After LeBron James left in free agency, the Cleveland Cavaliers officially made Kevin Love the new face of the franchise by giving him a massive contract extension. As the lone superstar in Cleveland, most people expect Love to bring back the game that made him a top-10 NBA player when he was still playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Unfortunately, after serving the last four years as James’ sidekick, Kevin Love is still struggling to embrace the role as the Cavaliers’ main man. In their first regular season game in the post-LeBron era, the Cavaliers suffered a double-digit loss in the hands of their Eastern Conference rivals, the Toronto Raptors, on Wednesday night at Scotiabank Arena, formerly known as the Air Canada Centre.
Despite leading the Cavaliers in scoring, Kevin Love shot a very disappointing 27.8 percent from the field and 25.0 percent from beyond the arc. According to Chris Fedor of Cleveland Plain Dealer, the 30-year-old center/power forward was hard on himself after the game. Love took full blame for Cleveland’s loss to the Raptors and apologized to Cavaliers Head Coach Tyronn Lue for his poor performance.
“That rhythm wasn’t there tonight,” Love said. “You could tell that game action wasn’t there for me tonight. Thought I got a lot of really, really good looks on the offensive end. On the defensive end, just our switches and closing out, my attention to detail wasn’t there. I told Ty (Lue) after the game, I said, ‘That’s on me and I apologize.’ We all have to be better and I think we know it.”
The Raptors are undeniably a tough opponent for the LeBron-less Cavaliers, especially after they traded DeMar DeRozan for Kawhi Leonard this summer. Leonard made a good impression in first regular season game as a Raptor, posting a double-double, 24 points, and 12 rebounds, on 40.9 percent shooting from the field and 33.3 percent from beyond the arc. However, Kevin Love believes the Cavaliers can still perform better than they did on Wednesday night.
Overall, the Cavaliers were not that bad on the offensive end, but defense remains one of their main weaknesses. Also, Love thinks his recent absence resulted in a lack of communication and trust with his teammates. The All-Star forward said that the Cavaliers should first find their identity and start playing their brand of basketball. Before playing against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night, Love revealed that they will be having a film session to see all the mistakes they made and figure out the areas they need to improve.