Kevin Love says he apologized to LeBron James for rough night versus Sixers
Kevin Love apologized to LeBron James after a subpar individual performance against Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday, as the stretch four found himself banging bodies with The Process and never really getting into a groove at either end of the floor despite a 22-point win over the Sixers.
It’s no secret that Love relishes his role as a stretch four, being able to draw the defense to the three-point line and abusing smaller bodies on the block who try to check him, but it certainly doesn’t go the other way around, when a hulking Embiid is banging into him with 40 pounds of advantage.
“It’s tough to answer that without getting myself in trouble,” Love said, according to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. “There’s a lot of big boys out there. It’s no secret that… it’s funny to say I’m playing out of position, but I’m so used to being out there with Tristan (Thompson) and fighting for rebounds with him and knowing the rotations at the four-spot, playing inside out from the four-spot. It’s definitely been a change playing the five and having to match up and go against guys and maybe giving up two, three, four inches and 20, 30 pounds.”
Love scored only 13 points on 4-of-12 shooting from the floor against Embiid and the Sixers, but made up for it with a season-high 38 points against the Miami Heat, providing the scoring needed to keep the winning streak alive for the Cavs in the midst of James’ ejection late in the fourth quarter.
Even head coach Tyronn Lue recognized the burden put in his plate with Tristan Thompson sidelined with an injury.
“I mean, he’s had a tough stretch,” Lue said. “He had Dwight (Howard) twice and big (Andre) Drummond, Whiteside and Embiid so he’s had a tough stretch. But he’s played well and having him at that 5 position just causes defenses to…anytime we play against a shooting 5 it’s tough for us also.
“So, you know, having Kevin stretching the floor but also rebounding the basketball is big for us.”