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Kevin Love expected to play in Game 4; likely in a reserve role

The Cavs forward is expected to make his return from a concussion on Friday, although his role may be different.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Cavaliers are expecting good news on the injury front as they look to tie up the NBA Finals at 2-2 on Friday night. While he cannot be medically cleared until Friday, according to Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal team sources believe that Kevin Love will return to the lineup.

While Love's return is positive news, it does appear that his role on the team may be adjusted to begin Game 4. While no decision has been made at this point by Tyronn Lue, it is believed that he will come off the bench against the Golden State Warriors. The Cavaliers made adjustments to their offensive and defensive sets in Game 3 that could have been done with Love as well, but the change in the lineup did create matchup advantages that the Cavs must continue to exploit as much as possible.

The impact LeBron James had covering Draymond Green, while keeping Tristan Thompson defending the opposing center and in position to both rebound and provide some defense around the basket was significant. While playing Love with Kyrie Irving, LeBron and Thompson has been incredibly successful against every other team, having James play power forward changed things significantly on both ends of the floor.

Getting out to a good start in Game 4 is crucial. The Warriors are a team that is capable of going on huge runs at any moment, but making sure they don't get into a rhythm early on is a big deal and if the Cavs can build a lead to play with as they did in Game 3, it would significantly benefit them.

At some point I would experiment putting in the normal starters against the Warriors starters and seeing if Love can stay with Harrison Barnes. If that proves to be successful, it may be a look Lue decides to go with moving forward. But to start things off in game four I think having Love provide a scoring punch to a bench that has been void of a weapon like that in this series will be a big boost.