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LeBron again calls out Love before Cavs’ win

Alan Draper profile picture
Sports Editor
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CLEVELAND — LeBron James wants Kevin Love to fit in better. Love was never aware he was on the outside.

Love scored a season-high 32 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, and guard Kyrie Irving had 28 points and 10 assists in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 120-105 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.

It was the Lakers’ 10th consecutive road defeat, tying a franchise record set in 1957-58 and matched in 1963-64.

Love’s up-and-down week continued when the forward scored 17 points in the second quarter, including four 3-pointers in a span of 2:07, and reached 30 points for just the second time this season. The only other time it happened was when James was resting injuries.

James had 22 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, falling just shy of his first triple-double of the season largely because he didn’t play the fourth quarter of another blowout. The Cavs (32-21) won for the 13th time in their past 14 and swept the series from the Lakers for the first time in five years.

However, it was a tweet James sent Saturday night that raised eyebrows.

James wrote on his Twitter account, “Stop trying to find a way to FIT-OUT and just FIT-IN. Be apart of something special! Just my thoughts.”

That looked eerily similar to Love’s comments from October when he was discussing his early days with his new team and the team flight to Brazil for a preseason game against the Miami Heat.

“I’m comfortable and just not trying to, I guess, fit in so much,” Love said then. “I had a talk with the guys on the plane ride over (to Brazil) and also at different practices off the floor, and they told me to fit out. Just be myself.”

James initially dismissed the connection between his tweet and Love’s comments.

“It was more about people in general,” James told a large group of reporters. “It was a general thought I had. Obviously, whatever thought I have people try to encrypt it and Da Vinci Code it and all that stuff. People are always trying to fit out instead of fit in and be part of something special. That’s what it’s all about.”

Yet after the formal interview session, James was shown Love’s quote from October and smiled. When pressed on the coincidence a few moments later to a smaller handful of reporters, James laughed and said, “It’s not a coincidence, man.”

Love’s week has been as erratic as his season. The superstar forward scored a season-low five points Feb. 2 in a win against the Philadelphia 76ers when he didn’t take a shot after the first quarter. He followed it up with 24 points in a win Thursday against the Los Angeles Clippers, then matched his season low again with five points Friday in a road loss to the Indiana Pacers, a game in which he didn’t make a shot after the first quarter.

Love recalled his “fit out/fit in” remark from October but was unaware of James’ tweet until a reporter showed it to him after Sunday’s game.

“I feel like I’ve done all the right things. I haven’t got upset or been down,” Love told the Akron Beacon Journal. “There’s moments when I hope I would’ve played better, but it’s a long, long season. I don’t know really what he’s talking about. I feel like I’ve sacrificed, and I think everyone knows that. I’m not trying to downplay what he said, but I think I’ve done a pretty good job of trying to help this team.”

Love’s big second quarter Sunday helped Cleveland take command of the game. The Cavs made 18 3-pointers in the game, one shy of the franchise record set earlier this year, and they led by as many as 26 in the third quarter.

“They went on an unbelievable run,” said Lakers guard Nick Young, who scored eight points off the bench. “It felt like they were taking turns shooting threes. K-Love started it off, then LeBron and then Kyrie. They were passing the torch.”

Rookie guard Jordan Clarkson scored a career-high 20 points for the Lakers, and forward Ed Davis added 16 points and nine rebounds off the bench. The Lakers (13-38) haven’t won a road game since beating Denver on Dec. 30.

“I’m happy it’s over,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said. “I thought our guys were soft, I really did. We allowed them to do whatever they wanted.”

NOTES: Lakers coach Byron Scott returned to Cleveland for the first time since the Cavs fired him after the 2012-13 season. “When it happened, I was a little disappointed, but I think we all as coaches when you get fired are a little disappointed,” Scott said. … The Lakers’ starting lineup averages just 1.6 years of NBA experience. … Cavs C Brendan Haywood was recruited by Dean Smith to North Carolina, but he never played for Smith because Smith retired prior to Haywood’s freshman season. But he still grew close to the legendary North Carolina coach who died Sunday. “He was more than just basketball coach to anybody who knew him,” Haywood said. … Cleveland G J.R. Smith entered the league under Scott in New Orleans. They clashed during Smith’s second season when Smith didn’t want to put in the work and complained about his coach publicly. “I respect 100 percent what he was trying to do and I wish I gave into what he wanted,” Smith said. “I think I’d have been a better pro all along.”

Alan is an expert gambling writer who works as one of the chief editors for Basketball Insiders. He has been covering online gambling and sports betting for over 8 years, having written for the likes of Sportlens,, The Sports Daily, 90min, and His particular specialisms include US online casinos and gambling regulations, and soccer and basketball betting. Based in London, Alan holds an MA in English Literature and is a passionate supporter of Chelsea FC.

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