Tyronn Lue says Kevin Love will play if cleared by doctors

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- LeBron James deferred to Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue when asked his opinion of whether forward Kevin Love should start Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Friday night, provided Love clears the league's concussion protocol.

"I have an opinion on who's our general, and that's Coach Lue," James said after shootaround Friday morning. "He's going to make the right decision that he feels is best for the team. So, I'm a whatever. I think what's more important is his health, and we hope he's able to play tonight."

Lue said about two hours before tipoff that Love would play if cleared by doctors, who had yet to make a decision publicly as of 7:30 p.m. ET.

The three-time All-Star was able to fully participate in shootaround Friday, five days after suffering a concussion when he was struck in the back of the head by Warriors swingman Harrison Barnes in Game 2. Love was expected to be re-evaluated pregame after he arrived at Quicken Loans Arena.

Richard Jefferson started in place of Love in Cleveland's Game 3 victory, and the Cavs moved James to power forward. Jefferson did not reveal if he would be the starter again in Game 4, regardless of Love's status.

Golden State leads the series 2-1.

"I haven't been told," Jefferson said. "We haven't discussed anything. Cliché answer after cliché answer when it comes to that."

Love has started all 152 regular-season games and 20 postseason games he's played in since joining the Cavs in the summer of 2014.

Without Love in the lineup, Cleveland got out to a strong start in Game 3, going up 9-0 to begin the game and eventually leading by as many as 20 points in the first quarter. James warned that the Cavs can't settle if they build a big cushion in Game 4 at home.

"The Warriors are really the toughest team to go against when you're up," James said. "When you're up big on them, you're really not up big. It's almost like going against like the Green Bay Packers. If you're up a couple touchdowns versus Aaron Rodgers, you just know that, like, you can't relax. Because one 60-yard bomb here and 70-yard connection here, and now they're right back in the game. And that's what Golden State do. They're never too far away from the lead or never too far away from when they're down to get back into the game. So, you just keep playing. That's why it's a 48-minute game."