OAKLAND, Calif.: Center/forward Kevin Love passed the tests required to be released from the NBA’s concussion protocol and started at power forward alongside Tristan Thompson at center against the defending champion Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena in Thursday night’s opener of the NBA Finals.

Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said Love was excited to return.

“He was happy for the guys that they pulled him along because he was out and wanted to play in Game 7, but from the concussion protocol, he couldn’t,” Lue said. “His approach has been great the last couple days, so I’m excited for him.”

Warriors coach Steve Kerr said he wasn’t surprised that Love was back.

“I’m glad he’s playing. I think we want everybody playing. We want everybody healthy and out there competing. So I’m happy for him.”

Lue reveals anxiety

Lue, who missed over two weeks and nine games as he took a leave of absence in March and April to address health issues, told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols in an interview that aired Wednesday that his problems were partly anxiety-based. He went on medication, hired a chef, cut out sweets such as the Shirley Temples he frequently drank, and told Nichols the chest pains have stopped.

“To be honest, I messed up. I didn’t even really know I said it. It just kind of came out during the interview,” Lue said before the game of his problem with anxiety. “But a lot of people are going through a lot of different things. Just being able to cope with it and understand that there’s a lot of different people that have reached out since yesterday and told me they experienced some of the same things.

“But the biggest thing is I feel great, and talking to my doctor, one of my happy places is the playoffs. So that’s a good thing,” he said, laughing. “I do feel great, though.”

Grateful for advice

When Lue returned to the Cavs on April 5 after experiencing chest pains and problems sleeping for a year and a half, he said the most valuable advice he received was from Kerr.

In 2015-16, Kerr missed 43 games to start the season after back surgery; he also took a leave of absence last season that forced him to miss Game 1 of the Finals against the Cavs.

On Wednesday, Kerr said he called Lue first, then they kept up a good text exchange. Kerr said he didn’t want Lue to let the enormity of his job interfere with his health and his recovery.

“I just tried to share some of my experience when I was out last year,” Kerr said. “I just told him the team will still be there when you get back.

“Sometimes I think in this job because there is so much passion from the fan bases and because everybody wants to win so badly, it feels bigger than it really is. So just kind of a reminder that we’re playing a sport. Get better.”

Asked Wednesday what Kerr’s support meant to him, Lue said, “It meant a lot. A lot of the coaches reached out. A lot of the NBA family reached out. Just hearing from Steve, and he’s been through something similar, it was great to hear him and talk to him and pick his brain about different circumstances.

“He was great. I appreciate all the support he gave me, along with all the rest of the NBA family. I really don’t want to share much of what he talked about, but he was just very supportive. Just told me to get myself healthy, and let’s make another strong run at it. So here we are again.”

A fan of Lue’s

Lue, 41, directed the Cavs to the 2016 championship when he was promoted to succeed the fired David Blatt and has led the Cavs to three consecutive Finals. Kerr said he is a “big fan” of Lue’s and doesn’t believe he gets enough credit.

“That’s probably the burden of coaching LeBron,” Kerr said Wednesday of four-time league MVP James. “There’s a lot of benefits, but there’s a burden, too. And Ty has done a phenomenal job with that team.

“We have great respect for their coaching staff, and I’m really thrilled he’s back and looking healthy.”

Asked to elaborate on what he admires most about Lue as a coach, Kerr included Lue’s entire staff.

“Their staff is sharp. They’ve made a lot of adjustments against us over the years as we’ve played them, as we have against them,” Kerr said in Thursday’s pregame.

“I think there’s an awareness that this is a staff that really understands how to kind of change game tactics on the fly, in between games, during games. They’re really good at what they do.”

New look for LeBron

LeBron James sent Twitter abuzz when he arrived at the arena in one of his Thom Browne suits with the pants cut off at the knees. Jordan Clarkson also went along with the idea, as shown in an NBA video.

James paid for three twill suits for each player that they would wear on the road as a sign of unity, but they went 0-3 against the Celtics when wearing the suits for their walk-in.

Asked what he thought of the shorts, Lue said, “No comment,” and laughed.

Kerr was asked if he would comment on the strange attire after the game.

“You got it ... if we win,” he said as he walked out of the interview room.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver didn’t shy away from the suit shorts subject when asked at his state of the league press conference before the game.

“I’m behind a podium, so you can’t see mine,” Silver said, laughing. “You know, LeBron defines fashion. If LeBron is wearing shorts, it must be in.”

Gilbert says thanks

In a series of tweets as Game 1 began, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert gave the reasons the Cavs were playing in their fourth consecutive

Finals.

Gilbert said, “1. LeBron James - No words describe his level of play & commitment to this game. His impact is magical. We go as he goes.

“2. The dedication & underlying belief of KLove, TT, JR , Korver, Green, G.Hill, Larry, Clarkson, Cedi, Ante, Perk & every other player on this roster.

“3. Trade 1.0 last summer & Trade 2.0 at the deadline led by a humble, talented, young GM: Koby Altman.

“W/o either of these 2 bold moves orchestrated by Koby & the @Cavs front office, we would not be here w/ a good chance to bring another one home to CLE. “

Kindred minds

James and the Warriors’ Draymond Green share more than a partnership on James’ media platform “Uninterrupted” and a competitive spirit that exceeds most of their peers. They also stand out in terms of their basketball IQs.

“He shows me day in and day out, whether it’s knowing a play that MJ [Michael Jordan] ran against Phoenix way back in the ’90s or it’s a play that he had seen yesterday. His IQ is ridiculous,” Cavs guard J.R. Smith said of James. “He can process things extremely fast, on the move, while things are happening and in certain situations. It’s pretty remarkable.”

Smith said James’ ability to change the play as it’s happening with no one else knowing is what stands out to him.

“I think that’s an extremely, extremely important talent that he has that people may not see,” Smith said. “It’s not always about him or getting the assist. It might be the hockey assist where he makes a pass and or he sees somebody else is going to rotate or whatever.”

The Warriors’ Stephen Curry gave an example of Green’s knowledge of basketball history that seemingly ranks with that of James.

“They’re just basketball junkies,” Curry said. “We were joking where Draymond knows every draft class from like 1987 until now and all the different draft orders.

“When they’re out there ... they’re always just saying the right things, making winning plays, changing the game. They use the mental aspect of it to give themselves an advantage and an edge.”

Friendship put aside

James and Green have appeared together on two “Uninterrupted” series, The Shop and Trophies.But Green said that relationship will have no bearing on the Finals.

“We are partners in Uninterrupted and do some things off the floor. But none of that matters right now,” Green said. “He’s trying to win a championship, I’m trying to win a championship, and if that means nose to nose or whatever else it means, then that’s what it means.

“I know that there is mutual respect there and you respect your opponent. But friendships, businesses, none of that stuff matters when you’re trying to win the championship.”

Proud Filipino

Cavs guard Jordan Clarkson is on a short list of those of Filipino descent who have played in the NBA. Raymond Townsend spent 1979-82 with the Warriors and Indian Pacers, and Nate Robinson played for eight teams, most notably the New York Knicks, from 2005-16.

Clarkson, who has a Filipino mother, said he appreciate the support he receives from those fans, whether on social media or at the arena.

“Always on my mind, the reason why I go out here and play — represent, try to be the best, the best me I can for everybody,” he said.

If he sees action in this series, Clarkson will be the first of Filipino descent to play in the Finals.

“It’s crazy, it’s humbling. It’s definitely an experience I’m never going to forget,” he said. “Hopefully I’m not just the first one to do it. Hopefully there’s more to come after me. Hopefully I can say I’m the first Filip to win the championship — that’s what we’re shooting for.”