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Veterans Tristan Thompson, Kevin Love setting tone for Cleveland

Cavs, Tristan Thompson, Kevin Love

Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love have taken on a leadership role with the young Cavs, and the two veterans are setting the tone early.

Gone are the days of LeBron James’ reign in Cleveland. Enter a new era of reconstruction under first-time NBA head coach John Beilein. So far, the Cavs have looked better than most experts anticipated, and that’s mostly thanks to the outstanding play of Thompson and Love — the two longest-tenured members of the team.

Incredibly, Thompson (47) and Love (67) have combined for 114 rebounds through just four games played. For Love, it’s a new franchise record:

Even more impressive, Love and Thompson have registered double-doubles in each of their first four games of this season:

Love logged 31 minutes in Wednesday night’s 117-111 victory over the Chicago Bulls, scoring 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field (1-of-3 from beyond the arc), a game-high 20 rebounds (franchise record-tying 16 in the first half), six assists and one steal.

Thompson has been playing great through the early stages of this campaign, but he really came alive in Wednesday night’s matchup against the Bulls. The Canadian-born big man put up 23 points on 11-of-19 shooting, 10 rebounds, two assists and a career-high five blocks. Several of his field goals came in the form of ferocious dunks.

“We’re just feeding off each other,” Love told ESPN, referring to his cohesiveness with Thompson. “We talk every day that we need to set the tone for the rest of the team.”

Cavs head coach John Beilein had high praise for Thompson’s improved defense following Wednesday’s game:

“He’s in great physical shape right now,” Beilein said of Thompson.

Coach Beilein has challenged Thompson to be more of a rim protector this season, and he’s accepted:

“Coach Beilein put the bug in my ear, so I’ve accepted the challenge,” Thompson said during Wednesday’s post-game media availability.

So far, so good for Thompson, Love and the young Cavs. They’ll be back in action on Friday night, as they’re scheduled to face the Indiana Pacers. Tip-off inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse is set for 7:00 p.m, ET.

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