Who Needs Love? How Cleveland Is Thriving Without Its Star Forward

Kevin Love went down in the first round of the playoffs, yet the Cavs are thriving. Here’s how.
Dave Martin
5/26/2015
Updated:
5/26/2015

Tristan Thompson of the Cleveland Cavaliers is averaging 10.3 points, 11.0 rebounds, and 2.0 blocked shots against the Atlanta Hawks in the conference finals. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Tristan Thompson of the Cleveland Cavaliers is averaging 10.3 points, 11.0 rebounds, and 2.0 blocked shots against the Atlanta Hawks in the conference finals. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Thompson, who was a starter the previous two seasons, has been added to the starting lineup in Love’s absence and the team hasn’t lost a beat. Why? For one thing, most of the Cleveland players already know him well as he was a starter the past two seasons.

The 6-foot-9 hard-working center is one of the better offensive rebounders in the league—ranking fifth each of the last two seasons—sets great screens, and is humble enough not to need any plays run for him.

His game-saving block Sunday, late in the fourth quarter, helped Cleveland extend the game to overtime. Then late in overtime, Thompson grabbed an offensive rebound and immediately threw the ball to a wide-open LeBron James who subsequently nailed the decisive three-pointer with 36 seconds left to extend Cleveland’s series lead to 3–0. 

His play hasn’t gone unnoticed by teammates either.

None other than four-time MVP LeBron James has been publicly lobbying management to sign the 24-year-old impending free agent to a long-term deal—something he doesn’t seem to be doing for Love, who'll also be free agent this summer.

Dave Martin is a New-York based writer as well as editor. He is the sports editor for the Epoch Times and is a consultant to private writers.
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