Love is on the move and so are Cavaliers
If you thought Kevin Love has appeared to be more active offensively in the four game since his return from missing 21 games because of a broken left hand, you'd be correct.
And it's been by design.
Love had 20 points, 15 rebounds and four assists in 33 minutes in a 121-114 win at Brooklyn on Sunday afternoon, finishing with a plus-minus rating of plus-17.
The 6-foot-10, 251-pound Love has been cutting to the basket with much more frequency since he returned last Monday against Milwaukee.
"A lot of people, they think about Kevin, they don't think of him as a guy who can cut," Cavaliers acting coach Larry Drew said. "I was one of those guys that thought that. (Coach Tyronn) Lue and I, we had a conversation when we decided to put the series of plays that we put in and I said, 'Why don't we move Kevin around?'"
In the four games he's been back -- all Cleveland victories -- Love has averaged 20.3 points, 10.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.0 steals in 29.5 minutes per game.
He's shooting 45.6 percent from the field, 48.2 percent from beyond the 3-point line and 94.4 percent from the free-throw line in those four games.
"There was a time out there today where I think I shot two 3's to open the half right away and I probably should have drove the ball or passed it and cut or drove to the hoop and try to get it back," Love said. "Just try to make the right play and kind of find myself out there, with a lot of new bodies and guys getting back."
Love shot 6-of-14 ons Sunday, including 3-of-6 from the 3-point line. One of his four assists was an alley-oop to LeBron James, who took off along the left baseline, caught a pass from Love from the high post and hammered home a dunk.
"Kevin brings so much to the table for us. He gives Bron that other guy we can go to... the low post or on the perimeter," Drew said. "He's a terrific passer, so guys know if they get open, he'll get them the ball. But more than anything, his presence, alone, is what we needed at this particular stage of the season."
Drew said it's not a coincidence as Love has returned, the level of the play by the Cavaliers (44-29) has increased exponentially. For example, George Hill, who had 17 points, four boards, five dimes, to steals and a block in 37 minutes Sunday, has shot 63 percent from the field, including 47 percent from deep, in the four games since Love has come back.
"We're winding it down. We needed to get him back out there," he said. "We needed to get him back to where he could play 30-plus minutes. I think he played 30-plus tonight.
"Just having him on the floor, it brings a lot of joy, not just to me, but to the team because he brings so much to the table."