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Kevin Love Could Join Exclusive 20-15 Club

Only eight players in NBA history have averaged at least 20 points and 15 rebounds per game in a season and all of them are in the Hall of Fame: Wilt Chamberlain (13), Bob Pettit (8), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (4), Elgin Baylor (4), Walt Bellamy (4), Elvin Hayes (4), Moses Malone (2) and Bob McAdoo (1). If he can keep up his current pace, Kevin Love will be next on that list. Love is currently averaging 20.8 points per game and 15.5 rebounds per game — the highest average since Dennis Rodman’s 16.05 per game in 1996-97.

Love was drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies in 2008, but was immediately traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves for fellow 2008 draft pick O.J. Mayo. The Timberwolves definitely got the better end of this deal; Mayo’s first three years have produced a healthy 17.2 points per game, but that’s really it. He’s probably never going to be as famous for his play as he is for his one-year stint at USC.

Love, on the other hand, has seen his production rise incrementally each season — from 11 points and nine rebounds to 14 points and 11 rebounds to the historic pace he’s on this year. He’s got as many single-digit rebound games this season (5) as he does games with at least 20 boards. In what was probably his best game this season, on Nov. 12 against the Knicks, Love put up 31 points and brought down 31 rebounds — talk about glass cleaning.

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MLB Free Agent Contracts Have Gotten Completely Out of Hand

It almost feels like Christmas in December. It’s baseball’s annual right of passage, winter free agent signings that net sums of money so ghastly even hedge fund managers are blushing. At this rate, the good folks at Major League Baseball may have to change the name to World $eries. The holidays are upon us, but don’t be confused. That slightly rotund fellow wearing red ain’t Santy Claus, it’s Lance Berkman, who last season ho-ho-hummed his way to a .248 batting average yet still Madoff with eight million dollars from the Cardinals. Nope, there’s no jolly old Saint Nick Punto or Johnson (they haven’t been signed yet).

What’s a Jayson worth you ask? Well, aside from the gross misspelling (someone should let him know already), how about a tidy $126 million over seven years. Forget a spruce, the Nats’ new addition may now hang his ornaments on a sequoia. I thought the folks in Washington DC were trying to rein in wasteful spending. He’d better do well in the nation’s capital or else someone in the Nationals’ front office made a huge Boehner. Ostensibly, there were no three wise men behind that deal.

Each year, baseball’s general managers descend on Florida like so many aging retirees who sport various shades of vibrantly-colored plaid pants. Both come in search of early bird specials. The only difference is that Dave Dombrowski is more likely to splurge on an overcooked piece of meat than, say, Uncle Mort. One can only imagine the reaction of Joaquin Benoit, a 33-year-old right-hander signed by the Tigers for $16.5 million despite the fact he has a career ERA approaching the Michigan state sales tax and a less-than-stellar 31-28 career record. He may be dashing through the snow in the Motor City, but can probably now afford more than one horse to pull that open sleigh (though convertibles are not really trendy in the D in the middle of winter).

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LBS NFL Power Rankings Week 16

1. New England Patriots (12-2, –)

New England has a tendency to make young quarterbacks look like Joe Montana, and that’s what they did with Matt Flynn on Sunday. It’s possible the Packers would have won if Rodgers played, but it’s also possible the Patriots underestimated Flynn. We’re going with the latter.

2. Atlanta Falcons (12-2, –)

Winning in Seattle is no easy task, but the Falcons made it look like one. Atlanta hasn’t really stumbled since week six, and if you believe in teams wearing themselves out that should be your only concern with this team as we head into the postseason.

3. Philadelphia Eagles (10-4, +2)

A mistake from Matt Dodge helped, but the Eagles completed the greatest comeback of the season against the Giants.  We knew Philadelphia had the talent, but now we know they have the fight needed to win a championship.  Michael Vick is a legitimate leader for the first time in his career.

4. Baltimore Ravens (10-4, +3)

After their defense looked pretty soft against the Texans last week, the Ravens were able to hold off arguably the best offense in the NFC with a potent rushing attack. Ray Rice’s return to form will be crucial in determining how far they go in the postseason.

