CLEVELAND: Richard Jefferson didn’t like what he was hearing. He didn’t want Kevin Love to be the “fall guy” for the Cavaliers’ two losses in Toronto.



So after Love busted out of a 5 for 23 shooting slump Wednesday night with 25 points in 24 minutes of their 116-78 victory over the Raptors in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals, Jefferson criticized the media for focusing on Love instead of the team’s shortcomings.



“He doesn’t have anything to make up for. No disrespect to anybody here, but that all a bunch of media B.S., if you ask me,” Jefferson said in the hallway at Quicken Loans Arena. “The guy had a bad game. We’d won 10 straight. He can have a bad game. Was he the only one who didn’t shoot the ball well? No. Was he the only person that might have struggled a little bit defensively? It looked like Kyle Lowry had 30-something points.



“As a group it was never him, it was never one individual. That was who was going to be the fall guy in the media’s eyes. We didn’t view it that way. Yes, we wanted him to play better, we all did. But he didn’t need to prove anything to us. He’d had eight double-doubles in the first 10 games. We were a little taken aback that everyone thought it was his fault. Those losses weren’t his fault. We all didn’t do our job. We took some of those things personally, the questions that were being asked.”



Love scored 10 points on 4 for 14 shooting in a six-point loss in Game 4 Monday at Air Canada Centre. In the Cavs’ 15-point loss in Game 3 May 21 in Toronto, he went 1 for 9 from the field for three points.



He’ll get another chance there Friday night with the Cavs, leading the series 3-2, facing a potential closeout game and a chance to play in their second consecutive NBA Finals.



Love said the confidence he found Wednesday came from teammates Channing Frye and Jefferson.



“I give a lot of credit to Channing,” Love said. “I talked to Channing last night and he basically just told me that no one’s immune to the NBA Playoffs. These type of things happen and you have to keep fighting through it in order for us to win. He said I needed to be aggressive and I give him a lot of credit for staying on me and staying vocal.”



Dressing at the next locker, Jefferson interrupted, “I wasn’t nearly as positive.”



“RJ, he talked to me after the game and he said, ‘That’s why we’re hard on you, big fella,’” Love said. “I know my teammates expect a lot out of me. I expect a lot out of them as well and I love these guys.”



Love pitched in 12 points in the first quarter – going 4 for 4 from the field and 2 for 2 from 3-point range. His first shot was an 8-foot turnaround hook, his second a 26-foot 3-pointer. He added a 14-foot fade, two free throws and another 3, then finished the quarter with two blocks of Cory Joseph in the final two seconds.



"He's an offensive force down low,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. “We’ve done a good job on him the entire series. He gets it going, and we've got to meet his force with our force and do a better job of one-on-one defense with him in the low post and not just look at him out on the 3-point line.”



Love said he also knew that “aggression, more often than not, pays off.”



“Even though he didn’t shoot the ball well in those two games, he came out and wanted to be aggressive early, which we need him to be,” J.R. Smith said. “You could tell he wanted the ball. As much as I got it, I tried to look for him in post-ups, 3s, wherever I can. He really got it going. Once one or two fall for Kev and his mojo is flowing, he makes tough shots around the basket, fadeaway 3s. It’s big for us.”



At halftime, Love had 19 points and was 6 for 6 from the field, 3 for 3 from 3-point range and 4 for 4 from the free throw line. To go along with his 25 points, he finished with two rebounds, two assists, two blocks and a steal. For the Cavs, 11-2 in the postseason, it marked Love’s fifth playoff game of 20 or more points. His 80 percent shooting from the field (8 of 10) was a career-high in the postseason.



Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said Love’s confidence never wavered. The two talked on Tuesday, then again at Wednesday morning’s shootaround.



“After the game he's like, ‘I told you,’” Lue said.



Lue said Love feels the team’s trust. He also knows the Cavs have a good chance to win a championship and is happy and comfortable in Cleveland.



“He's been in a great place for a while, and he's just enjoying it, having fun and opening up a little bit more,” Lue said.



Asked what stood out about Love’s performance, Lue said, “Just Kevin Love being Kevin Love. He's been playing this way throughout the whole postseason. He had two bad shooting games, and we made a big deal of it. But Kevin is one of the top 10 players in this league. Nothing that he does amazes me. We just have got to keep him aggressive at all times.”



LeBron James has experienced playoff struggles during his career and was able to rebound, so he was happy to see Love do the same.



“I've been there before, when you're a big part of a puzzle, and things just don't go the way you either dreamed or the way you thought it was going to be. You feel like you're by yourself for 24 hours or 48 hours or however long the case may be,” James said.



“To see him come out the way he did tonight, just aggressive from the beginning, his first touch was in the paint, a right-hand jump hook. We knew from that point on that that's where he wanted it, and we continued to go to him. It was great to see him bounce back like that.”