The Cleveland Cavaliers received some good news on Thursday that should give them a much better chance to upset the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals.
After he missed Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals with a concussion, Kevin Love has cleared the league’s concussion protocol and will play in Game 1 on Thursday night.
The Cavs say Kevin Love has completed the NBA’s Concussion Return to Play Program and will be available to play tonight in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) May 31, 2018
Love sustained the head injury following a nasty collision with Jayson Tatum, and he even had to watch most of Game 7 from the locker room because the noise and bright lights at TD Garden were causing issues for him.
The Cavs will still be huge underdogs to win their series against Golden State, but it goes without saying that they should be a stronger team with Love in the mix.
Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said the team still isn’t sure if Kevin Love will recover from his concussion in time to play in Thursday’s Game 1.
Lue said Wednesday that Love was still questionable for the NBA Finals opener, but if he played, he would start.
Ty Lue says that he hopes Kevin Love will play in Game 1, but he is still unsure if that happens. He said he will not being Love off the bench. If he plays, he starts.
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) May 30, 2018
Love missed the majority of Game 6 and all of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals after suffering a concussion early on in Game 6. He’ll likely feature fairly early on, but perhaps not in Game 1.
Love won’t be the only key player out of Game 1, but he might be the most important absence for the Finals opener.
For the fourth year in a row, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors will meet in the NBA Finals. Unlike past years, it hasn’t been a cakewalk for either team, with the Cavaliers forced to win Game 7s against both the Indiana Pacers and Boston Celtics, while the Warriors had to fight back from 3-2 down against the Houston Rockets.
The Warriors are heavily favored, owing to Cleveland’s thin roster and lack of support for LeBron James. Still, this series isn’t a slam dunk, and several players on each side will determine how it goes. Here are ten players who will determine the next NBA champions.
10) J.R. Smith, Cavaliers
Once such an important part of Cleveland’s 2016 title run, Smith’s influence has diminished a bit, though he still holds down a starting role. Nobody will mind in Cleveland if his defense is good; the Cavaliers will need him to be at his very best defending Golden State’s perimeter scorers such as Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, and Klay Thompson. He’s arguably their best option to defend that perimeter outside of James, and if he can knock down a few threes in the process, that’s even better.
The Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Boston Celtics on the road in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals despite not having Kevin Love, and they may have to begin the NBA Finals the same way.
Love, who suffered a concussion in Game 6 against Boston, remained in the NBA’s concussion protocol as of Tuesday. With Game 1 of the NBA Finals taking place on Thursday, Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue told reporters he is unsure if Love will be available.
Ty Lue says that Kevin Love is still in the concussion protocol and he’s “not sure” if he’ll be available for Game 1.
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) May 29, 2018
It would obviously be a major blow to Cleveland if Love is unable to play, especially now that they are facing an offensive powerhouse like Golden State. The Cavs were able to get away with only scoring 87 points on the road against the Celtics on Sunday, but they will almost certainly need significantly more than that to top the Warriors.
The Warriors may be missing one of their key players to start the Finals as well, but they are a much deeper team than the Cavs. Love’s status is a major storyline in the series.
Kevin Love is not playing in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals due to concussion symptoms, but that does not mean he will not be around to support his team.
ESPN’s Dave McMenamin says that Love is in Boston to watch Game 7 and will be watching from a room in the back.
Kevin Love is at TD Garden for Game 7. He’ll watch the action in a room in the back. To say the least, this circumstance has him bummed out, but he’s hopeful there will be a game for him to play in on Thursday.
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) May 27, 2018
Love has had some rotten luck with fluke injuries this season. He broke his hand on a fluky play, jammed his thumb against the Pacers and took an elbow to the face in the same series, and then he got hit in the head by Jayson Tatum early in Game 6.
Even if the Cleveland Cavaliers win Game 7 in Boston, there are no guarantees that Love would be cleared from NBA concussion protocol for Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
The Cleveland Cavaliers will be without Kevin Love in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday, and they are hoping Jeff Green can be the one to pick up most of the slack.
Cavs head coach Ty Lue told reporters at Sunday morning’s shootaround that Green will start in place of Love, who is out with a concussion.
From Cavs shootaround: Jeff Green will get the start in Kevin Love’s place for Game 7, in the hopes of giving Cleveland the defensive versatility they showed in Game 6.
As for LeBron, he’ll play his 100th game of the season tonight pic.twitter.com/xz4rqJ3D0a
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) May 27, 2018
Green had his best game of the series and arguably the entire postseason in Game 6, as he scored 14 points and blocked two shots. Brad Stevens and the Boston Celtics will have had more time to prepare for facing him heading into Sunday’s game, but Cleveland will likely need Green to be equally effective in order to win on the road.
Love ended up in the NBA’s concussion protocol after a nasty collision with Jayson Tatum on Friday night. He has averaged 12.5 points and 9.8 rebounds per game during the series.
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The Cleveland Cavaliers will reportedly be without Kevin Love in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
According to Cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon, Love will miss the decisive game against the Boston Celtics due to the concussion he suffered during Game 6.
Updating now: Kevin Love is out for Game 7
— Joe Vardon (@joevardon) May 26, 2018
This can’t be considered a huge surprise considering the circumstances that Love is dealing with. The Cavaliers had been playing it safe, but given the nature of the injury and the short turnaround, there was nothing they could have done. The onus will be on LeBron James to win a road game for the first time in the series if the Cavaliers want to play in their fourth consecutive NBA Finals.