It seems that every time the Cleveland Cavaliers lose a couple of games or a player misses a game or two, the national media is out to create news out of nothing. This was the case this week, as “reports” surfaced once again that Kevin Love—who had missed games due to injury/rest—was “gone” from Cleveland after the season.
In a report posted by Kurt Helin of Pro Basketball Talk, Alonzo Mourning—apparently a new insider into the feelings of Love—weighed in on the topic. Mourning stated, “Then you’ve got Kevin Love, who’s not happy at all. He’s outta there.”
For a guy who is apparently on his way out of a team with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving—you know, the same one he has said time and time again he isn’t leaving—he sure did not play like it against Brooklyn. Returning from injury, Love contributed 10 points, four assists and 11 rebounds in 27 minutes in the team’s blowout win.
While his stat line will not show it, there was a change in Love tonight returning from injury/rest—that change was that he finally played “big” for a change.
Seen time and time again camping out at the three-point line waiting for Irving and James to find him for a three this season, tonight’s shot chart is an encouraging sign of change for Love. As you can see in the image below, he took just two shots outside of the paint/post tonight. His other seven attempts (made four of them) were in the zone many have begged him to spend more time in this season.
One possession in the second quarter stands out in a big way, where Love took multiple shots at the rim. Despite missing the shots, he looked determined to establish himself as a post presence once again—even passing on a semi-open three-point shot in that same quarter to attack yet again.
Does this mean that Love is finally back to the Love of Minnesota? No, but it is a good start and is a step in the right direction.
Other Game Notes
• Timofey Mozgov absolutely owned the inside, going 7-of-8 from the floor for 17 points in 17 minutes. If he can continue to be active and aggressive around the rim, the Cavaliers will only be a bigger force once the playoffs roll around.
• The Cavaliers had seven players in double figures. This balance (all five starters and two players off the bench) is becoming almost a nightly expectation for the team, and will be important down the stretch.