CLEVELAND-- Kevin Love was disappointed he was unable to play in Game 3 of the NBA Finals Wednesday night.
The center was placed in the league's concussion protocol after being elbowed in the back of the head by Warriors forward Harrison Barnes in Game 2 Sunday night. While he worked out with the team on Thursday, Love will have to wait another 24 hours for an evaluation by the NBA.
LeBron James said Love looked like he felt he was letting the team down when he learned he couldn't play. But the Cavs rallied around Love, who missed all of last year's NBA Finals with a shoulder injury.
“Before we left the locker room, I know Ky (Irving) embraced him. I did as well," James said. The power forward said they assured Love they would pick up the slack. "This is what a team is all about.”
“I know he definitely wanted to play," Irving said. "Being in the Finals is what we both dreamt of... We dedicated that game to him.” Cleveland beat Golden State, 120-90.
Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue and Irving refused to answer questions on whether the team is better without Love.
"If it were up to me, I would like Kevin to have played in Game 3," Irving told reporters on Thursday.
They had positive things to say about Richard Jefferson, who replaced Love in the starting lineup. The last time RJ played in the NBA Finals was in 2003 with the New Jersey Nets.
“He knew his spots and he knew where he was supposed to be,” Irving said. “RJ gave us a great look.”
James noted Jefferson's contributions to the team wouldn't be reflected in the stats. He had 9 points, 8 rebounds and 2 assists. LeBron called him a "true professional."