After giving up 118 points in a loss to the Knicks last night, it shouldn't come as a surprise that anyone is questioning the lack of defense played by the Wolves.
But that's exactly what Knicks center Tyson Chandler did, and he did so before the game was over. The 13-year NBA veteran criticized Wolves All-Star power forward Kevin Love during a halftime interview. The sideline reporter for the Knicks asked Chandler, who had nine points and 10 rebounds at the half, how he could continue taking advantage of his offensive mismatch with Love.
"Oh, go at him. He can't play D," Chandler answered before bolting to the locker room.
Eric Freeman of Yahoo Sports wonders if the truth hurts? Love has never been considered a great defender, but it's rare for players within the NBA fraternity to criticize another player's skill set – especially a player as highly regarded as Love.
But if anyone thinks Chandler was ripping on the Wolves' franchise player, they might have another thing coming.
Love first met Chandler as a ball boy at a prestigious high school invitational in California, where Chandler was a potential top-five lottery pick as a senior at Dominguez High School. This is how the story unfolds, as told by ESPN's Chris Palmer in a 2012 feature story.
“I followed Tyson around the whole week,” says Love. “I was this suburban, pudgy white kid thinking one day I could be as good as him.”
Love rebounded daily for Chandler in warmups and practice while studying his moves and squeezing in conversation whenever he could. Chandler signed several autographs for the kid. The pair became chummy, to the point that Love started dishing out smack talk.
“I’m gonna be in the NBA one day,” Love told the senior. “You’ll want my autograph someday. You’ll see.”
Chandler was amused. “He was just this little fat kid,” he recalls, “but he was funny.”
It does look like Chandler has a bit of a smirk on his face when he walks away from the interview. Check it out for yourself.