Cavs use Love’s absence as motivation in NBA Finals
admin • June 10, 2016 • 2413
June 2, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love (0) moves the ball against Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) during the first half in game one of the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Kevin Love missed Game Three of the NBA Finals with a concussion but he still had a major impact in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ critical victory as his team mates used his injury as a source of inspiration.
Love was placed in the league’s concussion protocol during Game Two of the NBA Finals after an accidental elbow from Golden State Warriors forward Harrison Barnes, and his injury was viewed by some as a death knell for the Cavaliers’ title hopes.
But rather than fret the absence of their starting forward, a three-time All-Star who was averaging 16.5 points and 9.4 rebounds per game in the playoffs, Cleveland rallied around Love in a season-saving Game Three rout on Wednesday.
“Before we left the locker room, I know Kyrie (Irving) embraced him, I did as well. Told him, don’t worry about it. We’ve got him tonight,” Cleveland’s LeBron James told reporters after practice on Thursday.
“This is what a team is all about, for them to pick their brother up in a time of need, and him not to put too much pressure on himself or the team, and that we’re going to try to take care of business, which we were able to do.
“So I know it was uplifting to him, for sure, and it was for
our team as well.”
Without Love in the lineup, Cleveland stormed back into the NBA Finals with a 120-90, wire-to-wire win over the top-seeded defending champion Warriors to cut the best-of-seven series deficit to 2-1.
It was the latest setback for Love, who missed all of last season’s NBA Finals with a shoulder injury suffered earlier in the 2015 postseason.
“I know he definitely wanted to play for sure. Looking in his eyes, knowing in his heart, being at The Finals is what we’ve both dreamt of,” said Cavaliers guard Irving.
“Knowing the magnitude of the game and knowing the challenges that we face going into Game Three, we needed a full team effort, and he was there in spirit, and we just knew that we had to take care of business for him, and we did that.
“And going out and doing what we did in Game Three was definitely a valiant effort for him, and we dedicated that game to him.”
Love started 77 games for Cleveland in the regular season in which he averaged 16 points and 9.9 rebounds per game as the Cavaliers secured the Eastern Conference’s top playoff seed.
He participated in Thursday’s practice with the Cavs but has yet to be cleared to play in Friday’s Game Four.
“I know he’s eager to play, he wants to play, and we definitely need him back. We miss his rebounding. We miss his post presence. We miss his three-point shooting. So we definitely want him back, but he has to take the steps necessary to get himself back,” said Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue.
“We know it’s a tough time, being in the NBA Finals. It’s something you dreamed about your whole life, and having to deal with this is tough. But myself, my coaching staff, team mates, we all have his back and we wish him well and need him back.”
Paul George outgunned James Harden in a matchup of MVP candidates, and the Oklahoma City Thunder erased a 26-point deficit to escape with a 117-112 win over the host Houston Rockets on Saturday.
George finished with a game-high 45 points plus 11 rebounds, torching the Houston defense with six 3-pointers plus 15-for-18 free throws.
Westbrook matched an NBA record set by Wilt Chamberlain with his ninth consecutive triple-double: 21 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists. The Thunder posted a 53-39 edge on the glass.
Harden totaled 42 points, his 29th consecutive game with at least 30, but he missed a contested 3-pointer after Westbrook pushed the Thunder ahead.
Clippers 123, Celtics 112
Landry Shamet made four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and scored 17 points off the bench in his debut for Los Angeles, which rallied from a 28-point deficit to knock off host Boston.
It’s the third time in the past five games the Clippers have come from at least 20 points down to win, with the 28-point rally setting a franchise record. It was also the largest comeback by any NBA team in the last two seasons.
Montrezl Harrell led Los Angeles with 21 points off the bench, and Danilo Gallinari had 19 points and 10 rebounds. Gordon Hayward scored 19 points off the bench to lead the Celtics, who lost leading scorer Kyrie Irving to a right knee sprain with about four minutes left in the first half.
Hornets 129, Hawks 120
Kemba Walker was 13-for-27 from the field and 9-for-17 on 3-pointers in reaching the 30-point mark for the fourth straight game, scoring 37 as Charlotte defeated host Atlanta.
It was the 40th time that Walker has topped 20 points and the 17th time he’s scored at least 30 this season. He added seven assists.
Charlotte’s Marvin Williams came back to haunt his former team with 27 points. Atlanta was led by John Collins with 21 points, and rookie Trae Young added 20 points and 11 assists.
Pacers 105, Cavaliers 90
Bojan Bogdanovic led a balanced offense with 23 points, the fifth time in his last six games he has topped 20 points, as host Indiana avenged a home loss in December to the Cavaliers.
Cory Joseph came off the bench to finish with 10 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists. Domantas Sabonis did not score in the first half, but finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds, also off the bench
Reserve Jordan Clarkson scored 18 points to lead Cleveland, which has lost four straight and 10 of its last 12.
