Kevin Love has become the most talked about side story in the ongoing NBA Finals. While some feel the Cleveland Cavaliers, who won Game 3 without the concussed Love, are better off without the power forward, others feel the former three-time all-star should come off the bench for the remainder of the series.
Love participated in the team’s practice session Thursday but is still “still working his way through the (concussion) protocol process,” a team spokesperson told ESPN. The forward was struck in the back of the head while competing for a rebound with Warriors wing Harrison Barnes in Game 2 earlier this week.
Kevin Love decision on game day…
Tyronn Lue, coach of the Cavaliers, said the team will know Love’s status by Friday afternoon. “After the workout, it has to take 24 hours for the NBA protocol. So once he works out today, it takes 24 hours to see him again to see if everything adds up. I’m not sure what goes into it. But now he had a great workout, and now it takes 24 hours to come and reevaluate him,” Lue said on Thursday.
In Love’s absence, veteran forward Richard Jefferson has stepped into a smaller starting lineup which has seen LeBron James slip into the 4. Jefferson had 9 points, 8 rebounds and 2 steals on Wednesday besides bringing the defensive intensity that was missing in the first three games.
Will Lue consider bringing Love off the bench? “Haven’t thought about it yet. Hopefully just trying to get Kevin healthy is the most important thing right now.”
Lue: We dedicated Game 3 win to Love
Kevin Love signed a five-year $113 million contract last offseason. As part of Cleveland’s ‘Big 3’, Love was expected to play a huge role in the finals, especially after missing the previous finals with a dislocated shoulder. “It was tough (for him to miss Game 3). He wanted to play. He was very upset about the situation, but the guys said, ‘We’re going to win this game for you.’ And LeBron and Kyrie (Irving) and those guys told him, ‘Tonight we’re going to win this game for you, so get yourself healthy, get yourself back.’ He was all happy after the game,” Lue revealed.
Game 4 is on Friday. With a victory, the Cleveland Cavaliers can square the best-of-seven series before it shifts to Oakland for Game 5 on Monday. If the Warriors win on Friday, they’ll have a chance to close out the series in front of their home fans.