Former Cavs big Kevin Love has had quite the playoff track record

Kevin Love, Miami Heat. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Kevin Love, Miami Heat. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /

It was a tough pill to swallow when the Cleveland Cavaliers and Kevin Love agreed to terms on a buyout agreement after this now-past NBA Trade Deadline.

Love had fallen out of the rotation mostly in favor of Dean Wade, as Love had previously been sidelined for the prior 11 games until that point because of DNPs with “Coach’s Decision” designations, and he was seeking a legit role.

Eventually, Love would later sign via the buyout market with the Miami Heat, and he started his share of games with them to close the regular season. Love and Miami would later make the NBA Playoffs via the Play-In Tournament, and while they were in for an uphill battle as the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference, they’ve made a heck of a run ever since.

Love’s squad beat the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in five games, the fourth-seed in the New York Knicks in six games, and they defeated the No. 2 seed in the Boston Celtics in seven games. Boston had a chance to become the first NBA team to come back from a 3-0 series deficit, but the Heat had a convincing Game 7 win in Boston, and are now headed to the NBA Finals. They’ll face Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets.

Something that jumped out from that Heat triumph that was unreal as a Cavs fan involved Love, also. Every time his teams have been in the playoffs, they’ve made the NBA Finals. The only player in NBA history with more “such postseason appearances” was Tom Heinsohn of the Celtics, as pointed out by NBA Twitter account Crazy Stats.

Kevin Love’s teams have had quite the playoff track record.

Love is not nearly the contributor he was with the Cavaliers in their four straight runs to the NBA Finals in LeBron James’ second stint with the Wine and Gold.

In this years’ postseason, Love’s role has decreased by each round. Versus the Bucks, he played 21.7 minutes per outing, then against the Knicks, was playing 19.7 minutes on average, and then in the Eastern Conference Finals, was involved in an average of only 12.3 minutes per game.

Across 16 playoff games this year, he’s had splits of 6.9 points and 5.8 rebounds in 18.0 minutes per contest, and has connected on 36.4 percent of his 4.3 three-point attempts per outing in those appearances.

So, it’s not as if he’s been a key cog for Miami’s offense, as he often was such a crucial piece for the Cavs in several of their NBA Finals runs in the LeBron return days. Love was one of the Cavaliers’ most lethal shooters in that time, where he was often a target for James, Kyrie Irving for much of that time, and company.

Love has still been a meaningful spacer for the Heat in his time, though, contributes in the rebounding department, and he’s seemingly made his imprint as a leadership presence. Seeing Love’s team now back in the NBA Finals again, as an eight-seed, even, is going to be bittersweet for Cavaliers fans, too, with how Love could’ve realistically still helped Cleveland in the playoffs.

Despite the disappointing Cavaliers playoff run, or lack thereof, Love being back in the NBA Finals will be nice to see. It’s unclear as far as his possible role in those games, however, the memories of the recent past and of course the 2016 3-1 NBA Finals comeback will assuredly be there with Love’s team again involved.

Either way, he’ll always be a special Cav to me and countless others, and Love should undoubtedly be an NBA Hall of Famer who eventually has his jersey with the Cavs, No. 0, retired by Cleveland. He had an awesome run with the Wine and Gold, no matter how things ended.

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I wish Love, Jimmy Butler and the Heat the best of luck in trying to cap off what would be quite the improbable championship feat, with the top seed in the Western Conference in the Nuggets and Jokic, Jamal Murray and company next up.