Cavs’ Love: ‘So happy to be back out there, not hurting, just feeling like myself’

Seeing Kevin Love and Matthew Dellavedova in uniform was a welcomed sight for the Cleveland Cavaliers as they hosted the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday night. In the first quarter, Love was on fire. He scored all 13 of his points in nine minutes of action, including 3/5 from three-point range. However, he would not score another point the rest of the way.

Cleveland, who trailed 58-56 at halftime, would struggle in the third quarter and be outscored by 10 points, and they would lose to Philadelphia 114-94 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Cleveland has lost four straight and five of their last six games.

Shake Milton had a game-high 27 points for the 76ers off the bench, while Collin Sexton led Cleveland with 24 points and Dean Wade chipped in 16 points. Entering this game, Cleveland was 2-0 against Philadelphia this season.

The third quarter has been a struggle for the Cavaliers this season, and last night Cleveland shot 35% from the field in that quarter, including 0/5 from downtown. Philly would take a 14-point lead into the fourth quarter and would lead by as much as 26 points in the final period.

While the Cavaliers lost on Thursday night, seeing the 32-year-old Love out there and active was a good sign for Cleveland. Love played 20 minutes against the 76ers. After the game, Love, who missed 43 games due to a calf injury, discussed his performance against Philadelphia.

“I think, naturally, just winded. First and foremost,” Love said. “I felt a lot more like myself. I’m, obviously, not there yet but knew that I was coming into this game, I felt confident that I could get in some sort of a rhythm. It, again, just made me so happy to go out there and just play basketball… So happy to be back out there, not hurting, just feeling like myself. That really made me happy.”

Dellavedova made his season debut against Philadelphia on Thursday night after missing time due to a concussion and Appendectomy. While he went 0/4 from the field and did not score in 15 minutes of action, Dellavedova was happy to be out there.

“It was, obviously, tough being out for that long,” he said. “I finally shook like the neck thing. I was hoping to try to play before the break, then I had to go get my appendix out, so I’m just really excited and grateful to be back out there. I appreciate the support of my family, wife, friends, teammates, all the medical staff here, and also, J.B.(Bickerstaff) and Koby(Altman) for sticking with me.”

Injuries have hurt the Cavaliers this season, and on Thursday night, they had their 22nd different starting lineup. However, a lot of teams have dealt with a lot of things this season. Getting Love back helps, and they will get Larry Nance Jr.(illness) and Jarrett Allen(concussion) back soon as they try to make a run for that 10th and final spot(3.0 games behind the Bulls) in the Eastern Conference. 

Photo: @cavs/twitter

Cavs’ Bickerstaff on Garland: ‘I think when he’s absent, you can see the impact that it has’

On Friday night, the Cavaliers(14-23) got some help back with the return of Kevin Love and Larry Nance Jr. against the New Orleans Pelicans16-22). However, they were without point guard Darius Garland, and without the second-year point guard, the offense struggled, and Cleveland was routed by the Pelicans 116-82 at Smoothie King Center. 

Brandon Ingram scored a game-high 28 points, while Zion Williamson added 22 points for the Pelicans. Collin Sexton led Cleveland with 19 points.

Without Garland, Cleveland was held to nine points in the third quarter and shot just 34% from the field and 22 percent from three-point range. Garland missed Friday’s game due to a groin injury he suffered against the Pacers before the break. In the last two games without Garland in the lineup, the Cavaliers have been outscored by 54 points(left in third quarter against Pacers).  He is putting up career highs in PPG (16.1), RPG (2.2), APG (5.9), SPG (1.18), MPG (32.9), FG% (.440), and 3FG% (.384). He also has three double-doubles and more 20-PT games this season (8) than last season (6), so not having that in your lineup is a big blow, which Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff discussed after the game.

“Darius is a really good player, to be honest with you,” Bickerstaff said. “What he does is he has an understanding of how to include everyone and also how to find his and be a threat. He does a great job of organizing us. He makes everybody else’s job easier, and I think when he’s absent, you can see the impact that it has.”

For Cleveland, getting Love back on the floor was a welcomed sight for this team. The five-time All-Star missed 33 games due to a right calf strain. The 32-year-old Love, who is on a minutes restriction, scored four points in 10 minutes of action. 

