Kevin Love out for Cavs vs. Pacers with foot soreness
Per a press release from the Cleveland Cavaliers (h/t Basketball Insiders’ Spencer Davies), Cavs power forward Kevin Love will miss Thursday’s game against the Detroit Pistons due to soreness in his left foot. Marla Ridenour of the Akron Beacon Journal adds that Love had a noticeable limp in the locker room following Wednesday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets.
— Spencer Davies (@SpinDavies) October 25, 2018
It should be noted that left foot soreness also kept Love out for the majority of the preseason, where he only played one game (the preseason opener) in four contests. The last Cavaliers player known to deal with foot soreness is shooting guard Kyle Korver, whose pain lingered and kept him out for seven games last season and for a week’s worth of action in the 2016-17 season.
With a 0-4 start and their impending matchup against the 3-0 Pistons, losing Love is a major blow to a struggling offense that ranks 22nd in points per game (106.0).
Despite shooting 32.3 percent from the field and 29.2 percent from three-point range, Love is averaging a team-high 19.0 points per game. Sixth man Jordan Clarkson (16.8 points per game) and starting small forward Cedi Osman (14.8 points per game) are the team’s next two highest-scorers while both George Hill and Rodney Hood are averaging 11.3 points per game.
They’ll also miss Love’s presence on the boards, where Love has been dominant with 13.5 rebounds per game (5th in the NBA), especially as they face off against a Detroit frontcourt featuring Blake Griffin (11.3 rebounds per game) and Andre Drummond (16.3 rebounds per game, second in the NBA).
Drummond in particular could cause problems for Cleveland, as Love is an elite defensive rebounder and Drummond is averaging 6.0 offensive rebounds per game.
With Love out, forward Sam Dekker could start in place of the five-time All-Star as he did during the preseason. However, Lue took Dekker out of his rotation on Wednesday in his effort to bring Korver and J.R. Smith back in it. Power forward Channing Frye, center Ante Zizic and perhaps even rookie Billy Preston, who’s a raw talent but athletic and can crash the glass, could get playing time as well.
Frye, who has started games for Love in the past, is the player most similar to Love. Both in terms of the positives, like his inside-outside game and basketball IQ, and negatives like his lack of explosiveness and lateral agility.