Throughout his three-year tenure with the Cleveland Cavaliers, All-Star power forward Kevin Love has continuously been in made-up trade discussions and criticized for his play at times. Every time he has a bad game, which is a rarity, some wine and gold fans and fans across the NBA continually re-converse about the trade that sent Love to Cleveland for then-rookie Andrew Wiggins, a conversation that should have stopped before it even started, but who am I to say. While No. 0 helped bring Cleveland its first major sports championship since 1964, he still faced plenty of skeptics throughout this season.
While the Cavs took a 2-0 series lead over the Indiana Pacers Monday night, Love quietly had arguably his most efficient game in his career, and one of the most efficient games in NBA playoff history. While notching 27 points and making 6-of-7 from the field, 3-of-4 from long distance, and a perfect 12-of-12 from the free-throw line, the 28-year-old was the first player in playoff history to notch at least 27 points on seven or fewer shots. Oh, and don’t forget, he also grabbed 11 rebounds, dished out three assists and had one block as well. Impressive, huh?
Three others came close:
Manu Ginobili (6/12/05): 27 on 8 shots
Brad Davis (4/25/86): 26 on 8 shots
DeAndre Jordan (5/10/15): 26 on 7 shots
— Josh Poloha (@JorshP) April 18, 2017
Ten of his points came when he scored them in consecutive fashion for the Cavaliers in the third quarter.
After having his best regular season with the wine and gold, averaging 19 points, 11 rebounds, and two assists per game while being the team’s third option, Love has adapted well to his role, and he proved that even more while making NBA history Monday night.
No. 0 may not be able to be this efficient again, but if he plays somewhat like he did in Game 2 the rest of the postseason, there’s a very good chance the Cavs will make their third Finals appearance in as many seasons.
While it’s not likely, maybe a game like Monday night will slowly begin to silence the ones who have continuously doubted Love and the others who still, to this day, believe that Wiggins would have been better for the Cavaliers.
Here’s your friendly reminder that while Love is busy playing in his third-consecutive postseason, Wiggins has yet to play in a single playoff game since coming to the league prior to the 2014 season.