A shoulder injury forced Kevin Love to miss the 2015 Finals, yet ineffectiveness in his first three games against the Spurs and Warriors this season made it questionable whether the team missed him at all.
Love scored 23 points total in those three games against the West's two best teams and never scored more than 10, yet on Saturday, he needed just 6:33 to surpass the 10-point plateau as his hot start set the tone for the Cavs' big win.
In total, Love scored 21 points on an efficient 8-of-13 shooting while hitting three 3-pointers. The Cavs improved to 13-2 this season when Love goes for 20.
The Cavs' Big Three of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Love appear to be finding a groove together, as they all scored 20 points for the second consecutive game. That did not happen a single time in the first 18 games they played together. Over the past two seasons, the Cavs are 9-1 when the trio scores 20 points each.
Love has now reached 20 points in three straight games for just the second time as a Cavalier when James and Irving played in all three games.
Although the Cavs are now 16-4 with the Big Three in the lineup, the teams they had beaten in 19 games entering Saturday own a combined win percentage just south of .400. Only four of them were winning teams.
Cleveland left no room for doubt Saturday, led by as many as 20 and never trailed in the final 46 minutes to show just how dangerous the Cavs can be when their Big Three are clicking.
Uncharacteristic week for San Antonio
The Spurs entered the week on a 13-game win streak. They led the NBA in scoring margin (+13.5) and defensive efficiency (94.0) and blew teams out along the way, with 12 wins by at least 25 points (most in franchise history).
After that, the Spurs faced their biggest challenge to date this week, with visits to Golden State and Cleveland, and they did not go well. Before this week, the Spurs had lost just once by double digits. They lost twice this week, including a 30-point thrashing in Oakland.
Before this week, the Spurs had given up at least 110 points only once (in a season-opening loss at fellow contender Oklahoma City). They allowed more than that twice this week, as the Warriors and Cavs both scored more than any previous San Antonio opponent.
The Spurs had only once allowed an opponent to shoot better than 50 percent. Alas, the Warriors and Cavs both did this as well.
There's no shame in losing at Golden State and Cleveland, especially without Tim Duncan. After all, those teams are a combined 41-3 at home this season.
However, it's been a very un-Spurs-like week for a San Antonio team that has spent the season dominating.