Cavs' Love out for Game 3 of NBA Finals with concussion
CLEVELAND (AP) Kevin Love can't help the Cavaliers climb back into the NBA Finals just yet.
Love remains slowed by a concussion suffered in Game 2 and will sit out Game 3 on Wednesday night, when the Cavs try to cut into Golden State's 2-0 lead in the series.
Cavs coach Tyronn Lue will start Richard Jefferson and move LeBron James from small to power forward, going with a smaller lineup to match the Warriors, who won the first two games by a combined 48 points.
Love took part in the team's morning shootaround, a positive step toward his return to the floor. Afterward, the Cavs said his status was questionable, but the team later sent out a news release saying Love is out and his status for Game 4 has not been determined.
"We know Kevin wants to play," Lue said. "He's frustrated."
The 27-year-old forward was diagnosed with a concussion Sunday night after he was accidentally elbowed in the back of the head by Warriors forward Harrison Barnes as they battled for a rebound in the second quarter. Love played part of the second half but took himself out of the game after he became dizzy while playing defense. He was placed into the league's concussion protocol, a program implemented a few years ago for safety.
According to the protocol, Love is required to gradually increase his physical activity and stay symptom free before he can be cleared by Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher of the NBA and team physician Dr. Alfred Cianflocco.
Love missed last year's finals and most of the playoffs after dislocating his left shoulder and undergoing surgery. He's been a major contributor to Cleveland's run this postseason, averaging 16.5 points and a team-leading 9.4 rebounds in 16 games.
With Love out, Lue elected to go with the 35-year-old Jefferson, who was wearing a red jersey designated for starters when the team allowed media in after the shootaround. Jefferson scored 12 points in Cleveland's 33-point loss to the Warriors in Game 2.
Lue may also give 7-foot-1 center Timofey Mozgov and forward Channing Frye more minutes.
Frye, who came over in a midseason trade, had a major impact in Cleveland's win over Toronto in the Eastern Conference finals with his outside shooting, but he's had limited time against the Warriors. That could change.
"I've just got to stay ready," he said before learning Love wouldn't play. "When I came here I understood we're a very deep team. Different matchups work, sometimes they do and sometimes they don't. Coach is trying to figure out the lineup that's going to work the best. I think that honestly they play small, they really aren't playing their centers, then the next guy that comes in is about 6-foot-6. For me it's a good and bad situation, but I'm always going to stay ready.
"I'm never one to complain about minutes or question coach Lue. I'm here to help the team win. If that's getting five minutes, I'm going to have to bust my butt for five minutes."
The news of Love's absence reached the Warriors as they were conducting their shootaround at Quicken Loans Arena.
"It changes the expectation of who's going to get the minutes," said league MVP Stephen Curry. "Kevin has a certain skill set that's tough to handle. He can space the floor, knock down 3s, he can get some touches on the blocks. So whoever's filling those roles is going to do something different. Whether it's Channing, whether it's Mozgov, whether it's Richard Jefferson, you've got to know your personnel and adjust.
"From a team perspective for them I don't know how much it'll change the play-calling and whatnot. You've just got to know who's on the floor and how to guard them."
AP Sports Writer Tim Reynolds contributed to this report.