Watch: Kevin Love seems to foul out on purpose, gives Chicago and-1

Cleveland Cavaliers v Phoenix Suns

It's no secret that the Cleveland Cavaliers are a mess right now.

The defending NBA champions have slipped to the second seed in the Eastern Conference with only eight games remaining and are showing no sign of righting the ship and challenging the Boston Celtics for the top seed.

In fact, the trends are pointing in much of the opposite direction, as the Cavs have lost 10 of their last 16 since starting the slide March 1 with a 103-99 loss at Boston.

The Cavaliers came to Chicago on Thursday night to play a Bulls team that has owned them as of late.

Chicago, despite missing the playoffs last year and sitting outside of the postseason this season with the clock ticking, had a 6-1 record over two seasons against Cleveland and had won the first three games of the season series this year.

The Bulls also had that kooky 19-game win streak of games played at home while being carried nationally on TNT.

It should've been one of those games that LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and Co. "get up for."

Instead it was Chicago that had the energy, and Nikola Mirotic that had the outside touch, as the Bulls earned a crucial 99-93 victory.

Nowhere was that energy more evident than in the play where Love fouled out of the game, earning his sixth call.

This foul came 17 seconds after he re-entered the game with five fouls and may have signaled the beginning of the end for the Cavs on this night.

What's worse is that Jimmy Butler shook off the contact and made the shot anyways. And then Love marched dutifully back to the bench.

Philadelphia 76ers v Chicago Bulls

While Butler was scoring 25 points and filling up the stat sheet with six rebounds and five assists, Love had a miserable night all around.

The former UCLA star finished with eight points on 3-of-10 shooting in just 21 minutes of play.

It's representative of the uneven play Love has had since returning from knee surgery on March 16.

In the seven games since he returned (where the Cavs are 3-4), Love is averaging 12.7 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. These numbers are down from his pre-injury averages of 20.0 points and 11.1 rebounds.

Love and the Cavaliers have the second game of a back-to-back on Friday night, playing host to the Philadelphia 76ers.

On one hand, this could be a good night for Love to get some rest and save some energy for the playoffs, healing his knee as much as possible.

Or, Cleveland could use this chance to get some momentum going.

Before it's too late.

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