Kevin Love (hand) scores 18 in return from 21-game absence

All-Star forward Kevin Love scored 18 points in his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers' lineup Monday night after missing 21 games with a broken left hand.

Love went 5-for-13 from the field and 4-for-4 from the free throw line in his first game since Jan. 30. He added seven rebounds, four assists and two blocks as the Cavs beat the Bucks 124-117.

"I felt pretty good,'' he said. "Initially, that first wind is always tough, but even after that I felt like my legs were underneath me and that I could've played a little bit more.''

Love had scans on his hand Monday morning and then went through a full practice before acting head coach Larry Drew officially announced his return.

"I thought he gave us a tremendous lift, I really did," Drew said. "Not only the fact that he made some shots, but that he was pretty active defensively. We try to put a lot of emphasis on our defense but everybody knows when he's out on the floor he's capable of scoring baskets whether he's inside or out. It was just really good to have him back."

Drew said pregame that Love would be on a minutes restriction. He played 25 minutes against Milwaukee.

Love expressed excitement on Twitter after the game about being back:

Love's return to the court was welcome news in the Cavs' locker room.

"First of all just having another body is great for our team," LeBron James said. "Then just his basketball IQ, his familiarity with our system, he fits right back in. And his ability to stretch the floor allows opposing bigs not to just sit and clog up the paint. It's great to have him back."

Cavaliers guard Kyle Korver, who had been listed as questionable with a foot injury, also returned to the starting lineup Monday.

Love suffered the hand injury in a Jan. 30 loss at Detroit. The initial timetable for Love, who underwent minor knee surgery on Feb. 14 and was forced to miss the All-Star Game five days later, was for him to be out two months.

Love, who underwent surgery on the same hand in October 2009, was averaging 17.9 points, 9.4 rebounds and shooting 40 percent on 3-pointers before the injury.

ESPN's Dave McMenamin and Nick Friedell contributed to this report.