Will the Cavs Bring Kevin Love Off the Bench When He Returns?

by June 09, 2016
23

The Cleveland Cavaliers routed the Golden State Warriors by 30 points in Game 3 Wednesday night, finally turning the NBA Finals into a competitive series, and their very expensive starting power forward was in street clothes.

Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue claims that he hasn’t thought about whether or not to bring Kevin Love off the pine should he be cleared to suit up in Game 4 tomorrow night.

Richard Jefferson and his 35-year old bones stepped in admirably for Love, and LeBron James gave him the proverbial game ball following the galvanizing 120-90 victory.

Per Yahoo:

On Tyronn Lue’s way back to the coach’s office, a coy smile danced across his lips. It told a reporter simply: Nice try. Kevin Love, the $100 million man, could be free of concussion protocol for Game 4, but medical clearance wouldn’t yet guarantee his starting job back in these NBA Finals. […] Asked about how he plans – if at all – to reincorporate Love back into these Finals on Friday night, Lue said: “I haven’t thought about it.”

 

Richard Jefferson had substituted for Love in the lineup and delivered an inspired, inventive performance: nine points, eight rebounds, two assists and two steals. He defended deftly, delivered the perfect complement to LeBron James (32 points), Kyrie Irving (30) and J.R. Smith (20). […] “I gave the game ball to R.J.,” James said.

 

Now, Love is 27 years old and in the first year of a five-year, $110 million contract extension. When Love agreed to the deal over the summer, some close to him insisted: He had little, if any, expectation that he would complete that contract in Cleveland. When it was time to find the next scapegoat, post-David Blatt, Love had been conditioned to believe it would be him.