Kevin Love’s production with the Cleveland Cavaliers has not mirrored his All-Star form with the Minnesota Timberwolves. But one play from last year’s NBA Finals has cemented him in Cavaliers lore.
With less than a minute remaining in Game 7, with the Golden State Warriors trailing 92-89, reigning two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry made his way up the floor. The sharpshooting point guard has become the most feared three-point shooter in the NBA, possessing a quick release and killer precision – among the best in history.
But Love drew the assignment of guarding Curry, a matchup that on paper favors the Warriors guard.
"That’s Steph’s thing," Love said to Sports Illustrated's Lee Jenkins. "Get switched onto a big guy and break him down. It was like in Old School when Will Ferrell is on the debate team.'What happened? I blacked out!'"
Despite ankle injuries that limited him during the postseason, Curry’s quickness was on display as he tried to maneuver past Love with a series of crossovers.
"He can get separation with any of those moves," Love says. "More than that, it’s the release. He has such a quick release."
But Love – despite his defencive limitations – managed to stay on the prolific shooter, not allowing any spacing for Curry to take an uncontested three-pointer. With the clock winding down, Curry threw up the best shot available, missing by a wide margin.
Just 30 seconds later, the Cavaliers defeated the Warriors 93-89, completing a stunning comeback after trailing in the series 3-1. If not for Love’s stifling defense at the end, the defending champions may have been on the verge of a repeat.