Grizzlies 99, Pelicans 90
Joakim Noah had 19 points and 14 rebounds as host Memphis, playing its first home game since making two trades at Thursday’s deadline, defeated New Orleans.
Justin Holiday added 15 points, rookie Jaren Jackson Jr. scored 14, newcomer CJ Miles had 13, Mike Conley 11 and Ivan Rabb 10. Miles and Delon Wright, who were part of the trade that sent Marc Gasol to Toronto, made their debuts, as did guard Avery Bradley, who was acquired in a separate deal with the Clippers.
Julius Randle led the Pelicans with 21 points, Jrue Holiday had 15, Anthony Davis had 14 points and 16 rebounds and rookie Kenrich Williams had 10 points and 13 rebounds.
Wizards 134, Bulls 125
Jabari Parker and Bobby Portis made a triumphant return to Chicago, helping Washington win its second straight game.
The meeting was the first since Washington acquired Parker and Portis from Chicago at the trade deadline for Otto Porter Jr. All three played significant roles when their two new clubs won the front end of back-to-backs on Friday, with the Wizards beating Cleveland at home, while the Bulls surprised Brooklyn on the road.
Parker had 20 points, and Portis had a game-high 12 rebounds in Saturday’s win, during which the Wizards built a 15-point lead in the first half and kept the Bulls at arm’s length the rest of the way. Porter, who made a pair of 3-pointers, finished with 17 points for Chicago.
Raptors 104, Knicks 99
Kyle Lowry scored a game-high 22 points and hit a 3-pointer with 7:03 remaining that gave Toronto the lead for good in fending off host New York.
Serge Ibaka registered a double-double (15 points and 13 rebounds) for the Raptors, who have won four consecutive games. Marc Gasol, playing his first game for the Raptors since he was acquired from the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday, scored seven points and pulled down six rebounds in 19 minutes as a reserve.
Kevin Knox scored 20 points, and DeAndre Jordan posted a double-double with 10 points and 18 rebounds for the Knicks, who tied a franchise record by losing their 16th straight game.
Jazz 125, Spurs 105
Donovan Mitchell scored 23 points and Rudy Gobert added 21 points and 13 rebounds to lead host Utah to its second straight win while sending San Antonio to its fourth straight loss in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Royce O’Neale matched his season-high with 17 points off the bench as the Jazz had six players score in double figures.
DeMar DeRozan scored 23 points and LaMarcus Aldridge added 15 to lead the Spurs.
Magic 103, Bucks 83
Orlando took advantage of the absence of Giannis Antetokounmpo, snapping host Milwaukee’s six-game winning streak.
Jonathan Isaac led the Magic in scoring for the first time this season with 17 points. Eric Bledoe led Milwaukee with 19 points, 11 rebounds and five assists, and Malcolm Brogdon added 14 points. It was Milwaukee’s most lopsided loss and the fewest points they’ve scored all season.
Orlando has won four of its last five and is now 2 1/2 games out of the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.
Kyrie Irving racked up 30 points and 11 assists to lead the Boston Celtics to a 134-129 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder at home on Sunday.
The win was the fourth consecutive and the ninth in the last 10 for the Celtics. The Thunder’s seven-game winning streak was snapped.
Paul George led the Thunder with 37 points but was just 5 of 16 from behind the 3-point line.
Irving hit a critical floater with 23 seconds remaining with the Celtics clinging to a two-point lead. He drove past Terrance Ferguson, and let go of the floater over the outstretched arms of Thunder 7-footer Steven Adams. Russell Westbrook, coming over to help, got his finger on the shot, but it fell through the basket to extend Boston’s lead.
Westbrook had a monster game once again — 22 points, 16 assists and 12 rebounds — but his critical turnover with 8.1 seconds left and Oklahoma City down by two helped Boston escape with the win.
The Thunder got a 3-pointer from Jerami Grant right after Irving’s floater, then got the ball back after Jayson Tatum missed the second of two free throws to keep Oklahoma City’s hopes alive.
But Westbrook lost the ball charging toward the basket, and Tatum made both free throws at the other end.
Westbrook had his sixth consecutive triple-double and his 19th this season. Westbrook now has three streaks of six or more consecutive triple-doubles in his career.
Marcus Smart hit big shot after big shot to lift the Celtics to the lead for the final time.
With just less than seven minutes remaining in the third, Oklahoma City took the lead before Boston roared back. Smart hit a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession to ignite a 14-0 run that lasted more than three minutes. It was one of three 3-pointers Smart hit during the stretch.
Irving was 14 of 19 from the field in the win. Eight players scored in double figures for Boston
Boston was without center Aron Baynes, who missed the game with a left foot contusion. Baynes, who missed 13 games earlier this season with a broken hand, will miss “a few weeks,” he told reporters before the game.
UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.