CLEVELAND — Kevin Love went through a workout and shot around with the Cavaliers on Thursday but remains in the NBA’s concussion protocol, and his status for Friday night’s Game 4 won’t be known until earlier in the day.
If Love is able to play, the question will be whether he returns to the starting lineup or comes off the bench. “Haven’t thought about that yet,” Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said.
That’s hard to believe, considering what’s at stake. The Cavaliers need a win to tie the NBA Finals against Golden State at 2-2. After losing the first two games by a total of 48 points, they won Game 3 by 30 without Love, with Richard Jefferson starting at small forward and LeBron James at power forward. It wouldn’t be surprising if Lue went that way again. “I haven’t thought about that yet,” he said.
When he was asked to address the perception that the Cavs are better without Love, Lue said, “I’m not giving a statement.”
Love suffered a concussion in Game 2 after taking an elbow to the head from Harrison Barnes. He wanted to play in Game 3 but didn’t pass all the concussion tests.
Lue said James and Kyrie Irving told Love they were going to win the game for him. “He was happy after the game,” Lue said. “And they told him, ‘Kevin, this was for you.’ ”
James said he saw in Love’s face that he felt he was letting down the team by not playing.
“Before we left the locker room, Kyrie embraced him and I did as well,” James said. “We told him, don’t worry about it. We’ve got him. This is what a team is all about, for them to pick their brother up in a time of need, and that we were going to try and take care of business, which we were able to do. I know it was uplifting for him, for sure, and it was for our team as well.”