Kevin Love Looked Really, Really Good


As I watched tonight’s win against the Thunder come to a close, I had three realizations:

1. The Cleveland Cavaliers are a legitimate championship contending team

2. LeBron James and Kyrie Irving are able to work together

3. Kevin Love finally looks really, really good

Kevin Love’s play on the court was what Cleveland needed to see. He scored 19 points with 13 rebounds on top of that, but the stats that he demonstrated weren’t what we needed to see. The real thing that Love showed us tonight was his ability to play the power forward position the way that he’s supposed to play it. 19 points and 13 rebounds aren’t season highs for either statistic, but the relevance of that is low. When the Cavs traded away two number one overall picks in Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett to acquire Kevin Love, standards were extremely high. Love had been thought of by many as one of the league’s top PF due to the ability to both shoot and rebound and be an on-court leader. At a point in his time with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Love had a 53 game double-double streak. It was the longest streak in the NBA in over 35 years, and he achieved that in only his third year in the NBA.

Love seemed to be approaching his prime, and, due to disagreements between Love and the Timberwolves, he looked to be the best name on the trade market at the time. The Cavs made the move anticipating immediate impact out of Love, but were slightly disappointed. Love was putting numbers up, but not the career highs that were expected. Love’s stats all across the board were down by a lot, and he didn’t appear to fit into the Cleveland offense. He wasn’t aggressive enough and his rebounds were hurt by it. His uncertainty in 3-point shots caused his 3-point percentage to plummet throughout the season. Everything was on the downfall for Love, and with Wiggins looking like a great prospect, some Cavs fans were doubting the trade. This trend continued throughout the season. Love wasn’t playing poorly, but he wasn’t playing at an all-star level either.

However, tonight made me look at Love in a different way. Love’s statistics were neither overwhelming nor underwhelming, but his style of play on court left me extremely satisfied. His confidence in his 3-point shot (5-7) left me hoping he’d get the ball more, and 8 rebounds in the first 8 minutes of the first quarter showed me a glimpse of why we’d supported Kevin Love in the first place. He looked like a natural leader on the court without taking over the game, and he limited his shots to ones he knew he could make. His stats may be down, but his progression as a PF are looking up, and if tonight was a hint at anything, it may suggest that Kevin Love may be returning to an all-star form.

-Max Alter, @CST_Max

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