Kevin Love replaces Yao Ming on 2011 West All-Star team

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love has been named to the 2011 Western Conference All-Star team, the National Basketball Association announced today. Love was named to the team by NBA Commissioner David Stern to replace Yao Ming, who was voted as a starter by the fans but is out for the remainder of the season with a stress fracture in his left ankle. The honor is the first of Love’s career and the first for a Timberwolves player since Kevin Garnett during the 2006-07 NBA season. Love is the fifth player in franchise history to be named an All-Star, joining Garnett (10 appearances), Tom Gugliotta (1), Wally Szczerbiak (1) and Sam Cassell (1).

“This is an incredible honor for me and I’m so proud to be able to represent the Timberwolves organization at one of the league’s premier events,” Love said. “I’m thankful to Commissioner Stern for giving me his support, as well as to all the great fans in Minnesota who have been behind me and my teammates all season long.”

This marks the second time in franchise history that the Commissioner has named a Wolves player to the All-Star game as a replacement for an injured player. Kevin Garnett earned an All-Star nod in 1997 as a replacement for the injured Shaquille O’Neal, the first of his NBA-record-tying 14 consecutive selections.

“I’m really happy for Kevin. He worked extremely hard this offseason to elevate his game and learn how to consistently perform at a high level in this league,” Wolves head coach Kurt Rambis said. “This recognition is well-deserved, and exciting news both for Kevin personally and our organization as a whole.”

Love, the league’s leading rebounder at 15.5 boards per game, is on pace to become the first player since Moses Malone in 1982-83 to average 20+ points and 15+ rebounds in a season. He’s also on track to become the first player in NBA history to average 12+ rebounds per game while shooting better than 40% from behind the arc. In addition, Love leads the league in double-doubles (43), and his current streak of 34 straight games with a double-double is the second-longest in the last 25 seasons (Kevin Garnett - 37 straight in 2006; John Stockton - 37 straight in 1989).

On Nov. 12, Love made history when he tallied 31 points and 31 rebounds in a come-from-behind win over New York. Love became one of just 19 players in NBA history with a 30/30 game, and the first to accomplish the feat since Moses Malone in 1982.

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