LeBron James says Cavaliers love seeing 'Kevin from Minnesota'


BOSTON -- About 12 hours before LeBron James and Kevin Love became the first pair of teammates since Elgin Baylor and Jerry West in 1966 to score 30-plus points apiece in a road playoff game against the Boston Celtics, James had a feeling Love was in for a special night.
"For me, I saw that in Kev this morning," James said after Love finished with 32 points -- a playoff career high -- and 12 rebounds. "I knew what type of game he was going to have. I mean, he came through for us."
James wouldn't reveal what tipped him off to what Love had up his sleeve, but it became apparent to everybody shortly after the opening tip. Love started the game with a steal on the first possession, and even though he went only 1-for-5 from the field in the first quarter, he had a block in the opening period as Cleveland jumped out to a 30-19 lead.
To begin the second quarter, Cavs coach Tyronn Lue switched his normal rotation. Rather than have James or Kyrie Irving play with four reserves, Lue put Love in as the alpha dog and had the team ride him to keep the momentum going.
"Kyrie and LeBron went out, and I told him I was going to feature him, and he did a good job of carrying the load," Lue said. "We did a good job of getting the basketball to him, and he came up big for us."
Love scored 11 points (3-for-3 shooting) in the second quarter. Then, in the third, when he shared the court the entire quarter with James and Irving, Love really went off, scoring 18 points (5-for-8 shooting). All of his baskets came on 3-pointers from all over the court.
The Celtics' defense was so terrified of James driving to the hoop -- as he did in the first quarter when he scored 15 points and was 7-for-7 on shots taken in the paint -- that in adjusting to thwart James, they lost track of Love.
"Once we started helping and over-helping a little bit, Love goes nuts in the third quarter," Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. "This is the predicament they put you in."
Much has been made of Love's predicament in Cleveland as the third wheel in the Cavs' supposed Big Three. Love is the one who has had to sacrifice the most of his former existence as a solo superstar to make the collaboration work.