CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love took on a reduced role within the offense when he agreed to a long-term extension with the organization in the summer of 2015, and did so for the good of the team.
And with the Cavaliers continuing to win in the postseason, Love is committed to doing whatever is necessary to help the team, even if that means finding ways to impact the game other than by shooting the ball.
“We’re 8-0, so I don’t mind it,” Love said after a recent practice. “If I get five or six shots or 15 shots, it doesn’t matter to me as long as we’re winning. I’ve been in this position before. We’re having success, so I’m happy. I feel good.”
After averaging 15.5 points per game against the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, Love saw noticeable drops in attempts and points in the four-game sweep of the Toronto Raptors en route to the Cavaliers’ third straight trip the conference finals.
However, his made attempts per game, 4.3, remained the same, while his shooting success from the field increased from 41.5 to 44.7 and his three-point percentage remained at .400. Additionally, Love stole three passes over the four games against Toronto.
“Last series, a lot of those guys, whether it was Patterson or Ibaka in the corner, they weren’t leaving me much, so that allowed us to play downhill, those guys to do their thing,” Love said.
“For me, I was trying to be as best as I could be defensively. We looked at a lot of film. I was able to trap Lowry when he played and DeRozan quite a bit. Our gameplan has been great. I’ve just been trying to be at my best in that role. Sometimes, it’s going to be like that.”
Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue took the blame for Love’s lack of looks at the basket against Toronto, and vows to take advantage of whatever matchups the Boston Celtics present to him in the Eastern Conference Finals.
“Each series is different, and just because he’s not scoring the basketball or whatever, defensively and rebounding the basketball, he’s been great,” Lue said. “Some of it’s my fault. We haven’t featured him a lot because of the matchups we had with other teams, but he’s been great.
“His whole mindset is winning, and that’s what it’s all about in the playoffs. In this next series, we have some matchups he can definitely take advantage of. It’s on me to makes sure that we do that.”