UPDATED REPORT: Kevin Love will not be cleared to play in Game 3 Wednesday
Kevin Love was on the court for a portion of the Cavaliers’ morning shootaround Wednesday before a critical Game 3 of the NBA Finals.
But it was Richard Jefferson in a starter’s jersey at the end of practice. Channing Frye got some run with the first unit, too. It will be those two who will be asked to step up with Love out — he has been told he will not be cleared for Wednesday night’s game, reports Marc Stein of ESPN:
Kevin Love has been informed that he will not be medically cleared to play in Wednesday night's Game 3, ESPN has learned— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 8, 2016
ESPN sources say Love has been lobbying hard for clearance to play Game 3 but has been told Friday's Game 4 is the soonest he'll be cleared— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 8, 2016
Love did go through part of shootaround with the team but was off the floor when the media was allowed in Wednesday, the team reported. He has been officially listed questionable for Game 3.
Love is going through the league’s concussion protocol after an inadvertent elbow to the head from Harrison Barnes late in the second quarter of Game 2. Love stayed in the game at the time, was evaluated at the half and passed the concussion test, but then felt dizzy when playing at the start of the third and soon was back in the locker room and out for the remainder of the game. He did travel with the team back to Cleveland but missed Tuesday’s practice.
Expect Jefferson to get the start and LeBron James will slide to the four. The Warriors have been comfortable attacking Love’s defense this series (although he played passably well defensively in Game 1), but then you could say that about almost ever Cavaliers player in those games. Jefferson was the Cavaliers’ second best player in Game 2, he played with real energy, but he also has some limitations defensively. Frye can shoot the three (when playing well) but he also has been exposed at points on defense.
Cleveland needs someone to step up and be a floor-spacing threat with Love out. That has not been LeBron James, who was 1-of-9 outside three feet from the rim in Game 2. He, Jefferson, J.R. Smith, Kyrie Irving and others need to knock down threes Wednesday, or this is going to be a very short series.