for Kevin to get to, but on that one, Ricky said to himself, ‘I believe in a thing called Love!”

4. “Nash dribbles the ball at the top of the key … and all of a sudden there’s a whistle. Oh no, looks like they’re going to get Kevin for three in the key! I didn’t even notice him in there for more than a second! And Rick Adelman is in disbelief, hollering at the refs, asking them “Hey, what’s Love got to do with it?

3. “The ball goes to Love in the post against Nowitzki, who turns and stuffs it in the face of the future Hall of Famer, giving Dirk a little brush off the shoulder to boot! WOW! These Timberwolves have had to endure accusations of being soft in the past, but you can be darn well sure that those critics ain’t talkin’ ’bout Love! Our Love is rotten to the core!”

2. “And Rubio attempts a dangerous entry pass to Love, double-covered underneath the basket … and Kevin somehow corrals the ball, flips it up and puts it in! Ricky found Love in a hopeless place on that one!”

1. “Love with the ball, dribbling behind the arc Wolves down two with ten seconds left. Clock now at seven, five … is Love even gonna get a shot off? Now, Love rises up and shoots the 25-footer … GOT IT!!! WOLVES WIN!! Oh, we should have known!! When it comes to hitting the big shot, you can’t hurry Love! No, you just have to wait!”

Comments (11)

  1. Haddaway – What is Love

  2. Some of you guys could use some Lessons in Love http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gt7mtdLha-c

  3. #6 was my favorite.

    Although I would have liked to see a scenario that works in “Love – Fist – Love – Scar – Love – Break”…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tymWpEU8wpM#t=1m18s

  4. This is priceless. Extraordinary work, Andrew.

  5. Love Like a Sunset was witty. And obviously if he hits two buzzer beaters against Phoenix in a season there’d be parts I and II.

    But how do you forget Love Will Tear Us Apart?

  6. He bites on the Love-pump fake hahaha

  7. What about “When love takes over” and “Love will tear you apart”?

  8. “What a monster dunk! Who says ‘The Book of Love’ is long and boring? Not me!”

  9. How could you miss out on “when Love came to town”?

  10. When K-Love was suspended I entitled a blog post “Love Shack-led For Two Games!”

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