Cavs' Thomas says 'no bad blood' with Love

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at Jan 28 2018 08:09 AM

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Isaiah Thomas (3) walks off the court after being ejected in the third quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center. Brad Rempel, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Isaiah Thomas told reporters Saturday there is no rift between him and forward Kevin Love, despite speculation to the contrary.

Thomas was among the teammates at Monday's heated meeting who challenged Love's absences from last Saturday's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder and the next day's practice due to illness. However, Thomas said Saturday that he did not specifically target Love in the meeting.

"To be real, I didn't call him out," said Thomas, who has known Love since childhood, when they were AAU teammates. "I asked him why wasn't he at the game, supporting his teammates. And then after the game, I didn't ask him because he wasn't there. So I was seeing where he was. So I didn't call him out any. So those reports that whoever is saying that, there's no bad blood between me and him.

"We go back to fifth and sixth grade. I asked him a question where he was and it was never clarified. And that's all it was."

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love (0) shoots the ball while Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo (4) defends in the first half at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Trevor Ruszkowski, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Thomas was also asked about a play in Friday's game where the 6-foot-9 Love grabbed a rebound and bent down to the 5-foot-9 Thomas to hand him the ball, which some have suggested was done in a condescending manner.

"Did you see I was smiling right after? Did you see that part?" Thomas asked. "There's nothing between me and Kevin Love - at all. I approached him about his situation and it went out of house like it shouldn't have been, but it was not nothing bigger than what the world was trying to make it, like some type of beef between me and him. It's never been that and I've never been that guy to do that.

"So, to clear all that false whatever, whatever everybody is writing up, that's not cool at all."

Friday's win helped stem the Cavs' recent slide after the team had lost six of its previous eight games, which spurred a lineup change earlier this week. However, the team remains among the league's worst on defense, and Thomas has struggled in his return from a hip injury, shooting 39 percent from the field and 27.6 percent from deep.

Thomas said he's "not panicking" and shook off questions about his shot selection, while adding that he's received a disproportionately large amount of blame for the team's recent struggles.

"We've been a (bottom-five) defensive team in the NBA the whole (season)," he said. "So when I come back, it's my fault now. Which, life isn't fair, but that's not fair, bro. At all. I just laugh at those things because I know in this circle and this team, everybody believes in each other, and everybody's in here for it to work and for us to be playing in June. That's the ultimate goal."

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