Amid a significant amount of hype — or, at least as much hype as a 34-year-old former All-Star in the midst of a down year can generate — Kevin Love finally had his debut with the Miami Heat on Friday. However, the big man was left with little to write home about once the final buzzer had sounded.
Love was a surprise starter in his first action with the Heat, and while he cleaned the glass to the tune of eight boards and logged four assists from the frontcourt, the floor spacing he was expected to provide was nowhere to be found. Instead, the veteran went scoreless on four misfires from three-point range and Miami lost to the Milwaukee Bucks by a whopping 29 points.
Along the way, Jrue Holiday and Co. scored at a rate of 128.9 points per 100 possessions when Love was on the court, giving the newest Heat player the worst defensive rating teamwide (and by a substantial margin).
In the wake of the blowout loss, NBA Twitter has been alight with fans who were flabbergasted by what they saw from the 2016 champion.
Kevin Love’s First Heat Game Doesn’t Meet With Fan Expectations
We may be just one game into the Love era of Heat hoops, but people are already getting all hot and bothered — and not in a good way — over the inauspicious beginning. Here is just a smattering of the reaction on Twitter following Miami’s loss:
“Pat Riley should be ashamed for what he’s doing to [Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo]. Starting Kevin Love in 2023 is wild,” read one tweet.
“The ones who hyped up Kevin Love wasted ass, I give up defending this team until further notice,” declared a particularly miffed fan.
“That tweet about us trading [Dewayne Dedmon] and a 2nd for Cody Zeller and Kevin Love is pissing me off now,” added a third Heat diehard.
Not every fan was looking to bash Love after his rocky debut, though. Wrote another member of the South Beach faithful: “Y’all gotta chill on Kevin Love. Literally his first game and we… sucked anyways. Be happy he even wanna help.”
Meanwhile, Cleveland Cavaliers fans and NBA people at large were all too happy to cast stones after Miami’s big loss.
“So thoughtful of Kevin Love to honor his old jersey number tonight dropping 0 points,” tweeted one Cavs supporter. “Miss him already.”
“Kevin Love started for the Heat tonight in his debut. Went 0-4 in 21 minutes. That’s the K-Love I’m used to,” added another Cleveland sports aficionado.
Former Heat Players Jae Crowder & Meyers Leonard Return
It had been eight months since Jae Crowder last played in an NBA game and more than two years since Meyers Leonard had done the same before the former Heat teammates appeared on the hardwood for the Bucks on Friday. But the ballers acquitted themselves relatively well in their respective returns against their old team.
Crowder, who was dealt to Milwaukee by the Phoenix Suns ahead of the trade deadline, scored nine points on 3-of-5 shooting and 2-for-2 from deep in 16 minutes of action. He also added three boards and a steal for the Bucks, who were plus-nine when he was in the game.
Leonard, meanwhile, tipped off his 10-day audition by contributing five points, six rebounds and a steal in 15 minutes on the floor.