Kevin Love has been confirmed as not available for the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 3 of the 2017 NBA Finals versus the Golden State Warriors. Multiple outlets reported the bad news for LeBron James and company on Wednesday.
The star power forward, who averages 11.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.0 assist and 1.0 steals in the championship series, was hit in the head by an inadvertent elbow by Warriors forward Harrison Barnes in Game 2. Love returned to the game but missed most of the second half as the Warriors defeated the Cavaliers via a blowout, 110-77.
The Cavaliers also lost Game 1 via a big margin, 104-89 and are down 0-2 in the series. No NBA team in NBA Playoffs history has comeback from a 0-3 deficit so LeBron James, Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving and the rest of the Cavs are in a must-win situation against the Warriors on Wednesday.
Love was diagnosed with a concussion and he can only return to the court after he passes the league’s protocols on such injuries. He is listed as probable for Game 4.
Without Love, Timofey Mozgov or Channing Frye might start for the Cavaliers. Mozgov played well in the NBA Finals last season but has seen limited time this year both in the regular season and postseason. Frye had good games earlier in the playoffs.
Kevin Love missed last year’s NBA Finals because of a shoulder injury. Even without Love, the Cavaliers were more competitive last year compared to the first two Finals games this postseason.
Love has averaged 16.5 points and 9.4 rebounds in the playoffs but his numbers are down in the NBA Finals. There are also observations that the Cavaliers play better defense from Love’s position if he is not playing.
Could the Cavaliers get their first win this 2016 NBA Finals without Kevin Love and avoid a 0-3 deficit? Are the Cavaliers a better team without Kevin Love?
Photo courtesy: Keith Allison/Wikimedia Commons