Independence, Ohio — Kevin Love spent all those long, losing seasons in Minnesota aching for a chance to be part of the NBA playoffs.
His first foray into them lasted less than four games.
Love sustained "extensive" damage in his left shoulder and will likely miss the remainder of Cleveland's playoff run, reducing "Big 3" of the Cavaliers to a twosome.
"We all have to pick our own game up," LeBron James said. "We can't fill Kevin's shoes, you can't do that, he's special for a reason."
Cavaliers general manager David Griffin said Tuesday the team doesn't expect Love to return. Cleveland is waiting to see if it will play Chicago or Milwaukee in the next round.
"Surgery is an option as well, if necessary. We're going to continue to look at that, but I don't want there to be any expectation on Kevin that he'll be back," he said. "I think it would be a real surprise if he we were able to participate in the postseason. I've still got a sliver of hope very late, but highly unlikely."
For Love, it's personally crushing.
Considered one of the league's best "stretch" forwards, Love had finally joined a winner in Cleveland after six years with Minnesota, which never won more than 40 games with him.
This was Love's shot to show critics he could do more than just post impressive statistics for a lousy team, that he could help a team win it all.
The journey ended almost as fast as it started.
Love got hurt in last Sunday's series-sweeping victory over Boston when he got tangled with Celtics center Kelly Olynyk while chasing a loose ball. Olynyk yanked down on Love's arm, popping it from the socket and sending Cleveland's big man running to the locker room for treatment.
Olynyk was suspended one game by the NBA. Griffin wouldn't go as far as calling Olynyk's play dirty.
Tuesday's playoff games
(At) Houston 103, Dallas 94: James Harden scored 28 points, Terrence Jones had 10 of his 15 in the fourth quarter, and the Houston Rockets beat the Dallas Mavericks for their first playoff series victory since 2009.
Houston won the Western Conference series 4-1 to advance to face the winner of the Clippers-Spurs series in the second round.
The Rockets bounced back from a lackluster performance in a 121-109 loss in Game 4 to head to the West semifinals for the first time since Yao Ming starred for Houston.
Dwight Howard had 18 points and 19 rebounds to help the Rockets dominate inside and Josh Smith scored 20 points. The Mavericks couldn't get going from long-range, going just 5 of 26 on 3-pointers.
San Antonio 111, (at) L.A. Clippers 107: Tim Duncan scored 12 of his 21 points in the second half, and DeAndre Jordan was called for basket interference with 4.3 seconds left as the San Antonio Spurs moved to the brink of the second round victory over the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 5.
Kawhi Leonard scored 18 points for the defending NBA champion Spurs, who took a 3-2 series lead with their second straight victory at Staples Center.
San Antonio's lead dwindled to one point in the final minute after the Clippers made a desperate 7-1 run, but Blake Griffin missed a leaping leaner with five seconds left. Jordan tipped it in, but touched the ball inside the cylinder, a ruling upheld on video review.
Game 6 is Thursday in San Antonio.