The Cavs’ Game 2 win over the Raptors was easily Kevin Love’s best performance of the playoffs, with his is 31-point, 11-rebound performance being a major reason why Cleveland is now up 2-0 in the series. It also came with Love playing center, a position is something he has openly talked about not always enjoying.
Love moved to the five at the beginning of the season, although the team went away from it at different points in the season. On Friday, Cavs coach Tyronn Lue acknowledged that the position move was an adjustment for Love, but feels that Love handled it well.
“Coming in and having to change from playing the four the last few years to playing the five this year, I thought he handled it extremely well,” Love said. “I thought the first few weeks were tough for him because he was trying to figure out where his shots were going to come from. But I think defensively he’s been good, rebounding the basketball he’s been good. And then, he was an All-Star this year. It was good for him. The way he played last night is the way we need him to play. When he’s playing fast and quick the way he did, it’s hard for teams to matchup. “
Lue also said that Love playing faster — something he did in Game 2, where he attacked almost immediately once he was given the ball, particularly when the he had DeMar DeRozan or another Raptors guard matched up with him inside — was key to Love’s success.
“That was a point of emphasis, just playing faster, running the floor. And I think Kevin has done a good job of handling it,” Lue said. “I know sometimes he doesn’t like playing the five, but he understands that’s what’s best for our team. And he understands that and he wants to win. Even though sometimes it’s tough, when we’re winning and we’re playing the way he’s capable of playing at the five, he enjoys it. I’m glad he had a good game last night and that’s what he can do for us. He understands he has to sacrifice playing the five in this series and it’s big for us.”