Timberwolves rookie forward Kevin Love has an inflamed Achilles tendon and sat out Minnesota’s 111-91 win over the New York Knicks on Sunday at Cox Pavilion. But the 6-foot-10-inch, 255-pound forward was well enough to practice with the USA Select Team and is expected to practice again today at Valley High School.
Love, 19, led the NBA Summer League in rebounds, with 13.5 per game, and also led Minnesota with 18 points per game.
POPS GOT HOPS
Pops Mensah-Bonsu, a former standout for George Washington, led the Timberwolves with 21 points on 8-for-12 shooting, scoring most of his points on crowd-pleasing dunks.
He also had a team-high eight rebounds.
Blake Ahearn scored 16 and former Michigan State guard Drew Neitzel added 14 for Minnesota, which led 33-23 after one quarter and extended its lead to 27 after three. Former Florida star Corey Brewer finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.
Anthony Roberson led New York with 23 points.
Mensah-Bonsu, who played in Italy last year after hardly playing for the Dallas Mavericks as an undrafted rookie in 2006-07, has until Tuesday to land an NBA contract or he’ll be headed back to Europe, where he is under contract with a team in Spain.
“I was in the NBA my rookie year, but once you’re out, it’s tough to get back in,” he said. “I feel I’ve improved as a player since then, but there are so many talented players out here, everybody can’t be on a team. I’d love to be in the NBA, but if I don’t make it this year, I’ll be back.”
Timberwolves summer league coach Jerry Sichting said Mensah-Bonsu surprised him with his strong play and said he has a chance to play in the NBA.
“He’d be a classic energy guy off the bench. He’s got a motor that’s always ready to go,” Sichting said. “He’s very athletic and just makes things happen when he comes out on the floor. His energy is kind of contagious with the other guys on the floor.”
ROBINSON’S NUMBER RETIRED
Knicks guard Nate Robinson, a former NBA Slam Dunk champion and MVP of last year’s summer league, had his No. 4 retired at halftime of the New York-Minnesota game.
His blue jersey with white lettering was unveiled beneath the scoreboard at the far end of the Cox Pavilion court. It was the first jersey retired in the 5-year history of the Las Vegas league.
“I’ve never had my jersey retired before. It’s a blessing,” said Robinson, who sat out Sunday’s game. “It’s a little thing, but little things count. Hopefully some other guys will get their jerseys retired and we’ll have a big ol’ list of guys’ jerseys who played here and contributed, just like I did.”
Robinson said his secret to success here is simple: “Just play hard, be a great teammate and have fun. That’s what the fans like to see.”
Denver Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony showed up to watch the start of the Wizards-Suns game and sat a couple seats from Utah Jazz guard Darren Williams. The lights inside weren’t too bright, but Anthony kept his sunglasses on.
Team USA general manager Jerry Colangelo sat courtside with Knicks president Donnie Walsh for most of the Knicks-Timberwolves game. Knicks legend Walt Frazier broadcast the game and New York coach Mike D’Antoni watched from the stands.