Kevin Love left Game 2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers-Indiana Pacers series on Wednesday to have his left thumb examined.
Love was looking to get a steal in the fourth quarter when his left thumb got jammed by the ball. He reacted in immediate pain, and the video shown by TNT appeared to show Love’s thumb being bent awkwardly.
Kevin Love jamming his thumb is slow motion OOOOUCHHHH pic.twitter.com/e33xHdPO6V
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) April 19, 2018
Love went to the bench where his thumb was examined by the Cavs’ medical staff. TNT’s Allie Laforce later said that Love was being tested to see where he was feeling pain and that the Cavs forward would have his hand taped.
Love missed significant time earlier this year with a fracture in his left hand, so seeing him injure the hand again is no doubt frustrating.
Love had 15 points and eight rebounds at the time of his injury. He had made just five of 16 shots.
Kevin Love just cannot seem to avoid injuries this season, no matter how small or fluky they seem.
Love left Tuesday’s Cleveland Cavaliers-Miami Heat game after being hit in the face with an elbow just over a minute into the contest.
— FOX Sports Ohio (@FOXSportsOH) March 28, 2018
Love went into the locker room to receive medical attention. The Cavaliers later said that Love suffered a subluxed tooth and was probably to return, which he did in the second quarter.
The veteran forward recently returned to action after breaking a bone in his hand on Jan. 30.
Kevin Love put his recent time on the shelf to good use.
The Cleveland Cavaliers big man, who has been scorching hot from deep since returning from a hand fracture, told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin Friday that he tweaked his shooting motion while he was out. Love said he made his release “tighter.”
Kevin Love is now 10-for-17 from 3 since he came back from his left hand injury. He told me he studied film of his shot in the 7 weeks he was out and worked on starting his shooting motion further away from his forehead and making the release "tighter." It's working so far.
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) March 24, 2018
Love missed roughly a month-and-a-half (20 total games) after fracturing his left (non-shooting) hand during a loss to the Detroit Pistons in late January. Factoring in a victory over the Phoenix Suns on Friday, he is now up to 10-of-21 from downtown (47.6 percent) in three games since making his return.
While it has been a challenging season in more ways than one for Love, this has been his best year shooting the ball since he arrived in Cleveland. Tack on this added improvement in his mechanics, and the five-time All-Star should be a force to reckon with as the Cavs go for their fourth straight Finals berth.
Kevin Love was the target of some criticism from teammates — mostly former ones — in January after he left a game with an illness and missed a practice, but apparently there have been some issues between him and other Cleveland Cavaliers players since last season.
ESPN’s Dave McMenamin provided more context surrounding the tense meeting Love had where he was supposedly called out by Isaiah Thomas and Dwyane Wade. While both Thomas and Wade were traded earlier this month, it sounds like they weren’t the only ones frustrated with Love. Sources told McMenamin there was some “lingering” tension since Love went to the locker room after he fouled out of a game last season.
There were still lingering feelings, sources told ESPN, from how Love handled a loss in Chicago last March when he fouled out midway through the fourth quarter and immediately retreated to the locker room, rather than remain on the bench in support of his team. Jefferson ran to the back to bring him back out, but the damage was done.
Love, of course, was not the reason the sub-.500 Bulls scored 37 points in the third quarter that day. He wasn’t the reason Irving shot 7-for-20, or the reason Shumpert shot 2-for-8, or the reason James had four turnovers and shot 1-for-4 (0-for-3 from 3) in the fourth quarter. Even if he was a scapegoat, as often has been the case with Love in his three and a half seasons in Cleveland, there was still a perception of him giving up on the team.
Love was recently asked about why he always seems to be the scapegoat when things aren’t going well for the Cavs, and he had a pretty admirable response. For whatever reason, this has pretty much become the norm in Cleveland despite him being one of the best players on the roster.
Kevin Love has become somewhat of a punching bag in Cleveland over the past month, but he says he doesn’t mind that treatment … under one condition.
The former Bruin attended UCLA’s basketball game against Oregon on Saturday night in Los Angeles and even joined ESPN’s broadcast of the game with Dave Pasch and Bill Walton. While appearing as a guest on ESPN, Walton asked Love about getting all the blame for the Cavaliers.
“So long as we win, I don’t mind being the guy that takes the blame,” Love said. “As you see in the media so much, so much of that gets blown out of proportion. I think we have a great chance to make some noise in the last two months in the season. We’ve always gotten better every single year. And I think we have a good chance to come out of the East and beat the Warriors.”
Love also talked about the status of his hand and said he expects to be back in about a month. He’s been out since breaking a bone in his left hand on Jan. 30 and was given an initial 6-8 week timetable for a return.
As for the “fall guy” stuff, Love was targeted by his teammates in a late January team meeting about leaving a game with an illness and missing a practice. Since then, the Cavs have reshuffled their roster with several trades and now appear to be in much better shape.
Kevin Love certainly seems to have a sense of humor about the issues he has been facing.
Love was a guest on ESPN’s “The Jump” on Friday and talked about his clothing line with Banana Republic. Love noted that some of the clothes were for the fall season, and that’s when things got funny.
Kevin Love keeps it 100 pic.twitter.com/p8Vjh5J9ak
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) February 16, 2018
It’s not lost on Love that he’s been regarded as the fall guy for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Just last month the team held a meeting and questioned the legitimacy of Love’s illness that caused him to miss a practice and most of a game. A recent report actually seemed to identify the person who instigated the Love drama.
Dwyane Wade was one of many shipped out by the Cleveland Cavaliers at the trade deadline, and apparently his behind-the-scenes behavior wasn’t quite as good as advertised.
According to Joe Vardon of cleveland.com, Wade was the first Cavaliers player to challenge coach Tyronn Lue about the whereabouts of Kevin Love after he left the team’s loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Jan. 20. Wade is also described as “an instigator” in the blowout team meeting two days later in which Love was questioned by teammates.
This reportedly set in motion the effort to trade Wade, who was ultimately offered and accepted the opportunity to return to the Miami Heat.
Previously, a different Cavaliers player — who is also out the door now — was blamed for the Love fiasco. It sounds like Wade, a veteran who’s highly regarded as a good teammate, wasn’t blameless.