What you missed this week in the NBA: The wild, wild East

OAKLAND, CA - FEBRUARY 24: Russell Westbrook
OAKLAND, CA - FEBRUARY 24: Russell Westbrook /
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3. Love is looming

It’s no secret the Cavaliers are missing a piece of the puzzle with their new squad. However, it has yet to be seen if that missing piece is Kevin Love. Love has been sidelined with an injury since Jan. 29 when he broke his left hand prior to the All-Star Game. Love missed out on the All-Star Game— which he was set to be a part of — and had been rumored to be out for six to eight weeks in order to fully recover. Alas, Love’s rehab is moving along a bit ahead of schedule and he is eyeing a return to the court as early as next week. His rumored target return date is March 23 when the Cavaliers host the Suns.

Despite reported problems within the locker room surrounding Love prior to his injury, it seems as if the Cavaliers have struggled without him. Even now, the new-look Cavs are 8-6 since the trade deadline. As the playoff race in the Eastern Conference heats up and the season winds down, the Cavs cannot afford to fall any further as the margin for error is slim-to-none. Cleveland currently sits in the fourth seed, just half-a-game back of the Pacers in the No. 3 seed.

All signs point towards Love’s return helping the Cavs tremendously. After all, adding an All-Star to a roster full of young talent and LeBron James never hurts. Love is averaging 17.9 points and 9.4 rebounds per game thus far this season. In addition, his defensive playing style will likely stiffen up the Cavs’ defense which has struggled to find its footing lately. The Cavaliers and Love will use the last few games of the season to familiarize themselves with one another. After all, the newly formed core is still adjusting to each other anyways.