Hey, you. Were you in Minneapolis last night around 7 p.m. Central Time? Did you go see the Timberwolves play the Kings in a Martin Luther King Jr. Day showdown at Target Center?
Well, boy, does Kevin Love have a deal for you. The Minnesota All-Star forward is putting together another crazy year statistically — averaging 25.0 points per game and 14.6 rebounds per game — and, joined by Ricky Rubio, Minnesota is suddenly a team everyone wants to see.
Home attendance at the Target Center is at an eight-year high and the team is ninth in the league in total attendance according to Basketball-Reference. It is the first time the team has averaged more than 17,000 in attendance since Kevin Garnett was traded. The team may find success at flirting around .500, but the Target Center is once again a place people go to see basketball.
There were 16,159 fans in attendance at Minnesota’s 99-86 win over Sacramento on Monday night to see Love post 33 points and 11 rebounds. That number was still below average, which is saying something for a team that has struggled in attendance for a while now and is still sitting below .500.
Still, the Timberwolves are not going to take this uptick in attendance for granted. Especially with some less than stellar opponents coming through the frigid North.
So Kevin Love, with the endorsement of the franchise, took to Twitter to make an offer to Wolves fans for the next two home games:
Yes, if you bought a ticket to Monday’s game against the Kings, the Wolves will spot you a ticket for Wednesday’s game against the mighty Pistons. It is an ingenious way for the Wolves to try and get fans out to a low-marquee game and keep those attendance numbers up. Love spotted fans 1,000 tickets for those that bought tickets to Monday’s game.
Not that you need a reason to go see one of the best power forwards in the league and Ricky Rubio.
“It’s a simple way to say thank you to our fans,” Love told Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press on Friday. “They’ve been behind us all the way and the crowds thus far have been amazing. We’re a team that feeds off their energy. Their support means a lot and I hope everyone can take advantage of the offer and make it out on the 16th and 18th.”
There definitely is a different energy in the Target Center. Minnesota is 5-8, but only 3-5 at home. That has not meant the Wolves have been without exciting games at home. More than anything, it is good to have a reason to cheer in Minneapolis again. Even if Kevin Love needs to keep pushing a little bit to get them there.