BOSTON (CBS) — Kevin Love has come a long way from that Kelly Olynyk incident.
The Cavs’ 117-104 win in Game 1 at the TD Garden was mostly about the relentless dominance of LeBron James, but Love also played a major role in Cleveland’s destruction of the Celtics. The once-maligned Cavs big man played arguably the best playoff game of his career, setting a new career high with 32 points and also pulling down 12 rebounds.
Love shot 6-for-9 from three-point range after hitting six three-pointers in all four games of the Cavs’ second-round series against the Raptors. He even blocked a shot and led the Cavs with a plus-17 rating, outplaying the Celtics’ Al Horford at both ends of the floor.
Love remarked to reporters after the game that he’s feeling as comfortable as ever in a Cavs uniform, regardless of his role on the court.
“As I mentioned to [Cavs head coach] Ty [Lue] last week and throughout these playoffs, it doesn’t matter to me if I’m getting five shots or 25 shots, I just want to win,” said Love. “I know I can impact the game whether it shows up in the stat sheet or not. I think that has allowed me to be comfortable out there on the floor, knowing that my mindset is really there, still being aggressive and making plays, as I mentioned, whether those are showing up or not.
“But just having all these guys’ back and being there for them is huge, and I embrace that.”
LeBron claimed that he saw Love’s career-best performance coming.
“Well, for me I saw that in Kev this morning,” said LeBron. “I knew what type of game he was going to have. I mean, he came through for us.”
On Wednesday night, Love’s role was to be LeBron’s sidekick. He certainly delivered in that regard.