In this Friday, May 25, 2018 photo, Cleveland Cavaliers' George Hill, right, talks with Kevin Love after Love hit his head in the first half of Game 6 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals against the Boston Celtics in Cleveland. Love injured his head in Game 6 and his status for Game 7 remains unclear. Love banged heads with Boston rookie Jayson Tatum in the first quarter and sat out the second half of Cleveland’s 109-99 win as a precaution. (AP Photo/Phil Long)

Cavs' Kevin Love to miss Game 7 vs. Celtics with concussion

May 26, 2018 - 3:12 pm

CLEVELAND (AP) — Kevin Love won't be able to help LeBron James and the Cavaliers in Game 7 against the Celtics.

Love was placed in the NBA's concussion protocol and the All-Star forward will miss Sunday's series finale of the Eastern Conference finals, a personal blow and yet another challenge for Cleveland to overcome.

The Cavaliers said Love experienced concussion-like symptoms Saturday before the team's flight to Boston. Moments before the Cavs sent a news release updating Love's status, coach Tyronn Lue said the 29-year-old, who inadvertently bashed heads with Celtics rookie Jayson Tatum on Friday, was still being evaluated and there was a possibility he could play.

However, like everything else in this erratic, convoluted season for Cleveland, things changed quickly.

Now, the Cavs will be without their second-leading scorer as they try to win their fourth straight conference title. Love is averaging 13.9 points and 10.0 rebounds in 17 playoff games, and he's the No. 2 scoring option on a team that has leaned on James harder than ever this postseason.

James scored 46 points in Friday's victory, his latest jaw-dropping performance in what has been perhaps the superstar's best postseason of his storied career. James is averaging 33.9 points, 8.9 rebounds and 8.8 assists and has had seven 40-point games and two-buzzer beaters.

As James tries to get to his eighth straight NBA Finals, Love will be on Cleveland's bench and Kyrie Irving will be sitting on Boston's.

The Cavs traded Irving to the Celtics last summer, but the All-Star didn't play in this postseason after undergoing knee surgery.

At one time, James, Irving and Love were Cleveland's Big 3, a power trio that won a title and went to three straight Finals before fracturing.

After Love went down Friday, James got help from George Hill (20 points), Jeff Green (14 points) and Larry Nance Jr. (10 points) as the Cavs fought off elimination for the second time in these playoffs.

Love has suffered at least two other known concussions in his career — one that kept him out of Game 3 in the 2016 NBA Finals. He also missed a game at Charlotte on March 28 with a head injury.

Love missed the majority of Cleveland's 2015 run to the Finals after separating his shoulder in the first round against Boston.

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