Cavs: Kevin Love, Dante Exum likely set to go is key to watch vs. DET

Cleveland Cavaliers big Kevin Love signals to teammates in-game. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers big Kevin Love signals to teammates in-game. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Kevin Love and Dante Exum are both expected to play at the Detroit Pistons.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are coming off a nice Opening Night win over the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday, in which the squad had a particularly productive first half, and in that first half, Larry Nance Jr. had seven assists.

All in all, Cleveland ended up having 34 assists, led by Nance, who finished with eight, and showcased more of his playmaking abilities. Also, on the night, the Cavaliers shot 46.7 percent from three-point range (14-of-30).

Looking at Cleveland’s next outing, the Cavs are set to take on the Detroit Pistons in Detroit on Saturday, with a good chance to go to 2-0. And the Cavaliers seem set to have a few reinforcements in that one.

Cleveland is reportedly expected to have Kevin Love and Dante Exum in the lineup tonight, per’s Chris Fedor. They both went through shootaround.

Love was not in action versus Charlotte due to a right calf strain, whereas Exum wasn’t due to left hip soreness.

Love’s and Exum’s 2020-21 debuts are keys to watch for the Cavs on Saturday at Detroit.

Love of course is one of Cleveland’s key options offensively, and it should be interesting to see how he does in this one, seemingly often against the likes of Blake Griffin. Love, for precaution it appeared, played in just the first preseason game for Cleveland against the Indiana Pacers.

Him alongside the Darius Garland-Collin Sexton backcourt again should be a key to watch for and/or how the dynamic with him and guys like Isaac Okoro and Andre Drummond is. Drummond going up against his former longtime club in Detroit, who traded him to Cleveland near the 2020 deadline, should be some of a storyline, too.

Anyhow, I’ll be looking to see if Love can build on how he closed out last season, and when he seemed especially engaged in the last two or so months of 2019-20, and was in a good groove in the time after which J.B. Bickerstaff took over as Cavs head coach.

Leading into the novel coronavirus-induced hiatus/ultimately end of last season, Love had 17.5 points per game, but had 4.0 assists per outing post-All-Star break, too.

I’d expect him, along with Larry Nance Jr. when he’s out there as Love’s primary backup, to be a notable secondary playmaking presence once again. This is again in the assumption that Love does get in versus the Pistons.

Moving to Exum, he should get some playmaking opportunities in a reserve role and/or fill in staggered next to Sexton/Garland, or at times perhaps with Damyean Dotson.

It was preseason action, but Dante did show some positive signs on-ball and had 15.0 points per game, to go with 5.0 assists in his two games active. He did average 4.5 turnovers, though, albeit I give him some slack for those, which had some to do with lack of familiarity with some others.

Exum defensively could add a nice boost in his minutes-share for the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday, too, provided he’s able to go, which is currently expected.

We’ll see if both Love and Exum do indeed end up playing on Saturday, anyhow.

In terms of players that are not set to go, that includes Kevin Porter Jr. (personal), Matthew Dellavedova (concussion), and unfortunately, Dylan Windler is clearly. Windler suffered a fourth metacarpal fracture versus Charlotte, is set to be re-evaluated within the next week, per the Cavs.

Next. Three Cavs gifts that will keep on giving in 2020-21. dark

Love and Exum in this one on Saturday likely being back is again, though, a key storyline to watch. We’ll keep on the lookout regarding them in Cleveland’s back-to-back versus the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday.