Cavs withstand loss of Kevin Love to take Game 6

Love's status for Game 7 TBD; Hill, Green and Nance Jr. combine for 44 points

Daryl Ruiter
May 25, 2018 - 10:03 pm
Cleveland Cavaliers center Kevin Love (0) reacts after being injured during the first quarter against the Boston Celtics in game six of the Eastern conference finals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena.

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

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Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – With Kevin Love in the locker room, the Cleveland Cavaliers, behind another virtuoso performance from LeBron James, came together to beat the Boston Celtics in Game 6, 109-99.

Love was ruled out at halftime after he collided with Celtics forward Jayson Tatum in the first quarter.

"When you lose an All-Star like Kevin and our second go-to guy, pivotal part of what we try to do, and when he goes down and then you help your brother up, that's what they did," Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue said. "Kevin left the game. He didn't come back, and guys got together and they played. They played for Kevin. They played for each other and were able to get the win."

James scored 46 points to go with 11 rebounds, 9 asissts, 3 steals and a block in the win but Love’s status for the decisive Game 7 Sunday night in Boston remains to be seen.

George Hill and Jeff Green picked up the scoring slack - aside from LeBron's effort - in Love's absence.

Green scored 14 off the bench while Hill poured in 20.

"I don't think Kevin's injury had anything to do with how I was going to play," Hill said. "I took it upon myself to just put myself in situations where I can be aggressive. It's kind of like that moment where you don't want to go home. It's not time to go home. I think the adrenaline kicked in where I had that pressure and I was saying, I'm not going home today."

Larry Nance Jr. added 10 points to go with 7 rebounds in the win that saw the Cavs lead from the early stages of the second quarter until the final buzzer. 

"You never want to see one of your guys go down, obviously," Nance said. "Everybody is hoping Kevin is alright. At the same time, it requires other guys to step up, and I think we certainly did that."

Love and Tatum appeared to bang heads when Tatum inadvertently ran right into Love while trying to get around a screen, sending both players to the floor, but the Cavs' All-Star forward took the brunt of the hit with just over 7 minutes left in the opening quarter.

Love stayed down for a few minutes before Hill helped him off the floor. Love went to the locker room a few minutes later to be evaluated. 

Although he didn't score and went 0-3 from the field in 5:02, Love pulled down 4 rebounds before departing. 

Love was averaging 15 points and 11 rebounds over the first 5 games of the series.