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Kevin Love calls out teammates after another close loss

By Matt Moore | NBA writer

On Wednesday night, the Timberwolves lost to the Phoenix Suns 104-103. It was their tenth loss in games decided by four points or less. They have not won any such games. It was a frustrating game in a frustrating season, and afterwards, it boiled over into the media. Kevin Love called out his teammates, without naming names, for failing to get up off the bench during timeouts to be in the huddle late.

It's not the first time Love has criticized the bench. He also took the bench to task publicly for a lack of scoring in a loss to Dallas. Barea took exception both times.

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com broke down Love's situation and the ramifications for the Wolves Thursday:

Whether Minnesota's inability to win close games is a random event or something more sinister is a matter of interpretation (as is, frankly, Love's culpability for it). But with Love's boiling point registering again, there's no debating the similarity between his situation and those of impatient stars who came before him and used impending free agency as leverage.

When time came to sign Love to an extension during the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season, Kahn declined to give Love a five-year, 30 percent max deal under the newly minted Derrick Rose rule. Love had to settle for a four-year deal in which he demanded -- and received -- a player option after the third season.

That opt-out is coming in July 2015 and will be a guiding force in every decision that the new GM, Saunders, makes between now and then. Essentially, Saunders will be faced with the same predicament that encumbered Masai Ujiri in Denver with Anthony; Otis Smith in Orlando with Howard; Kevin O'Connor in Utah with Williams; and, once upon a time, Danny Ferry in Cleveland with James.

It's worth noting that, of the aforementioned executives, only O'Connor in Utah is still running his team. Ujiri left by choice, and with a massive raise, to take over the Raptors. Smith and Ferry were fired.

via Wolves between rock and hard place with frustrated Kevin Love - CBSSports.com.

Love is averaging 26.1 points and 13. rebounds this season for Minnesota, who face the Bobcats Saturday. We broke down the situation in Minnesota in detail on the Eye on Basketball Podcast Thursday.

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