Late in the Cavaliers’ loss to the Raptors on Monday, a referee tossed the ball to Love to inbound. Love batted the ball into play and meandered toward the sideline as the Raptors picked it up and scored.
“That wasn’t me,” Love said Wednesday. “Truly, wasn’t me.”
This is the second time in the last two seasons Love has apologized for childish outbursts during games. Those prior incidents were directed at coaches and maybe teammates. Love – in the midst of a massive contract extension that made him Cleveland’s franchise player – also yelled at Cavs general manager Koby Altman in front of the team last season.
“This isn’t something that happened last year, where, yes, that was something that was not coming from a good place,” Love said. “But this wasn’t that.
“It was nothing about them [his teammates]. It was nothing about the coaching staff. Part of it was the officiating. Part of it was how I’d been playing, the back-to-back, us having four or five games out. But those just sound like excuses. I take this one on the chin.
“This one hurt me, because it wasn’t coming from a bad place.”
Love said his relationship with the front office has never been better. He emphasized his loyalty to this coaching staff and his teammates.
He also took responsibility for Monday.
“The reality is I f***ed up,” Love said. “Everybody knows that.
“I apologize for that moment. It was an ugly one.”
It’s a little wild we’re discussing an inbound pass in such grave tones. An inbound pass by a losing team in the regular season, no less. This isn’t capital-I Important.
But as a unique play, it’s memorable.
“My intent wasn’t to disrespect the game,” Love said. “My intent wasn’t even for the d*** ball to go inbounds. It was a moment that I got caught up in. I didn’t even understand what really happened as the possession even played out. I think I was a little bit dumfounded. I even heard coming from all of our coaches saying, ‘The ball wasn’t in.’ My idea was I was going to go grab the ball and pass it right back in.”
In addressing the play, Love said he’d take no questions then spoke for more than 13 minutes. At the conclusion, Love – outspoken about his mental-health issues – said, “Thanks, guys. That was a great therapy session”: