Cavs Beat Celtics, Lose Kevin Love and J.R. Smith
The Cleveland Cavaliers will be moving onto the second round of the 2015 NBA playoffs after wrapping up a 4-0 sweep of the Boston Celtics on Sunday afternoon. They just won’t be doing so at 100%.
The team may have to enter into their second round matchup without both power forward Kevin Love and shooting guard J.R. Smith. Love sustained a dislocated shoulder early in Cleveland’s game four win when Kelly Olnyk yanked on his arm.
Love immediately headed for the locker room and did not return. While there has been no word on his immediate time table for a return, Love said he “felt better” than he did when they injury occurred and that he felt Olynyk deliberately tried to hurt him.
It isn’t impossible for Love to return for Cleveland’s first game of the second round – especially if their next matchup doesn’t advance as quickly as they did. The team may want to play it safe with Love, regardless, of course, as dislocated shoulders can be painful and a quick return can leave Love vulnerable to further injury.
Smith is a different case, as he was involved in arguably an even dirtier play on Sunday, when he intentionally swung a punch at a defenseless Jae Crowder. Crowder crumbled to the floor and appeared to sustain a knee injury in the process.
Smith was immediately ejected from the game and is expected to face some sort of a suspension from the league. Early indications suggest it could be a lengthy ban, ranging from an entire series to the remainder of the playoffs.
As it stands, the Cavs could be in serious trouble, as Love and Smith provide a good amount of their offense, while Love also helps clean the glass on both ends of the court. Love shouldn’t be out for long, but any amount of times missed by either player could negatively impact the Cavs.
It’s still possible Love doesn’t miss any time at all and Smith receives a light suspension. That is the best case scenario for the Cavs, while lengthy absences from both players could cripples Cleveland’s bid for a trip to the 2015 NBA Finals.
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