It was the perfect storm.
In this case, we'll call it Hurricane Kevin.
It's been a long time since the Celtics were considered a really good rebounding team -- their style of play keeps totals relatively low. But not having Kevin Garnett for Monday night's game against the Timberwolves didn't help matters.
Minnesota, on the other hand, doesn't have a rebounding problem - they're ranked first in the league (44.8 per game). After just a few minutes in, it was pretty clear why.
Kevin Love grabbed 10 of his 24 boards in the first quarter, as the Wolves outrebounded the Celtics 45 to 30 for the game. While the rebounding performance Love put on wasn't enough for the win, it was quite impressive nonetheless.
"He's tenacious," coach Doc Rivers said of Love. "It was a Love fest."
Midway through the 3rd quarter, Love had five offensive rebounds. Nobody on the Celtics even totaled five rebounds at that point in the game.
He was everywhere on the glass. Maybe that was because Garnett missed the game, and Glen Davis was in foul trouble for parts of it. But the fact remains that Love is just a unique player - one in which the league doesn't see too often.
"The last few guys that I've seen like that - you know, Jayson Williams when he was with New Jersey, you just knew he was getting that rebound," Ray Allen said. "We haven't had a guy like that in the NBA in a long time. Ben Wallace, you could throw his name in the pot. And obviously Dennis Rodman was the best I've ever seen do it just in the era that I've played. And now [Love] is the guy that I see now."
It's funny that Allen mentions Wallace, because he was the last player to grab at least 23 rebounds against the Celtics before Love did it Monday night.
Rivers wished Davis could have logged more time against Love, but the 29 minutes of playing time was more than enough for Davis to realize how special of a player Love is. Davis has pushed himself to be a much more complete player this season, and matchups like Monday night make him want to work that much harder.
"Man," Davis said shaking his head. "He motivates me man. A guy like that, his stature, the way he's built and the way he plays the game as far as his rebounding ability. I look forward to a lot of good matches with him. Two undersized power forwards going at it. I really see a lot of good matches.
"He just has a knack for the ball. A lot of people don't have that knack. He just goes and gets the rebound. He's always moving. He motivates me to be a better player."
Allen echoed Davis' comments on Love's "knack" for being in the right place at the right time.
"I believe he has a knack for keeping his body in motion around the basket," he said. "He's got long arms and he's strong. He's built like a refrigerator so you can't really move him from one side to the next.
"He's getting his hands on balls and I think other guys have tendencies to kind of look up and kind of watch and see what the ball's doing. He's getting right to that spot, he's moving to that spot and he's moving you out. So positioning with him is real key."
There's no proof that the basketball is magnetically attracted to Love's hands, but the 6-foot-10 power forward sure makes it seem that way.
"It's almost like the ball was coming to him," Allen continued. "There's four or five rebounds somebody would tip and it'd go right to him. It's like you develop a rhythm where the ball is just kind of finding you. That's talent, that's I don't know what you want to call it, but, you know, he has it."
The Celtics shot 45-percent from the field against Minnesota - not their best performance, but also not their worst. While they average the best field goal percentage in the league (50-percent), that means that they also miss 50-percent of their shots - a way of thinking that Love takes with him everywhere.
"Just assuming everything is a miss on any given night," Love said of why he's been so successful on the glass. "A team is only going to shoot, you know, 50-percent on their best night. So there's a lot of balls out there to get.
"I'm just using my grit, using my tenacity, using my mindset that everything is going to be a miss and you don't have to be the most athletic guy in the world to get a rebound."
There wasn't much of that mindset on the Celtics' end. It was nice to see Von Wafer being active on the glass, but it was troubling that the Celtics' backup shooting guard led the team in rebounds for the majority of the game. That's something that the bigs - Shaquille O'Neal, Jermaine O'Neal, and Davis - can't let happen.
Lack of rebounding due to injuries is the main reason the Celtics aren't your defending NBA Champions. It would be a shame if they lost again this season for the same reason.
But don't write off Love's stats because Garnett wasn't in the game. He's done it against some of today's best.
"I've had some good rebounding numbers against some pretty big guys," Love said. "Having KG out there definitely helps them from a defensive aspect as well and from offensive rebounds. So maybe I would have only had 20 [rebounds] (laughs)."