Kevin Love is the key to the Cavs surviving the East — Bud Shaw’s Spin

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Ty Lue called winning the division title “very special.”That’s the Central, in case you forgot.To be fair, he didn’t mean compared to winning a title or to three consecutive Beast-of-the-East appearances in the NBA Finals. He meant as the product of a Kyrie Irving trade gone bad, injuries, a tossed bowl of soup aimed at an assistant coach, a needed visit from a therapy dog and a team meeting that had all the camaraderie of a Trump visit to the FBI.You can read about all of that in Joe Vardon’s excellent season recap here.Suffice to say that from all that to the playoffs against an Indiana team that finished 3-1 against them, the Cavs have overcome a significant challenge only to be faced with their hardest postseason road since LeBron James returned.They can go back to the NBA Finals only because they have James, of course. He must stay healthy and fresh(ish)-legged, and it probably wouldn’t hurt if he continues to shoot the deep three as well as anyone including Steph Curry.But it’s not quite that simple. No one doubts James’ stamina and focus. He will still need a lot of help in possible matchups with Toronto and with a Philadelphia team that finished the season running the table.Much of that assistance must come from a more fragile source – Kevin Love.Love’s absence was the reason for a contentious team meeting that frayed relationships in a month of January everyone would like to forget. The severity of the hard feelings engendered after Love left the OKC game early and missed practice the next day is subjective. What isn’t is how much the Cavs suffered offensively with him out of the lineup during the season.

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