2016 NBA Playoffs: Kevin Love Leads Cleveland Cavaliers to Hard-Earned Win Over Detroit Pistons

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Kevin Love helped the Cleveland Cavaliers escape with a hard-earned win in their 2016 NBA Playoffs opener on Sunday night. [Photo: Flickr / Erik Drost / CC]
Kevin Love helped the Cleveland Cavaliers escape with a hard-earned win in their 2016 NBA Playoffs opener on Sunday night. [Photo: Flickr / Erik Drost / CC]
Kevin Love had a huge game on Sunday night, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 106-101 win over the Detroit Pistons in Game 1 of their 2016 NBA Playoffs first-round series.

Love, who is making his second stint in the postseason, scored 28 points on 10-for-22 shooting and grabbed 13 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who badly needed the All-Star forward’s big game to escape with the win over the gritty Pistons squad in the series opener.

Love admitted after the match that he wanted to go all out to prove his doubters wrong after his first trip to the playoffs last year was cut short with a season-ending shoulder injury. The Cavaliers managed to reach the 2016 NBA Finals but also lost Kyrie Irving in Game 1 of their series with the Golden State Warriors.

“I think more than anything I looked at it as an opportunity,” Love said in the postgame press conference via ESPN. “Between Kyrie and myself, we’ve had many conversations about our playoff run being cut short. The way I look at it is an opportunity. I want to come out here, be really aggressive.”

With the Pistons leading seven points early in the final period, Love played at center instead of his usual position at 4. Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue’s gamble paid off as Love knocked down big shots, including two three-pointers en route to the hard-eared win at home.

Irving also had a big night for the Cavaliers, as he finished with a game-high 31 points on top of six assists and five rebounds. LeBron James scored just 22 points in 41 minutes, but the four-time NBA Most Valuable Player racked up 11 assists, six rebounds, two blocks and two steals for the top-seeded Cavaliers.

The Cavaliers will look to make it 2-0 when they host the Pistons again in Game 2 on Wednesday night.

Watch the highlights of Game 1 of the Cavaliers-Pistons 2016 NBA Playoffs series below.

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