Love exits, offense struggles early
Within 90 seconds of the opening tipoff, Love exited for the locker room after taking Jordan Mickey’s elbow to the face. He returned to the Cleveland bench and logged a few minutes, but the medical staff diagnosed him with a sublux front tooth (partial dislocation). A re-evaluation at halftime would rule Love out for the remainder of the contest, giving him one point on 0-of-2 shooting, one rebound, one turnover and two fouls over seven minutes of action.
The Cavs were noticeably worse for the remainder of the half, starting the second quarter shooting 0-of-11 until James finished a layup with five minutes, six seconds remaining. James scored or assisted on all field goals in the quarter, a testament to the value Love brings to the team. The defending Eastern Conference champions converted 1-of-11 three-point field goal attempts in the first 24 minutes.
Hood would pick up the slack in the second half, starting in place of Love and tallying 10 points in the third quarter alone. Despite the contributions, the rest of the offense could only muster 15 points, leaving the Cavaliers in a 16-point rut after three periods of play.
Love is day-to-day with eight games left.