The Cleveland Cavaliers played LeBron James’ homecoming game Thursday night at Quicken Loans Arena, but Kevin Love came into the house and made himself comfortable.
Love scored 19 points on 6-of-14 shooting, grabbed 14 rebounds and added four assists in the Cavs’ 95-90 opening night loss in his first regular season game as a Cavalier.
Love, who played for the Minnesota Timberwolves for six seasons, confessed that it was different for him to begin his seventh campaign in a new city and different uniform.
“It was an emotional game. I mentioned it beforehand,” he said. “Everything leading up to this first game put us in spot where it was going to be a chance to go out and perform in front of our home crowd, but we knew it was going to be a different type of energy.”
That energy didn’t translate to a win and for Love and his new teammates adjustments will be necessary.
“It was kind of a new look for me, playing with the Cavs, but I felt comfortable out there,” he said.
Given the hype, build up, national TV and everything else surrounding the game, Love said that while the team wanted to win for the fans, it was best to just get it over and get over it. Coach David Blatt said being hyped up was and easy excuse, but it could have been used to the Cavs’ advantage.
“The crowd was fabulous, the energy was great,” he said. “We started properly. We started well. Then got away from the way we play, that cost us more than anything else.”
As a team, the Cavaliers know how they played, Love said.
“All the guys who went out there and got minutes tonight weren’t particularly happy with the way they played, but first game, we got it out the way,” he said. “We were a little bit rusty but that’s going to happen. But as this team plays together more and more we’re going to look better and better.”
But even he acknowledged that the Knicks deserved a heaping amount of credit for playing the Cavs so tough at The Q.
“They hit some big shots. It was a grind-it-out type of game,” he said. “We didn’t shoot the ball particularly well. Like I said, we were sloppy with it, so you have to tip your hat to the Knicks. They played a good game.”
And the fix for what happened with the team giving up 54 percent shooting and committing 19 turnovers?
“We just need to get a good continuity going, just have more time out there on the floor,” Love said. “I think you saw that tonight. We were a little sloppy with the ball we have to clean that up a little bit and cut down on the turnovers.”