CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love is known for a lot of things.
Love is known as a 6-foot-10 forward with keen shooting ability from both long distance and in the low post, making an impact in rebounding the basketball on both ends of the floor and his outlet passing down the court.
Although Love can do many things, he has never been known as a defensive stalwart, especially not when center Tristan Thompson is on the floor, but he put plenty of effort on display by rotating into position to take charges in Monday’s 117-111 win over the Indiana Pacers in Game 2 of the opening round of the NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena.
“I think breaking down the film, just knowing that between Tristan and myself and Channing, ‘Bron, whoever was low on some of those pin-downs and rotations, we just had to be there early,” Love said. “I just want to help my teammates out, sacrifice my body.
“I felt like I did that. Whether it called or not, I feel like it set a tone for the rest of the team. More than anything, (it’s) being a selfless act of giving up your body and hoping it goes the right way.”
Although Love was credited with taking only one charge and picked up two blocking fouls in the Game 2 win, which gave the Cavaliers a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, he felt showing that willingness to sacrifice himself for the good of the team was the important part.
“I thought a couple of those could’ve gone either way,” Love said. “I try to look up and see the play after it happens because they try to get the crowd involved and get a reaction out of it, but I felt like eventually, if I kept getting there, giving up my body, it would go the right way, and eventually, it did I think with Seraphin there on the second-to-last charge I took.
“That’ll continue to happen. Hopefully, I’ll be there on time and have more calls go my way.”
But defense was far from the only contribution Love gave to the Cavaliers.
Love led the way with 10 points and seven rebounds in the first quarter. He was perfect shooting the ball, knocking down all three of his shots from the field, including a pair of triples, and both of his free-throw attempts late in the period.
While point guard Kyrie Irving hit the final shot of the third quarter, the Cavaliers made a concerted effort to reestablish Love in the low post, and that plan worked well, as he scored 10 points and drew a handful of Indiana fouls on both ends of the floor.
Love hit a pair of shots and all six of his free-throw attempts over a two-minute stretch that helped the Cavaliers balloon the lead to 19, 89-70.
Love ended the game with 27 points and 11 rebounds. Additionally, he went six of seven from the field, including three of four from beyond the three-point arc, and 12 of 12 at the free-throw line.
“It was these guys, and the guys that were out there were finding me,” Love said. “We just got into a good rhythm with that. A number of guys stepped up during the game, and these guys took over in the fourth quarter, so that was just a moment in the game where we took advantage of a certain situation and they kept feeding me.”
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