It’s no guarantee that the veteran will suit up for the game because he’s dealing with a rib injury, but he is listed as probable for the matchup. If he’s unable to go, he’ll have another chance to battle the Cavs on Friday.
Regardless, one thing is clear: Whenever Love’s first action comes against Cleveland, Darius Garland is going to be ready. He has an amusing plan in mind to make life tough on his former teammate.
“Make him guard,” Garland told Cleveland.com with a chuckle. “Come get on this island. I’m going right at him.”
If Garland is indeed able to get Love on an island, the veteran may have a difficult time staying in front of the shifty guard. Garland likely knows that, and he’s obviously looking to take advantage.
However, since Love and Garland are so familiar with each other’s games, they may have a hard time fooling each other on either end of the floor. With nearly 15 seasons of NBA experience under his belt, Love is a high-IQ player, and he’s surely using information from his Cavs stint to prepare for the upcoming games between Cleveland and Miami.
Since joining the Heat, Love has averaged 7.5 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. His efficiency struggles that began in Cleveland this season have carried over to Miami, as he’s shooting just 36.6 percent from the field and 25.8 percent from deep with the Heat.
On the other end of the efficiency spectrum, Garland is enjoying the most efficient season of his career. He’s shooting 47.1 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from deep while averaging 21.9 points, 2.7 rebounds and 7.9 assists per contest.
The Cavs are viewed by some as contenders in the Eastern Conference. There’s less belief in the Heat, who have struggled to build and sustain momentum this season. They’re a play-in team as things stand now.
If the Heat were to go on a run over the remainder of the regular season, a first-round playoff matchup between Cleveland and Miami would be a possibility. For that reason, the next couple of games will be interesting ones to evaluate.