Cavaliers forward Kevin Love has been cleared to play in Game 4 of the NBA Finals, the Cavs announced. He will come off the bench for the first time in six-plus years.
Love entered the league’s concussion protocol after Warriors forward Harrison Barnes incidentally elbowed him in the back of the head in Game 2. He missed Cleveland’s bounce-back Game 3 win over Golden State.
Reports indicated Love was unhappy with having to sit out Game 3. He cleared the concussion protocol on Friday.
The last time Kevin Love came off bench: 4/14/2010, for Timberwolves coach Kurt Rambis. LeBron James hadn't yet made The Decision...— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) June 11, 2016
Love, a three-time All-Star, participated in shootaround and was re-evaluated before the game, which tips off around 9 p.m. ET. He also participated in pregame warmups.
LeBron James was asked Friday morning whether Love should start, and he deferred to Lue.
“I have an opinion on who's our general, and that’s coach Lue," James said after shootaround Friday morning, according to ESPN. “He’s going to make the right decision that he feels is best for the team. So, I’m a whatever. I think what's more important is his health, and we hope he’s able to play tonight.”
Love has started in every game he’s played for the Cavaliers, regular and postseason, since joining the team prior to the 2014–15 season.
Cleveland trails Golden State 2–1 in the series.