Through his first eight games of the 2016-17 NBA Playoffs, Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love has posted averages of 13.8 points and 9.1 rebounds in 31.3 minutes per contest. While those are certainly decent numbers, Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue says he would like to get Love even more involved in the next round.
“Some of it’s my fault because we haven’t really featured him a lot because of the matchups we had on other teams,” Lue said after Thursday’s practice at Cleveland Clinic Courts. “(Love has) 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 and it’s on me to make sure we do that.”
Love is one of the more humble players in the association. However, he is completely focused on winning another championship. The 6’10” rebounding machine tells cleveland.com that he feels good as long as his team having success.
“I told him, ‘We’re 8-0. I don’t mind it,'” Love said yesterday afternoon. “If I get five or six shots, if I get 15 shots, it doesn’t matter to me, as long as we win. I’ve been in this position before, we’re having success, so I’m happy. Feel good.”
While it’s true that Love is only averaging 13.8 points per game in the postseason, it’s his rebounding and scrappy defense that proved to be most effective against the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference Semifinals — a fact coach Lue was quick to point out.
“Just because (he’s) not scoring the basketball or whatever, defensively and rebounding the basketball he’s been great,” Lue said. “That’s why they (the Raptors) went out and got Serge Ibaka and those guys, to try and slow Kevin down. Maybe we didn’t feature Kevin enough against Toronto, maybe we showed ’em too much respect and that’s on me. But next round I’ve got to do a better job of really getting Kevin involved and really establishing Kevin.”
The champs are currently waiting to learn who their opponent in the conference finals will be — either the Boston Celtics or Washington Wizards. Currently, the Celtics are leading that series, three games to two. We’ll just have to wait and see if coach Lue indeed elects to utilize K-Love more in the next round.