THE KEVIN LOVE SHOW
Don't blame Love for the T-Wolves' woes. In his last four games through Sunday, which included the first 30-point, 30-rebound game in 28 years (against the Knicks), he was averaging 21 points and 20.3 boards. That four-game rebound mark is the league's best in two seasons.
Utah (7--3) capped a four-game road sweep—including W's at the Heat, Magic and Hawks—thanks to a Deron Williams (right) buzzer beater with 0.8 of a second left to sink Charlotte. Through Sunday the Jazz had won five straight, coming back from 10 or more down in each.
Tottenham Hotspur winger Gareth Bale (right) has caught fire—and the attention of potential buyers—of late. First a Champions League hat trick against 2010 champ Inter Milan, then two goals against Blackburn last Saturday. Foremost among his suitors? Inter, duh.
Tyrod Taylor (right) tossed two TDs to wideout Marcus Davis, leading Virginia Tech (8--2, 6--0) to its eighth straight victory, a 26--10 win over UNC, and making the Hokies the clear-cut favorite in the ACC—for now, at least. Up next: They travel to 7--3 Miami on Saturday.
THE OH-NO SHOW
If the Bengals weren't guaranteed 16 games, this show would be canceled by now. Their reality star WRs, T.O. (left) and Ochocinco, and flimsy-armed QB, Carson Palmer, rank just 15th in total offense. And they've lost six straight to go 2--7. The rare good news? They get 1--8 Buffalo next.
New York (3--7) is back to its old habits. Winless in five straight—including a 104--96 meltdown on Sunday against punchless Houston—the team now heads west on a crucial four-game road trip. Said Amar'e Stoudemire of the slide, "This is ... a foreign land for me."
Dallas, which looked so promising at 4--0, suddenly finds itself 8--7 and at the bottom of the NHL Pacific after a three-game slide. Goalie Kari Lehtonen isn't helping matters: His 2.89 goals-against average and .907 save percentage are among the league's worst.
Big Ten loss number six (of six) was Indiana's worst, an 83--20 drubbing at the hands of Wisconsin last Saturday. Despite being spared the presence of John Clay (knee), the Hoosiers allowed 598 yards and ceded the most points in Big Ten competition by any team in 60 seasons.
SI PLAYERS NFL POLL
WHO IS THE SMARTEST PLAYER IN THE LEAGUE?
Peyton Manning, Colts QB 62%
Drew Brees, Saints QB 8%
Ray Lewis, Ravens LB 4%
Troy Polamalu, Steelers SS 4%
Ed Reed, Ravens FS 4%
Manning dominated the voting, but his position got far less respect. Of the seven QBs named (brother Eli not among them), only three (Manning, Brees and Tom Brady) received more than one vote. Seven linebackers and 10 defensive backs were cited.... Not a single running back, kicker or punter received a vote; tight ends and D linemen were represented solely by Tony Gonzalez and Albert Haynesworth (one vote each).
Based on 282 players who responded to SI's survey
ANDY LYONS/GETTY IMAGES (OWENS)
JOHN W. MCDONOUGH (WILLIAMS)
IMAGO/ZUMA PRESS, INC. (BALE)
STREETER LECKA/GETTY IMAGES (TAYLOR)
CHRIS SZAGOLA/CAL SPORT MEDIA (LEWIS): DAVID BERGMAN (MANNING)