Early Monday morning, the Cavaliers’ week got off to a rough start when the team announced head coach Tyronn Lue would be stepping away for a while to deal with some lingering health issues. It was yet another big blow to the Cavaliers in a season that’s been filled with lots of surprisingly low points.
But on Monday night, the Cavaliers got some much-needed good news when the team revealed Kevin Love would be taking the court for a game against the Bucks for the first time since suffering a hand injury in late January. Love was inserted back into the lineup for Cleveland after missing 21 games—and he made the most of the 25 minute of playing time he got during the Cavaliers’ 124-117 win over Milwaukee.
Love scored 18 points in limited action against the Bucks. He also added 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 blocks. After the game, he told reporters he thinks he could have played even more during the contest, despite being a bit winded at times.
"I felt pretty good," Love said. "Initially, that first wind is always tough, but even after that, I felt like my legs were underneath me and that I could’ve played a little bit more."
Love also addressed his return to the court on Instagram later in the night.
"Happy to be sharing the court with my brothers again!" Love wrote. "Been too long. Never easy to get a W first game back after a long road trip. On to the next."
LeBron James—who dropped 40 points on the Bucks while grabbing 12 rebounds and dishing out 10 assists to notch a historic triple-double—touched on what it meant to the Cavaliers to have Love back on the floor. He said that, with all the injuries Cleveland players have sustained as of late, it was good just to have another familiar face out there with him.
"First of all just having another body is great for our team," LeBron said. "Then just his basketball IQ, his familiarity with our system, he fits right back in. And his ability to stretch the floor allows opposing bigs not to just sit and clog up the paint. It's great to have him back."
For the most part, Love looked like he was back to normal on the court on Monday night. But he did have one strange moment during the game. After missing a three-pointer in front of the Cavaliers’ bench, Love appeared to wiggle around like a worm on the ground rather than getting up quickly and getting back on defense.
People couldn’t figure out what in the world he was doing.
But outside of that, it was business as usual for Love, and his return couldn’t have come at a better time for the Cavaliers.