“Just happy more than anything to be out there,” Love said. “I could have shot 0 for 50, and I would have been fine with it. Just playing basketball is what I love to do. It’s so much a part of me, so having it taken away from me last year and then being super unlucky with the injury is just more than anything; really, really happy to be back out there. Things will progress. It will probably take me a couple of weeks, maybe, to feel like myself.”

Hopefully, for Cleveland, Love can progress and become a factor for this team going forward, or possibly be a guy who could be a trade piece before the March 25 trade deadline.

Cleveland gets back at it on Sunday as they travel to Atlanta to battle the Hawks(7:30 ET).

Notes:

Nance Jr. scored 11 points in 28 minutes on Friday night. Nance Jr. returned after missing 12 games with a left hand fracture.

Cavs’ Bickerstaff on injuries: ‘It is what it is, and we just gotta figure it out’

Throughout the 2020 NBA season, the Cleveland Cavaliers(4-3) have dealt with their share of adversity. Injuries have hit this team hard in this young season, including Kevin Love and Isaac Okoro, who have missed five games with injuries and are still out.

The injuries hit the team on Monday night in Orlando against the Magic(5-2). Darius Garland missed his first game of the season with a shoulder injury, and in the first quarter, Dante Exum went down with an apparent lower leg injury. Cleveland was depleted in this game, and it showed. The Cavaliers were routed by the Magic 103-83. 

The Magic’s Aaron Gordon scored 24 points and 11 rebounds, and Nikola Vucevic chipped in with 23 points. Collin Sexton led the Cavaliers with 24 points.

“It’s tough,” Bickerstaff said. “I think our guys played hard. They tried to do what we asked them to do, but with so many guys out of position tonight. It’s hard to organize guys, especially when you’re losing primary ball-handlers. 

Cleveland does not have the bodies right now, but according to Bickerstaff, they have to find a way to figure it out.

“It is what it is, and we just gotta figure it out; we are down bodies,” he said. “We talked about adversity a few games back. I think this is the epitome of it, so we just gotta figure it out, and we gotta get the most out of these opportunities that we have.”

Cleveland is off to a surprising start, but as the injuries continue to mount, Bickerstaff is right; they have to figure it out, which won’t be easy. The figuring out starts on Wednesday against the Magic.

Notes:

-Collin Sexton has tied the Cavaliers record for consecutive 20-point games to start the season with 7 (LeBron James, 2004-05). Sexton, who has also put up 20+ points in 12 straight contests going back to 2019-20, is the only player in the NBA this season with at least 25.0 PPG, .500 FG%, and .500 3FG%.

-After Wednesday’s game against the Magic, they travel to Memphis on Thursday and finish up their six-game road trip against the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday.

Cavaliers’ Lovc on Irving: ‘I think that calling anybody a pawn is a sure sign of disrespect'(VIDEO)

Last week, Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving announced that he would not be talking to the media this year.

Irving released a statement explaining why he’s not talking to the media on December 4, which said the following:

“COVID-19 has impacted us all in many ways, so I pray for the safety and health of our communities domestically and abroad. I am truly excited for the season to start and I am also praying that everyone remains safe and healthy throughout this journey.

Instead of speaking to the media today, I am issuing this statement to ensure that my message is conveyed properly.

I am committed to show up to work everyday, ready to have fun, compete, perform, and win championships alongside my teammates and colleagues in the Nets organization. My goal this season is to let my work on and off the court speak for itself.

Life hit differently this year and it requires us, it requires me, to move differently. So, this is the beginning of that change.”

On Thursday, Irving and the Nets were fined $25,000 apiece by the NBA for his refusal to speak. According to the NBA, Irving violated league rules governing media interview access.

Irving responded to the fine via Instagram on Friday:

“I pray we utilize the ‘fine money’ for the marginalized communities in need, especially seeing where our world is presently,” he said “[I am] here for Peace, Love, and Greatness. So stop distracting me and my team, and appreciate the Art. We move different over here.

“I do not talk to Pawns. My attention is worth more.”

