LeBron James says Kevin Love ‘has to step up’ in playoffs
For the first time in LeBron James’ 15-year career, he is facing a Game 7 in the first round of the playoffs. Despite averaging 32.7 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 7.8 assists in 40.8 minutes, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Indiana Pacers are tied at three games apiece.
Unlike past seasons where James was part of a Big 3, the 33-year-old only has Kevin Love now, but he has not been able to establish himself as the team’s clear second option. Through six games against the Pacers, Love is only averaging 11.0 points and 9.8 rebounds in 32.8 minutes. As a result, James had a message for his teammate heading into Game 7 according to Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated:
“He’s a huge part of our success or our non-success… We can’t make the shots for him, he has to step up and knock those down… If we want to have any success in Game 7 or to move on to the next round, Kev has to be a big part of that.”
In order for Cleveland to have any chance of reaching their fourth consecutive NBA Finals, Love will need to be more consistent and efficient. While the 29-year-old is averaging a near double-double, he is only shooting 32.4 percent from the field and 37.0 percent from the three-point line.
Although the focus is on the five-time All-Star, the rest of the roster will need to step up in Game 7 and beyond if they advance. James and Love are the only two players averaging double figures in points and the hope is the role players will play better at home.