After watching his team break down during the second half for the third consecutive game, Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue told reporters that his players need to go through Kevin Love, their All-Star on the post when the offense begins sputtering.
Lue said the team needs to post the ball when the offense goes through a dry spell like what took place Wednesday when they almost squandered a halftime lead of 20 points before regrouping and pulling out a win of 104-103 over struggling Orlando.
Love on the night scored 12 points hitting three of his 10 shots, while pulling down 11 rebounds and handing out two assists. However, during the entire second half, Love took just four shots as the team shot 32.5% making just 13 of their 40 field goals.
Three Cleveland players took more shots that Love during the second half with Isaiah Thomas taking nine, LeBron James taking seven and Jeff Green seven. Derrick Rose shot the same as Love with four attempts.
Ball Must Go Through Love
Lue said after that game that he understands Love is playing the five position, and that sometimes fives are guarding him, but nevertheless the team needs to get the ball to him and involve him in the play. Lue wants Love to post up and get the ball to see how he does against the defense. He praised the way Love played defense and how his All-Star was able to play through the game even though his teammates did not involve him enough.
Cleveland ended the first half with 19 assists on just 25 field goals made, but during the second half, the Cavaliers had only three assists on 13 baskets made. Shortly after Wednesday’s game was over, Love returned to take shots at the Quicken Loans Arena court working up a full sweat after playing 31 minutes during the just concluded game.
Love following the game and his workout alone on the court said that the team practices well and moves the ball very well, and he feels when the team does that during a game they are far better. However, Love continued by saying there are times when lapses occur and the ball stays on one side of the court or the other and the team is not getting the ball into the paint.
Love believes all five players need to play together, move the ball and play for one another.
Thomas Arrival Has Changed Things for Love
Recently Thomas returned from his hip injury and has played six games with Love. In those six games, Love has taken 15 or more shots just once. However, in the 37 games Love played while Thomas was out injured, he took 15 or more shots 17 times. Thomas told reporters following the game that as a team he and his teammates need to do a better job collectively. He added that after two or three straight times down the court without a good shot, the team needs to take their time move the ball and get a good shot.
He added that the team cannot just run down the court and after one pass throw up a shot. However, he was quick to say the team would figure it out and have things straight very quickly.
Season Has 38 Games Left to Play
Cleveland just passed the halfway point of the record season. The Cavaliers are 27-17 and sit in third place in the Eastern Conference 3 ½ games behind second place Toronto and six games behind first place Boston. There is plenty of time for them to regroup.