Kevin Love: Human Nature to Think About If Kyrie Irving Was Still on Cavaliers

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJune 10, 2018

CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 09: Kevin Love #0, LeBron James #23 and Kyrie Irving #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers react after a play in the first quarter against the Golden State Warriors in Game 4 of the 2017 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on June 9, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

After the Golden State Warriors swept his team in the NBA Finals, Cleveland Cavaliers star Kevin Love pondered how things might have played out if Kyrie Irving was still on the roster. 

Per Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe, Love mentioned Irving while describing everything the Cavs went through during the 2017-18 season:

"I think it's only natural to think about [if Irving was still here]. Especially looking at [JR Smith] and Tristan [Thompson] and LeBron and myself, and the guys that have come and gone from our 2016 team and what we were able to do to overcome a 3-1 deficit [in the Finals], and how we were able to win those games. I think, yeah, that's human nature to think about that kind of thing. But there's been a lot of overhaul on this roster. We've mentioned all year. It's felt like a number of seasons in one. But we've been resilient."

Love's comments came three days after one unnamed Cavaliers veteran told The Athletic's Jason Lloyd there was "no doubt" the Cavs would have won the first three games of the NBA Finals against the Warriors if they still had Irving. 

The Warriors then clinched the series with a 108-85 win in Game 4 at Quicken Loans Arena on Friday. 

Cleveland had opportunities to win at least two of the first three games. The combination of George Hill's missed free throw and JR Smith's mental lapse after he grabbed an offensive rebound at the end of regulation in Game 1 gave Golden State an opening it took advantage of in overtime. 

After the series shifted to Cleveland for Game 3, the Cavs blew a 13-point first-half lead in a 110-102 loss. 

Irving was unable to take part in the postseason with the Boston Celtics after undergoing knee surgery in April. The Cavs advanced to the NBA Finals by beating Boston in seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals.