Remember the guy who played at UCLA? He was pretty built kind of like a tree. I think he wore a number in the 40’s. I’m pretty sure he ended up getting drafted by the Timberwolves and traded to the Cavs at some point for a number 1 pick and a former number 1 pick. Think his name rhymed with Levin Kove.
He may be an all-star but Kevin Love gets lost in the shuffle way too often. Love averaged 19 points and 11 rebounds this season but is a forgotten man behind Uncle Drew and King James. Both Kyrie Irving and LeBron James are more polished and flashy offensively. In turn, the boring Kevin Love is just viewed as the third man on the Cavaliers. It is similar to the situation Chris Bosh was in with the super-team Heat. Bosh was a force on the Toronto Raptors before fleeing to Miami. He averaged 24 points and close to 11 rebounds his last season in Canada before averaging 18.7 points and 8.3 rebounds at the age of 27. If Bosh was the main man on a team he could’ve been such a force kind of like Love was in Minnesota. At 22 years old Love led the league in rebounds a game by grabbing 15.2 off the glass. The season after that while still averaging 13 rebounds Love averaged 26 points a game. Once he was traded to the Cavs, Love only averaged 16 points and under 10 rebounds a game. That was the first time he failed to average a double-double since his rookie season. People got rattled at the fact that Love wasn’t really producing even to the point fans were calling for him to get traded off of Cleveland’s squad.
The first season in Cleveland definitely wasn’t pretty for Mr.Love but his value showed after he was lost for the playoffs after Kelly Olynyk yanked on his arm. Cleveland still ended up making the finals but lost to the Warriors in their first of three matchups. The second matchup Love was able to be a part of. He helped Cleveland win the series in 7 after letting the record setting Warriors take hold of a 3-1 lead. Love even ended up having the largest +/- of the deciding game 7 at +19.
Love still wasn’t the same guy last season that he was in Minnesota but this year it seems the Cavs have figured out how to use Love effectively. Instead of just planting his hindquarters in the corner to shoot threes, Love played down low more often and grabbed over 10 rebounds a game for the first time in his career as a Cavalier.
With Love returning to a sort of threat that he was on the Timberwolves, the Warriors need to be aware of where he is on the court. Draymond Green will probably be the one tasked with covering Love and the Warriors have to have confidence in that matchup. Yet, if no one can cover LeBron (which no one really can) Green may slide down and cover him forcing Durant onto Love. Durant has the height and Green has the defensive awareness to guard him but who the hell is going to out rebound Love? David West? Zaza Pachulia? JaVale McGee? Probably not.
The Warriors should be heavily favored in this series but the Cavs have gained some mojo. They have now had the same core of players for a couple years while the Dubs had to get used to adding Kevin Durant to the team. Love is a big part of the reason why the Cavs are at this point once again. He is shooting 47.5% from three and again rebounding like a machine. This is a different Love from last year and he isn’t garnering the respect he deserves. If the Warriors want to finally get over the devastation of blowing a 3-1 lead, they better focus on turning Love into nothing more than a broken heart.