Kevin Love on if he plans to play next season for the Cavaliers: “Yes, sir”

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Since the start of the season Kevin Love has been insistent that he will be back with the Cavaliers next season.

All through the ups-and-downs of a season where he struggled to find his comfort level playing next to LeBron James and Kyrie Irving β€” and while rumors he wanted out flew around the league β€” he publicly never waivered from this stance.

That’s not changing now. Love addressed the media on Sunday, and here are some comments, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com.

First off, even if he was thinking of opting out and testing the waters, this is the only thing he would possibly say right now. Especially with the Cavaliers about to tip-off in the Finals.

Love has been out of the playoffs since Boston’s Kelly Olynyk’s tug dislocated his arm in a way that required surgery to fix. The rumors of Love leaving have grown as Tristan Thompson has looked more comfortable in the Cavaliers’ offense. Love has a player option for this summer.

That said I never have thought Love would leave this year. The idea that Love values his touches and points more than being on a winning team (which he would deny) is rooted in an idea of Love’s concern about his image. If he leaves this summer that image will take a beating.Β Even if he goes to be the face of the Lakers and get the torch from Kobe Bryant (and that always has been the most likely landing spot) the national spin will be “he cared more about his numbers than getting rings, he couldn’t handle the pressure of playing next to LeBron.”

In a year or two that spin may be different. Maybe he’s not a Cavalier long term. But for now, he’d have to really want out of a city and team he pretty much forced his way into. It would not look good.

By the way, Love is looking pretty svelte.

Paul George’s late three proves to be game-winner against Thunder, his former team (VIDEO)

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LOS ANGELES (AP) β€” Paul George hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 25 seconds left, lifting the Los Angeles Clippers over the Oklahoma City Thunder 90-88 on Monday night to improve to 8-1 at home.

The Thunder had just tied the game at 86-all on a 3-pointer by former Clipper Danilo Gallinari before Chris Paul made two free throws after being fouled by George for an 88-86 lead.

George’s 3 put the Clippers ahead 89-88.

The Clippers were then called for a foul that was overturned on a challenge by coach Doc Rivers. The Thunder retained possession and Terrance Ferguson inbounded to Gallinari, whose 3-pointer missed.

George made a free throw with 0.3 seconds left to close out the game against the team that traded him to Los Angeles last summer.

The Thunder fell to 0-5 on the road.

Montrezl Harrell had 28 points and 12 rebounds off the bench to lead the Clippers. George finished with 18 points after scoring 30-plus points in his first two games of the season.

Paul scored 22 points, making 10 of 11 free throws, against his former team. Gallinari added 14 points and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, another former Clipper, had 11 points despite five fouls.

The Clippers were without Kawhi Leonard for the third straight game because of a bruised left knee.

 

Luka Doncic with 42-point triple-double, sticks dagger in Spurs for Mavericks win

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Luka Doncic is having a “we’ve got to talk about this guy as a possible MVP” kind of season so far.

The latest addition to the resume: A 42 point, 11 rebounds, 12 assist triple-double to lead the Mavericks past the Spurs. That includes sticking the dagger in the Spurs late.

Dallas won 117-110 and improves to 8-5 on the season.

The 42 points is a career-high for Doncic, and he is the first player in Dallas history to record a 40-point triple-double. This is Doncic’s sixth triple-double of the season.

And he’s still just 20 years old.

Here’s the full list of NBA players who have had 40-point triple-doubles at the age of 20 or younger:

LeBron James
Luka Doncic

That’s it β€” and that’s some impressive company for Doncic.

Kings’ Buddy Hield fined $25,000 for kicking ball into stands in celebration

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This was a $25,000 celebration by Buddy Hield.

Sacramento led by one in the final seconds against Boston Sunday, but the Celtics had a final shot and Marcus Smart‘s attempt at a game-winning floater hung on the rim seemingly forever… then fell off. The ball was tipped out to mid-court and β€” as you can see in this video β€” Heild kicks the ball into the stands as part of the celebration.

Kicking or throwing the ball into the stands is a standing $25,000 fine, and the league came down with that on Hield on Monday. It was not a surprise.

Hield was the reason Sacramento won the game, scoring 35 points to lead the Kings, including going 7-of-12 from three. He’d likely make that trade for the win again.

Kawhi Leonard out vs. Thunder Monday night, third straight game due to knee bruise

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This isn’t load management. This is a bruised knee.

The first Clipper game with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George sharing the court will have to wait as Leonard is going to miss his third straight game with a knee contusion Monday night against the Thunder. Ramona Shelburne of ESPN broke the news.

The Clippers are going to be cautious with bringing Leonard back from this, thinking long term with his health, as they should. Los Angeles is playing for games in May and June, not games in November.

This means tonight the Clippers will be the Paul George show again β€” in two games he has scored 70 points in 44 minutes. This will be George’s first game against the Thunder since he demanded a trade out of the city last summer, landing him on the Clippers with Leonard.