Kevin Love poured in 32 points and snatched a team-high 12 rebounds in the Cavs’ 117-104 win against Boston in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
It was the kind of aggression that LeBron James says Cleveland needs to defend their NBA championship.
James wants Love to keep playing with the same mentality he had when he was starring for the Timberwolves.
“We want the mentality of Kevin from Minnesota, but his usage rate don’t have to be as high as Minnesota,” James said. “Obviously we all know that he was a featured guy pretty much every possession going down the floor, and here that’s changed a little bit because we have other guys. But his mentality needs to stay the same as Minnesota, and I think as he continues to get even more comfortable and comfortable.
“Tonight was one of those instances where every time he got the ball, it was a small guarding him or somebody was in the post, he was aggressive. He grabbed every rebound for the most part with him and Tristan (Thompson) in the paint, and he was very aggressive with his shot. So definitely that mentality from Minnesota is what we all love.”
The best stretch came in the third quarter, as Love scored 18 of his 32 points while hitting five 3-pointers once the defense started to collapse on drives.
“As I mentioned to Ty (Lue) last week and throughout these playoffs, it doesn’t matter to me if I’m getting five shots or 25 shots, I just want to win,” Love said. “I know I can impact the game whether it shows up in the stat sheet or not. I think that has allowed me to be comfortable out there on the floor, knowing that my mindset is really there, still being aggressive and making plays, as I mentioned, whether those are showing up or not. But just being there for them is huge, and I embrace that.”