The Cavs have won 13 of their last 14 games. It hasn't been the toughest schedule in the NBA, no, but everyone seems to firing on all cylinders. Except for Kevin Love. Except for when Kevin Love is firing on all cylinders. Like today.
But Love struggled in the Cavs loss to the Indiana Pacers on Friday night. He hasn't put together the year he did in Minnesota last year. Whether it's due to simple variation in terms of making and missing jump shots, or due to back and knee pain, I don't know. I think it's relatively clear he's been working hard, and Cavs lineups with he and LeBron James and Kyrie Irving have been dominating teams all year. The Cavs winning would certainly cover up some of the blemishes on Kevin Love's statline, right?
From Dave McMenamin of ESPN, James sent Love a message over the interwebs Saturday night:
It was close to midnight on Saturday night, LeBron James was thinking about the state of his Cleveland Cavaliers and he had something he wanted to share not just with his 18.7 million followers on Twitter, but also with the guys he shares the locker room with.
"Stop trying to find a way to FIT-OUT and just FIT-IN," James wrote. "Be apart (sic) of something special! Just my thoughts."
While James didn't specifically reference any teammates in the tweet, the message was loud and clear: Time to get on board, Kevin Love.
My first thought is that Twitter is a weird, or bad, outlet for this. Why not text Love? Why not walk across the locker room? Why not have Mike Miller talk to Love?
McMenamin, though, doesn't think it's malicious or ill-intentioned:
While James' approach to get his message across certainly could be categorized as passive aggressive, it's important to recognize that there's nothing malicious about it. It wasn't like James sent out that tweet about Love and then froze him out on the court Sunday. It was just the opposite, actually, as he made a point to pass to Love early and often and was instrumental in Love topping out at 32 points. He even drew up plays during a timeout on Sunday to keep getting Love the ball, because, as James said, "He had the hot hand, I wanted to keep going to him."
"It's huge," Love said after the game when asked about James targeting him with passes. "Whether I'm running the floor and ducking in or he's calling a play for me to get it inside or out, he's one of the best in the league at setting guys up. So when I'm on the other end of that and it's a crisp pass coming from him, it's going to be a good look."
McMenamin, though, notes that the trade deadline is two weeks away and Love needs to buy in. I can't imagine the Cavs cutting the cord on Love while the team is playing so well, but Dave is absolutely right that the team has a short window. Love continues to say the right things, though.
I find all of this strange. We will see where it goes, but the Cavs keep winning in the meantime.