OAKLAND, Calif. — Help is on the way for LeBron James in Game 1 of the NBA Finals Thursday night at Oracle Arena. The Cavaliers announced All-Star forward Kevin Love has been cleared from concussion protocol and is expected to start.
Love suffered a concussion five minutes into Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals against Boston and missed the rest of the game plus Game 7. He was excused from media day activities on Wednesday before Game 1 but did go through an afternoon practice with the Cavs.
Coach Tyronn Lue made it clear on Wednesday that Love would start if he was available as he has done all season. Asked if he might consider bringing Love off the bench because he has not fared well in defensive matchups against the Warriors in the past, Lue was succinct: “No.”
Now, the question is how much help Love might be capable of providing. His playoff production has been down this year to 13.9 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. He especially has struggled with his shooting, making only 38.8 percent overall and 34.6 percent from three-point range. During the regular season, Love shot 45.8 overall and 41.5 percent from distance.
As a result, some Cavaliers fans have clamored for veteran forward Jeff Green to start. When Love went down, Green stepped up to score 14 points in a Game 6 loss to the Celtics before coming up big in their Game 7 victory with 19 points and eight rebounds in 42 minutes. This will be Green’s first Finals appearance in his 10-year career.