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Kevin Love.

Report: Cleveland's Kevin Love to return for game four but start on the bench

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The NBA Finals resumes in Cleveland tonight as the Cavaliers host the Golden State Warriors in what could be a pivotal game four. 

The biggest question heading into this encounter surrounds Cavs power forward Kevin Love, who missed game three with a concussion. 

The stretch four was inadvertently hit in the head by Harrison Barnes as he went up for a rebound. 

Love was on the floor for a considerable amount of time after the play but did return to the court later in the proceedings. 

He clearly wasn't in the right frame of mind, though, and head coach Tyronn Lue took the necessary decision to remove him from the game. 

The former Minnesota Timberwolves was immediately placed under the NBA's concussion protocol and was ruled out of the Cavs' 120-90 demolition of Golden State on Wednesday night. 

The big man returned to practice on Thursday to give the Cleveland a huge boost ahead of Friday night's game at the Quicken Loans Arena and is in line for a return. 

2016 NBA Finals - Practice and Media Availability

According to the Akron Beacon Journal, however, he will be coming off the bench instead of assuming his normal starting spot. 

That could be for several reasons. K.Love still has another medical examination he must pass on Friday before he is cleared to return to action, so may not be back to 100%, in which case he must be handled with care. 

Some cynics may not see it that way, though. After being soundly beaten in the first two games with Love on the court, the Wine and Gold routed the defending champions in the absence of their All-Star forward.

Many cited the 27-year-old's absence as one of the main reasons for this turnaround. He clearly isn't the most gifted defender in the world and is a huge matchup problem for Draymond Green. 

With veteran Richard Jefferson inserted into the starting line-up at small forward and LeBron moved to the four, the Cavs had a lot more joy as the King was more than a match for Green on both ends of the floor, forcing Steve Kerr to go small very early in the contest. 

Speaking on Thursday, Lue refused to discuss Love's potential role in the upcoming game but did speak generally about how he handles line-up changes and how his players respond to it. 

“They might not like it at the time, but I’ve always learned in this business if you tell the truth, guys understand and they know what the truth is,” Lue said. “They might be mad for a second, but they can always get back to understanding and realise that’s the right thing. And if you tell the truth, guys can respect that.”

Topics:
NBA
Kyrie Irving
Cleveland Cavaliers
Central Division
Eastern Conference
LeBron James
Kevin Love

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