OAKLAND, Calif.: Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue is hopeful that center/forward Kevin Love will be cleared to play in Thursday night’s Game 1 of the NBA Finals and said Love will start against the Warriors if he’s available.

Love was excused from the 2018 Finals Media Day on Wednesday at Oracle Arena because he remains in the league’s concussion protocol.

The Cavs’ second-leading scorer and leading rebounder, Love missed Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Boston Celtics on Sunday in TD Garden after a head-to-head collision with Celtics rookie Jayson Tatum in Game 6.

Asked about Love playing, Lue said, “I hope so. I’m still not sure. He’s going to go do some things today and see how he feels. But he is in the protocol still.”

Meanwhile, the Golden State Warriors announced that forward Andre Iguodala will sit out Game 1 with a left lateral leg contusion/bone bruise. Injured in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals when he bumped knees with Houston Rockets star James Harden, Iguodala sat out the final four games of the series.

Iguodala was voted MVP of the 2015 NBA Finals, in part because of his defense on the Cavs’ LeBron James.

As for Love, he is recovering from his second concussion of the season, also sitting out a March 28 game at Charlotte after getting hit in the mouth the night before at Miami. Love was also sidelined for Game 3 of the 2016 NBA Finals with a concussion after taking an elbow to the head from the Golden State Warriors’ Harrison Barnes.

In Game 7 at Boston, Jeff Green started in place of Love and scored 19 points with eight rebounds in 42 minutes as the Cavs won by eight. The addition of Green into the lineup allows the Cavs to switch everything. That strategy worked for the Rockets in the West finals, forcing the Warriors into playing isolation ball.

But Lue ruled out bringing Love off the bench, which was also debated in the previous three Finals meetings against the Warriors because it is a tough matchup for Love.

Love is averaging 13.9 points and 10.0 rebounds in 17 postseason games, shooting .388 from the field and .346 from 3-point range. In two regular-season games against the Warriors, Love averaged 24 points and 12.5 rebounds.

The Warriors said Iguodala was evaluated by the team’s medical staff Tuesday and he is making progress. But the team said the pain that accompanies the bone bruise persists, as does inflammation of the nerve around his left knee.

“He’s doing a little bit better today,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “Some encouraging signs. ... You know, we’ve got lots of guys who can take on that job. It’s a group effort, anyway guarding LeBron. So, [Kevin Durant], Draymond [Green], Klay [Thompson], Shaun Livingston, they’ll all see time on him.”

Iguodala is averaging 7.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.4 steals in 13 postseason games.

“Just trying to figure out how to just move in general,” Iguodala said. “Just making some progress, slower than we expected.”

Iguodala said when he was injured, he didn’t think it was that serious.

“No, that’s why we kept saying it was day-to-day,” Iguodala said. “I’ve been hit, bruised up many a times and it’s like, ‘I’ll be all right in a day’ or ‘I’ll be all right in two days.’ The next morning I knew it was worse than what I originally thought it would be. Then just trying to figure it out from there was tough, too.”

James has played against Iguodala since 2004 and knows how effective he can be.

“He has very, very quick hands. That doesn’t get talked about a lot, his ability to react to the ball either in flight or while you’re dribbling or while you pick the ball up,” James said. “… But at the end of the day, his athleticism allows him to play some of the premier perimeter players in our league. He’s a guy that’s 6-foot-8, long wingspan, athletic. He’s just added to his game every single season he’s been in the NBA.”

James remembered when the Philadelphia 76ers drafted Iguodala ninth overall in 2004 out of Arizona and the Cavs were next.

“I had loved him at Arizona and was hoping that he slid to us with that pick,” James said. “Then we selected Luke Jackson from Oregon.”

The Warriors averaged 15.4 turnovers per game in the regular season, 13.5 in the playoffs, and that’s another area where not having Iguodala will be a factor.

“He is the guy who is kind of the stabilizing force in that department for us,” Green said. “Also, what he brings to us on the defensive end, it will definitely be missed. But just means a lot of guys have to step up, and other guys have done that thus far, and the task gets even harder.”

No Finals MVP

The Warriors’ Stephen Curry was voted the league’s MVP in 2014 and 2015, but he has never won a Finals MVP. That question was one Curry saw coming.

“It took to the second question of my first media availability, so I’m pretty sure that narrative’s going to take life, as it has since 2015,” Curry said. “But it doesn’t make or break my career or whatever you want to say looking back. If we win this championship and I don’t win Finals MVP, I’m going to be smiling just as wide and just as big.

“I’m going to play aggressively, confidently with that right energy and motivation to help my team win. And usually when I’m in that mindset, good things happen. Whether that means it’s a Finals MVP or not, who cares, but I’m going to be playing like it for sure.”

The Cavs’ George Hill will be tasked with guarding Curry. Asked how to avoid getting demoralized when Curry gets on a roll, Hill said, “He’s been on a roll his whole life.”

“He’s going to have those times where he makes three or four 3s in a row, two here, one here, it doesn’t matter,” Hill said. “The only thing you’ve got to do is know that he’s going to make tough shots. Continue to defend at a high rate, be physical, and have fun with him.”

Kerr’s Cavs memory

The Cavs have four players — five including inactive center Kendrick Perkins — who were eliminated by James in the postseason when with other teams. Kerr experienced that with Michael Jordan when the former Bulls guard played for the Cavs in the 1992 postseason.

“It was very frustrating. A lot more fun playing with him,” said Kerr, who spent 1989-93 with the Cavs. “I do remember the first time I guarded him when I was in Cleveland. He faked right, faked back left and went right, and I stayed right in front of him, but only because I went for the first fake.

“We came to the bench, and [coach] Lenny Wilkens said, ‘Guys, did you see what Steve just did? He stayed in front. That’s what you have to do.’ I said, ‘That’s right, guys, come on. I was literally still going for the first fake, and he came right back to me.’ That was my highlight.”

Coming out of it?

Cavs guard J.R. Smith has connected on 35-of-95 (.368) 3-pointers in 18 postseason games, but made 10-of-34 (.294) in the seven-game Celtics series. Smith sounded optimistic about possible improvement Wednesday.

“The shots have been feeling good lately, I’ve got a lot of confidence in it,” Smith said. “Just got to keep shooting, no matter what it is. We’re going to have to make some.”

Heavy study

The Cavs are studying the Warriors’ series against the Rockets in the West finals, but forward Jeff Green has gone far past that.

“I’ve watched every game that they’ve played,” Green said. “So I’m pretty up to date on what they did to push Golden State to a seven-game series.”

Bring on the hate

A subject at media day was the unaired skit done by Saturday Night Live that poked fun at the lack of basketball skills of James’ supporting cast.

“You hear it. You can’t turn on SportsCenter or ESPN without it,” Larry Nance Jr. said. “But at the same time, everybody that’s saying that is not playing in the NBA Championship. So feel free to judge us, make comments on us and do whatever else you’d like.

“But at the end of the day, we have a chance to win a ring. We’ve done what it takes to get this far, and we’ll continue doing exactly what we’re required to and what we need to to hopefully get four wins in this series.”

Dad nervous

Revere High School product Nance is wearing No. 22, the number of his father, Larry Nance Sr., that was retired by the Cavs in 1995. Asked if his dad’s stomach will be in knots during the NBA Finals, Nance said, “I’m sure it will. They were in knots Game 62 in Cleveland. That’s just how he is. I think he’ll be more nervous than I will.”