‘Touchdown’ almost a Hail Mary for Cavaliers

Kevin Love's strong right arm almost helped to bail out the Cavaliers on Friday night at Philadelphia.

NFL teams are always in search of a tall, athletic quarterback.

Perhaps they should be sending their scouts to Quicken Loans Arena as that’s where a 6-foot-10, 251-pounder with a rocket for an arm plies his trade, though on the hardwood.

The Cleveland Cavaliers once again turned to a play they call “touchdown” Friday night at Philadelphia and it almost saved the day.

Down three points 3.3 seconds to play in what turned out to be a wild 132-130 loss and out of timeouts, Kevin Love threw a fullcourt inbounds pass to LeBron James, who at 6-8, 260 pounds cuts quite a figure as the receiver.

James caught the long bomb turned and went up for a potential game-tying 3-pointer. However, he was fouled on the play by Philadelphia’s Robert Covington.

The fact James missed the second of his three shots from the line, then missed the third intentionally with the hope of Cleveland getting the rebound, does not take away from the fact “touchdown” was a score, again.

The Cavaliers ran the exact same play during a game in Washington last season and James nailed a 3-pointer to send the game into overtime.

“The guys who’ve been here they pretty much know it,” Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said. “Kevin’s a great passer in that situation and Bron being able to shield his man off and go up and get it.”

“It’s something we work on,” James said of Love’s hefty heave of a pass. “Obviously, Kev is one of the best quarterbacks we have in the NBA. So, it’s just my job to kind of get open and keep my guy behind me. I was still trying to get my hands on the ball to kind of get it up there to try to get a 4-point play, but it didn’t happen. I wasn’t able to get it up there.”

Cleveland (49-31) had one final chance as James missed his third free throw intentionally with 1.9 seconds to play.

Larry Nance Jr., who had subbed in for Kyle Korver almost tipped in the intentional miss, but the ball just fell off the rim.

“Just tried to shake loose and tip it in. It was kind of obvious he was going to miss,” Nance said.

The son of Cavaliers legend Larry Nance said he wasn’t even able to see the basketball on his desperation tip.

“No, honestly it just kind of happened fast,” he said. “I saw (Dario) Saric loading up to block me out, used a spin move and it was just reaction at that point. I just did the best I could with the split second I had and unfortunately, it didn’t work.”