Cleveland Cavaliers Lose Kyrie Irving For Rest of Finals
The Cleveland Cavaliers were fairly large underdogs entering the 2015 NBA Finals. Once Kyrie Irving went down with a knee injury in overtime of their game one loss to the Golden State Warriors. Now that news has broken that Irving is done for the remainder of the Finals, the Cavs could be just about sunk.
Per reports, Irving suffered a fractured kneecap while trying to drive in the middle of overtime. Irving crumbled to the floor and pain and limped back to the lockerroom in clear frustration. Irving knew something wasn’t right and there had been whispers that he’d miss the next two games, regardless of what an MRI showed.
Irving’s MRI showed a fracture in his left kneecap and the star point guard underwent surgery on Saturday afternoon. With an estimated 3-4 month recovery time table, Irving is a near-lock to be back to 100% by the time the 2015-16 NBA season rolls around, but he’s now no longer available to the time.
Calling the loss of Irving a big blow is as big of an understatement as one can offer up in today’s NBA, as Cleveland was already scraping by without Kevin Love. In fact, the Cavs got a 44-point effort out of LeBron James and little else from the rest of the offense. Irving was able to chip in 23 points and eight assists before going down, but with him gone the pressure will only mount for James and his rapidly eroding supporting cast.
More pressure will also be on shooting guards Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith, while big men Timofey Mozgov and Tristan Thompson will also be asked to do more.
The big question, though, is what the Cavs do at point guard. The only other true point guard on the roster is Matthew Dellevadova, who struggled badly in limited action in game one. Cleveland could still rotate either Shumpert or to James over to man the point full-time, but it may not be enough.
Already underdogs to win the series and to win game one, the Cavs will enter game two on the road as +8 underdogs, as well. That’s up from the +6.5 line from game one, and it’s clear the oddsmakers aren’t liking Cleveland’s chances in game two or the series, in general.
The Cavaliers looked like a force to be reckoned with entering these finals, as LeBron James returned home to lead his hometown team to their first ever NBA title. In game one, it did appear they had the momentum and tools to make an upset a reality. With Irving going down, though, the writing may be on the wall that this just isn’t the year Cleveland finally puts it all together.
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