October 31, 2015 / 3:35 AM / 2 years ago

Lots of Love for Cavaliers in win over Heat

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love (0) pumps his fist after an assist during the third quarter against the Miami Heat at Quicken Loans Arena. Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

(The Sports Xchange) - It did not take long for the Cleveland Cavaliers to figure out how to lean on their star forward for victories.

Not that one, the other one.

LeBron James has insisted for days that Kevin Love will be the focal point of the offense this season. On Friday against the Miami Heat, he again showed why.

Love scored 24 points and grabbed 14 rebounds and James added 29 points in a 102-92 win over James’ former team in the Cavs’ home opener.

Love has had double-doubles in his last two games, and his consecutive three-pointers late in the third quarter gave the Cavs some space after the Heat closed to three points.

“He showed why he’s one of the best power forwards in our league,” James said. “We need to continue to ride his coattails.”

James and Love continued to flash terrific chemistry in the early part of the season after struggling to fit together at times last year. Love has been much more aggressive since returning from offseason shoulder surgery, getting into the lane and attacking the basket.

Love approached James during the summer in Los Angeles before signing his five-year extension and told James he wanted a bigger role on this team. Now he has got it.

“I knew I’d be looking at different spots on the floor,” he said. “I welcome that.”

Dwyane Wade scored 25 points and Chris Bosh had 16 points and five rebounds for the Heat. Hassan Whiteside scored nine points, grabbed nine rebounds and blocked six shots.

The Heat scored just one basket through the first five minutes of the fourth quarter, allowing the game to slip out of reach.

Miami missed nine of their first 10 shots in the quarter and turned the ball over twice. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra tried getting his starters back in quickly, but it did not help.

“Honestly, a lot of times we shot ourselves in the foot by not getting into our offense,” Bosh said. “We’ve got a long way to go. It’s just going to take time.”

The meeting between James and his former team did not carry quite the same buzz as it did last season, although James acknowledged games against the Heat will always be special to him. Cavs coach David Blatt was hopeful games between these teams will soon reach a level of normalcy.

“There was such a buzz (last season) ... I never felt like we were just playing the game,” Blatt said.

“And that’s what we need to do. Despite the fact that there’s history, obviously, a year has gone by. We need to get out there and play basketball and leave the rest of that for you guys to have fun with.”

Compiled by Peter Rutherford

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