Irving’s former teammate with the Cavaliers, Kevin Love, gave his thoughts on the situation and said the following:

“I think that calling anybody a pawn is a sure sign of disrespect, and I understand where Kyrie is coming from in trying to better a number of people’s lives, but I’m just not a divisive person,” 

Listen to Love’s complete thoughts below:

Kevin Love on Cavs: ‘I’m excited about the team that we have’

CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Cavaliers and Kevin Love have signed a new multi-year contract extension Cavs General Manager Koby Altman announced today. According to ESPN, it’s a four-year, $120 million contract extension that tops out his overall deal at five years, $145 million,

“We are very excited to announce Kevin’s long-term commitment to the Cavaliers and Cleveland. This quickly became a partnership the second we began these discussions. Collaboration and winning matter greatly to Kevin and that was reflected in this extension,” said Altman. “Kevin’s talent and character are both at a very high level and he has earned his role at the center of what we want to do moving forward. As a five-time All-Star and NBA Champion, Kevin has a special understanding of exactly what success and winning require.”

“When I first came to Cleveland, I came with a long-term mindset,” said Love. “I came here to win. We developed a culture here that reflects that. I’m super excited and I couldn’t be happier. It’s a big commitment for me and it’s a big commitment from the Cavaliers, so I want to thank Dan Gilbert, Koby Altman and the entire organization. I enjoy playing here, I’m excited about the team that we have and look forward to our future together. Cleveland fans have been special from day one and I’m also looking forward to continuing to be a part of this great community.”

Love (6-10, 251) was an NBA All-Star this past season, appearing in 59 games (all starts) for Cleveland and averaging 17.6 points and a team-high 9.3 rebounds in 28.0 minutes per game.

Love, who is a 10-year NBA veteran, is one of only eight players in NBA history to accumulate 11,000 points, 7,000 rebounds and 1,000 three-pointers (Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, Kobe Bryant, Paul Pierce, LeBron James, Rasheed Wallace, Antawn Jamison), as well as the only player to ever hold a career average at least 10.0 rebounds and knock down 1,000 three-pointers or more.

Kevin Love fractures hand(WATCH)

This has not been the type of season the Cavaliers expected.  From poor defense to teammates not getting along. Cleveland has issues.

On Tuesday night, in Detroit, it got worse. Cavaliers F Kevin Love reportedly fractured his left hand against the Pistons.

Watch the injury below:

 

 

 

 

Report: Cavs, Nuggets, and Pacers engaged in trade talks involving George and Love

According to ESPN, leading up to last Thursday’s draft, the Cavaliers, Nuggets, and Pacers engaged in talks on a three-way deal that would have sent Paul George to Cleveland, Kevin Love to Denver, and Indiana would have received players from the Nuggets.  Denver’s Emmanuel Mudiay, Kenneth Faried, and Wilson Chandler are all said to be available, according to the report.

The Cavs are still interested in the 27-year-old George, and will continue to pursue him, according to the report.

Also, the Cavaliers are reportedly interested in both Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade, if one or both players receive buyouts.

If the Cavs can get their hands on George, obviously they will be able to contend with the Warriors. Cleveland knows that they can’t bring the same team back, and expect to beat the Warriors.  Whether it’s Anthony, Wade, or George, expect some changes to the Cavs roster next season.

Cleveland was not the only team trying to get George. The Lakers, Rockets, Spurs, and Celtics have all reportedly tried to get their hands on George before the draft. George reportedly would like to play for the Lakers. He can opt out of his contract with the Pacers in the summer of 2018.

Draymond Green on Kelly Olynyk: ‘He’s dirty’

Kelly Olynyk does not have the best reputation in the NBA. He was called dirty for what happened with him and Kevin Love in 2015, which led to Love’s dislocated shoulder. Also, he had an incident with Robin Lopez during these playoffs, and we saw what happened with Olynyk and Kelly Oubre Jr. Warriors’ Draymond Green gave his thoughts about Olynyk on his podcast Dray Day on Uninterrupted:

He’s dirty, a dirty player. I don’t respect guys like that. I know he’s not the greatest basketball player of all time, so maybe he feel like he got to do that, but you don’t have to do that. Just dirty. I don’t respect that, man. He’s dirty.

Take a listen below:

https://www.uninterrupted.com/podcasts/5HCLdku6uQ0SwskYwoIWAE

Celtics’ coach Brad Stevens disagrees: