Pretty big news for the Cavs as they prepare for tonight’s Game 1. We learned yesterday that Andre Iguodala would be out, but there was no word about Love. Now that we know he’s in, personally I think this makes tonight a little more interesting. Whether or not you think Love hurts or helps the Cavs is certainly up for debate. I am of the belief that any time you can add an All Star level talent when you’re attempting to beat the Warriors, that helps you. But there are people who will point to how awful the Cavs were with Love on the court in the Boston series compared to how great they were when they went small. The Cavs were outscored by 20 points when Love played, yet outscored BOS by 18 points when Love came off the floor. To me that’s just a weird small sample and NOT something Lue should worry about for this series.
Obviously having a guy like Love out there not only helps spread the floor with another shooter for Lebron, but it also will prevent Lue from falling into Steve Kerr’s trap by having CLE play small. That’s exactly what GS wants you to do, but I think the Cavs only chance is to start Love/Thompson together and hope GS adjusts to them. It goes without saying that Love will have to be better this series than he was in last year’s Finals where he averaged 16/11 but shot just 38/38%. Love has had an up and down postseason this year, in fact you could argue it’s been his worst postseason of his Cavs career. They’re going to need the Love we saw against TOR (20.5/11.5 with 47.5/35% splits) and not the one we saw in both the IND and BOS series if they want this to be a competitive series.
It will be interesting to see how the Warriors match up with Love, especially if Looney is going to cover Thompson. That means someone like Draymond will have to handle a guy much taller that loves to live behind the three point line. Not having Draymond at the rim certainly makes things easier for slashers like Lebron, who if he’s smart will be doing nothing but attacking to get the Warriors wings in foul trouble.
I’m not going as far to say this now swings the series in CLE’s favor, but it is a huge relief for the Cavs and their fans to know they’ll have their second best player available.