Love fuels third-quarter production
Toronto went on a 12-0 run throughout the early stages of the third, drawing contact and knocking down eight free throws. James would stop the rally with two free throws of his own, but the on-ball pressure and overall physicality continued to mount against the home five.
The five-time All-Star thrived when the team needed him the most, using his signature hook shot and free throws to tally nine of the team’s 22 points in the period. The outburst provided James with a breather, as he sat for the final four minutes, a span in which the Cavaliers still outscored Toronto by four points.
“[Lue] just wanted me to get involved, especially when Bron is out,” Love said. “I’ve got to give a lot of credit to guys like George Hill – he’s been huge for me. Kyle Korver as well.”
Love went 3-of-7 with three free throws and a +21 efficiency, only trailing James’ +22 after three quarters. Every time the Raptors would strike, the Wine and Gold responded with ease, using its balanced approach to have five players in double-figures.
“Just having that either strong-side or weak-side action with him and [Korver’s] either pinning in for me, they might be switching or pinning in for me with my defender, the five-man or the four-man or if they’re switching, he’s going weak-side looking for a shot or throwing it to me in the post,” said Love.