UA-59049186-1 Love for Love - Good if it Goes

Love for Love

All the talk this postseason has been about the historically great numbers LeBron James has put up. We know he’s been great and that’s nothing new. The Cavaliers, with the exception of one game where they took the Celtics for granted, have looked unstoppable this entire postseason and, yes, LeBron has a lot to do with that. But these playoffs ultimately are about a collision course in the NBA Finals between two teams that we’ve known and have been anticipating play since July 4th. With that big picture in mind I think it’s time Kevin Love got some love.

We all know about what LeBron and Kyrie Irving are capable of doing. We saw them do it last year. But last postseason, by all-star standards, Kevin Love was a no show. During last year’s playoffs, Love averaged 14.7 ppg, 8.8 rpg, and shot 38% from the field. There were many nights were Love simply came up small and was ultimately on the bench in big 4th quarter moments in favor of either Richard Jefferson or Channing Frye.¬†Such has not been the case in this year’s playoffs. Love is averaging 17.3 ppg, 10.3 rpg, while shooting 46% from the field and 48% from three. Love finally looks like that guy we saw in Minnesota on the glass this postseason as he’s had some dominant rebounding performances. Love had 17 huge rebounds in a pivotal game 4 against the Celtics on Tuesday night. As a scorer love is of course draining the trey ball right now but he’s been more than just a jump shooter. The Cavs have started to call his number more and he’s gotten opportunities to post or operate facing up and he’s delivered.

Shockingly enough, Love is even playing better defense. The eye test shows that he’s playing harder and smarter on that end, but there are also numbers to support Love’s improvement on that end in the playoffs. During the regular season, Love’s defensive plus/minus for the year was -0.9. However, during these playoffs it has risen to 0.7. That is a 1.6 improvement while actually facing better competition. The Golden State Warriors have already punched their ticket to the NBA Finals by sweeping the Spurs. They have three guys that can really put the ball in the basket. The belief coming into this season was that was the big advantage getting Durant gave them over the Cavs. Even though Draymond Green is a great player, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson were really the only big scorers for the Warriors before Kevin Durant arrived. And for the Cavs LeBron and Kyrie were seen as their only big scorers in lieu of Love’s playoff struggles. So the addition of Durant was seen as giving the Warriors a significant edge in scoring. However, I believe if Love is playing at this level offensively it evens it out. Love has been big time for the Cavs and if he can continue this level of play in the Finals vs. the Warriors, I think Cleveland can give Golden State all they can handle and we will be in for an epic series.

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