Kevin Love wasn't voted into the All-Star Game, nor was he chosen as one of the Eastern Conference's reserves by the league's coaches. Then, NBA commissioner Adam Silver elected to name Pau Gasol as the injury replacement for Jimmy Butler. About a week later, when it was announced that Chris Bosh would be forced to miss the game, Silver again bypassed Love and instead gave Hawks big man Al Horford the nod.
This didn't sit too well with Love.
"I just enjoyed my break but I just thought, 'what the (bleep),'" Love told Cleveland.com's Chris Haynes Sunday when asked about not being named an All Star. "Whatever. Just keep moving."
Love is averaging 15.9 points, 10.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists for the first-place Cavaliers, who had only one All-Star this season. This bothered Love. He spent the week off training and vacationing in Park City, Utah, but said he "most certainly would" have flown to Toronto had he been invited.
"You know what I think that everybody is so caught up in my numbers being 25 [points] or 10 or 12 [rebounds] in Minnesota and now they're 16 and 10 [here]," Love told Haynes. "Naturally being on a team where these are volume guys that handle the ball a lot and they make big plays, miraculous plays, and get us out of holes and score for us. My numbers are going to go down.
"I think people tend to lose sight of that, think 'Ah, why is he not putting up 25 and 15 every night?' That could be part of it, I don't know, but I had mentioned that I thought that being on the first-place team would definitely hold some weight. It didn't."
Love was forced to watch the game from the couch, but since then, He has played some of his best ball of the year. He scored 15 points and pulled down 14 rebounds in the Cavaliers' Thursday night win over the Bulls and then went for 29 and 11 Sunday in a 115-92 blowout win in Oklahoma City. He's hit 14 of his 28 shots from the field in the two games.
"He gave it on both ends," Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue said to reporters following his performance Sunday. "Defensively he was engaged, he was in the right spots contesting shots. He was physical in post-ups and his pick-and-roll defense was great."
Love's numbers have improved since Lue took over 13 games ago (the Cavaliers are 10-3 in those games). Love is getting the ball more frequently on the elbow, his favorite spot on the floor, and doing more with it when he does.
Part of the reason he was able to put up such big numbers Sunday was because Kyrie Irving was forced to leave the game early with flu-like symptoms. But Love's ability to smoothly transition from secondary piece to go-to scorer in some ways proves he was an All-Star snub. If he keeps this strong play up, it'll be hard to argue against his point.
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