Kevin Love screwed out of All-Star selection by coaches

The dead of winter got a little colder in these parts: Timberwolves forward Kevin Love was passed over by Western Conference coaches as an All-Star reserve.

There is still a chance Love could play in the contest, if he were named as an injury replacement for Houston's Yao Ming. NBA Commissioner David Stern makes that choice. 

UPDATE: Sweet redemption and affection for Love as he learned Friday eve that he was indeed Stern's choice to replace Yao in the All-Star Game.

"I was totally shocked, I had absolutely no idea," Love said before the Wolves' 111-100 loss at Toronto.. "I'm truly humbled. I'm truly blessed. It's a goal of mine my whole life, and I've reached it. I was very happy."

The first-time All-Star extended his double-double streak to 35 straight games, with 20 poins and 15 rebounds in the defeat.

The exhibition will be held Sunday, February 20th at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.  Starters, as voted in by the fans, were announced last week.

Pacing to become the first player since Moses Malone in 1982-83 to average at least 20 points and 15 rebounds over the course of a season, Love was hoping to become just the fifth Wolf to receive the honor. The past four include: Tom Gugliotta (1997), Wally Szczerbiak (2002), Sam Cassell (2004), and 10-time All-Star Kevin Garnett, who has also played in the game thrice as a member of the Boston Celtics.

The Wolves' woeful 11-37 record (second-worst in the NBA) surely derailed Love's shot at selection via the coaches. The slight comes amidst a steady slew of numbers and, well, "NUMB#RS." The former is a nod to his league-leading totals in both rebounds (15.5 per game) and double-doubles (43), while the latter serves in reference to the organization's smart and savvy faux cologne spoof furthering the forward's already-rising visibility. Love is also shooting 44 percent from 3-point land.

The lowly .229 win percentage owned by Love's club nearly threatened to make him the All-Star holding history's worst team win clip. That inauspicious mark is held by former Cleveland Cavalier center Zydrunas Ilgauskaus, who was chosen in 2003 despite the Cavs' 9-38 (.191) record at the time.

The race for forward reserves was a truly heated one, with Love, Tim Duncan, LaMarcus Aldridge, Pao Gasol, Blake Griffin, Dirk Nowitzki, and Zach Randolph essentially vying for three-to-four open spots. Forwards named to the Western squad as reserves instead of Love were: Duncan, Gasol, Nowitzki, and Griffin.

The honor would have proven triply sweet for Love. Along with the opportunity to play defenseless hoop alongside the game's elite, he would also have had the chance to do so in the same town where he was born and where he played his lone season of college ball at UCLA. In addition, his selection would have usurped the disrespect of his being left off the former roster of the Rookies vs. Sophomores game for the All-Star weekend of 2009, although he did appear in the contest as a second-year player last season.

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