Love was an obvious subject after the win. He scored 23 points, nailed 6-of-10 from 3-point range, including two huge shots down the stretch, and added nine rebounds. He has been under the microscope all season as his statistics have suffered as the third option in Cleveland after a brilliant run in Minnesota.
"He's been highly criticized this year, and for what, I don't know why," James said via Masslive.com before a short pause. "I know why," he added. "I know why. I know."
When asked why, James was quick to reply. "For a team that finally gets together and they have a big three, they have to find someone," James said, referring to the media criticism of Love. "When I was in Miami, Chris Bosh was that guy at one point ... Kevin was the guy they tried to find and tear him down. One thing about him, he's always stayed positive. I've always believed in him."
It was James's first double-double during the series and his highest scoring total in his team's three wins over the Celtics. He also kicked in four assists, four steals and two blocks in 42 minutes. The Cavaliers take a 3-0 lead into Game 4 Sunday in Boston.
In his first-career playoff game on Sunday, guard
"Just limit all my mistakes is the biggest thing, just continue to have that attitude," said. "I'm going to do whatever it takes to win ... As well as you think you play, there are so many things you can improve on."
"I knew how special the kid was and I know how special he is now still. He's going to be very key to our success," James said.
James also dished out seven assists and brought down six rebounds in 42 minutes of playing time. James also went 1 for 3 from the free-throw line.
He also posted two steals, one block and committed five turnovers.
Smith also came across as thoughtful in expressing his feelings about a shocking midseason that sent him from New York to Cleveland. But it was his defense of his character that stood out in the long piece.
"There have been unfair rumors that lead people to have misconceptions about me: that I don't care; that I don't take my job seriously; that I'm not committed to my craft," Smith wrote. "It's unfortunate, but people have been saying this about me during my entire career. It obviously bothers me and naturally would bother anyone to feel that people don't take you serious as a person. ... (after getting to know me) someone tells me I am a completely different person than who they perceived me to be."
Smith went on to write that Anthony is a pure scorer who has never had the luxury to play alongside the quality players afforded James or Kobe Bryant, but that he yearns to win as much as the other two. Smith concluded his piece by defending Love, whose numbers have fallen off considerably this year after a trade brought him from Minnesota.
"Forget what anyone says, Kevin Love is the ultimate teammate," Smith wrote. "He isn't the most athletic player out there - actually, Kevin is like that guy you see in a 40-and-up league just killing it because he knows the game better than anyone else out there. Mentally, Love is just in another stratosphere when it comes to understanding basketball. Plus, not only is he an underrated shooter who can knock down shots better than half the guards in the league, he is also the best rebounder I have played with, hands down."
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