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Love sets NBA record despite gimpy knee

Kevin Love, right, of the Timberwolves pulls down a rebound in the first half Wednesday against the Pacers. <b>Associated Press</b>

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love has recorded his 52nd double-double in a row, surpassing Moses Malone for the longest streak since the ABA and NBA merged in 1976.

Love didn't waste much time in extending the streak. He grabbed 10 rebounds in the first 16 minutes and scored his 10th point at the free throw line with 6:51 to play in the first half.

The crowd gave him a standing ovation and he waved as his achievement was put on the big screen above the court.

Love played with a bulky brace on his bruised left knee and wasn't sure he was going to play until shortly before game time. He was injured on Monday against Dallas, when he tied Malone's mark of 51 in a row with 23 points and 17 rebounds.

The last time Love did not have a double-double was Nov. 19 against the Los Angeles Lakers, when he was scoreless with seven rebounds.

Love wasn't even certain he was going to play in the game until shortly before tipoff after bruising his left knee in a loss to Dallas on Monday. But he decided to give it a go.

With the Pacers clanging shot after shot, Love had 10 rebounds in just 12 minutes of playing time. And the crowd knew it, too.

Love grabbed his first rebound in the first 10 seconds of the game and one fan yelled, "That's one! That's one!"

He stepped to the free throw line with 6:51 to play in the first half and nine points and 10 boards, and the crowd rose to its feet and roared.

The first free throw splashed through, and Love let out a big sigh of relief as his achievement was announced. He gave a wave to the crowd, then went back to work.

Only nine players in NBA history -- both before and after the merger -- have had at least 50 double-doubles in a row. All eight besides Love -- Malone, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Elgin Baylor, Walt Bellamy, Wilt Chamberlain, Elvin Hayes, Jerry Lucas and Bill Russell -- are in the Hall of Fame.

Next up on the list of longest streaks is Hayes with 55 in a row in 1973-74.

Even better, Love got to watch the entire fourth quarter from the bench, resting a knee that was clearly bothering him while he was on the court. The Timberwolves won for just the 12th time during his streak.