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Eagles Used 10 Players in Onside Kick to Confuse Giants

Philly fans surely haven’t finished enjoying the Eagles’ comeback win over the Giants on Sunday. Conversely, the pain for Giants fans has not been ameliorated, and only winning out might help. I’ll tell you something else that won’t help matters for the fans — and no, we’re not talking about the latest news with punter Matt Dodge. As if the Giants didn’t already feel dumb enough for blowing a 31-10 lead with eight minutes to go, how about finding out that the Eagles tricked you with only 10 men on the field? True story.

Giants linebacker Chase Blackburn said the Eagles confused them. “They ran a guy off right in front of everybody and they’re all looking at each other saying, ‘We’ve (only) got 10.’ So we’re doing the same thing, trying to recount. And then you forget about that ‘alert’ a little bit. That’s kind of what happened.”

Coach Tom Coughlin didn’t think that was a proper excuse and still says he warned the players to prepare for an onside kick. It didn’t matter, as the Giants were left looking even more stupid than they already were.

See the play at nfl.com

Latest UCLA Transfer Matt Carlino Reportedly Chooses BYU

UCLA has lost several transfers recently, but the latest was one of the biggest surprises. Freshman guard Matt Carlino recently announced he was going to transfer, shocking coach Ben Howland because there were no signs of his unhappiness.

Carlino, who is a point guard but was likely to play shooting guard for the Bruins, left over a lack of playing time. He acted swiftly by reportedly choosing BYU less than two weeks after deciding to leave UCLA. For a brief period of time it appeared he would join former Bruins Chace Stanback and Mike Moser at UNLV, but that fell through.

Carlino joins Moser, Drew Gordon, and J’Mison Morgan as players to leave the program within the last year. Though that may reflect poorly upon the program, the reality is players come to school thinking they’re going to win the starting job or at least play significant minutes. When that doesn’t happen, they get discouraged and figure transferring somewhere they can play more minutes will be better for their career. Maybe Carlino will find an opportunity at BYU that he didn’t have at UCLA.

Pic via Scout

Mark Wahlberg and Will Smith in Celebrity Boxing Match? Make it Happen

Mark Wahlberg is the star of the movie The Fighter about Mickey Ward that’s currently out in theaters. We know Marky Mark already keeps himself in excellent shape, but now that he’s added boxer to his list of credentials he’s become instantly more terrifying. So much so that a Celeb Fight promoter wants to put the pants dropper in the ring with Will Smith, who once portrayed Muhammad Ali on screen.

As I learned from Steve Cofield at Yahoo! Sports, said promoter is planning to offer each man a million bucks to get in the ring. We need to make this happen. Unlike previous crappy celeb boxing matches, this one has the makings of a spectacular show. I can just picture glorious winds circling about and papers flying around as the two superstars approach the ring, with a magnetic current pulling them together.

If I were handicapping the thing, I’d have to place Wahlberg as the favorite. At 6’2″ Will Smith clearly has a height and reach advantage, but Marky Mark will take the fight inside and try to land some stealthy uppercuts. Smith would have to get into the gym to make sure his cardio is up to speed, and he’ll probably try to keep Wahlberg at arm’s length in attempt to win things on the judges’ cards. So who ya got? Mike Lowery or Vince Papale?

Report: Tom Coughlin Kicked Matt Dodge Out of Locker Room

On second thought, maybe Eli Manning wasn’t the loneliest man in the world on Sunday.  No doubt he was pretty lonely in that press room, but at least he wasn’t ordered into solitary confinement.  After he punted the ball to DeSean Jackson on Sunday and put the nail in the Giants coffin, Matt Dodge probably felt more alone — especially when Tom Coughlin kicked him out of the locker room.

As Deadspin pointed out, Howard Eskin tweeted on Monday that Coughlin walked into the locker room after the Giants loss and “saw his punter in tears.”  He allegedly told him to get out of the locker room and said he was no longer a part of the team.  Talk about rough.

If Eskin’s source is accurate and that’s really what happened, Coughlin owes his punter an apology.  Was it a bonehead mistake?  Absolutely.  There’s no way he should have punted it directly to one of the most dangerous return men in the game in that situation.  However, the game should have never gotten to that point.  When a team blows a 21-point lead in the fourth quarter, the blame should start with the head coach.  Allowing a team back into a game like that shows a complete lack of focus from the players and an inability of the coaching staff to keep them focused.

Obviously, Coughlin didn’t cut Dodge.  He was probably just angry and needed someone to take it out on, but he should have looked in the mirror first.