By Matt Stevenson
May 1, 2015
Last Sunday the Cleveland Cavaliers swept the Boston Celtics and knocked them out of the playoffs in Game 4 of the series. A great first playoff series win for this young Cavaliers squad, but it came with a major repercussion.
Kevin Love left the game in the first quarter and it was scary. Not knowing what specifically happened at first glimpse, the live broadcast shows Cavaliers Forward Kevin Love getting tangled up with Celtics Kelly Olynyk while scrambling for the ball. Immediately after, Love sprinted right to the locker room without stopping to talk to anyone. After several replays, it was clear his shoulder was indeed dislocated.
A debate on whether it was intentional or not has taken the social media world by storm. The game itself was incredibly physical with technicals and ejections being issued.
Cavaliers Center, Kendrick Perkins, set a hard screen on Celtics Forward, Jae Crowder, that sparked some shoving and much trash talking. However, later in the game Crowder and Cavs Guard J.R. Smith got into it while positioning themselves for a rebound.
The video shows Crowder shoving Smith pretty hard (definitely foul-worthy). J.R. Smith retaliated though by flailing his arm, with a closed fist, and connected with Jae Crowder… right in his face.
Accidental? Maybe. Suspension? Definitely. How long? Nobody knows.
So Kevin Love is reportedly out for the rest of the playoffs. J.R. Smith is for sure getting suspended and it could potentially be a few games. After sweeping the Celtics on Sunday, we wait for the Bulls as they look to close out their series with the Bucks.
This means the Cleveland Cavaliers are without two of their starters and the two other members on the team, besides LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, that can be consistently relied upon to create their own shot. This takes away a huge element of the Cavs game as they rely heavily on Love and Smith to hit 3’s and space the floor.
This may be one of LeBron’s biggest challenges in his career, without a doubt. But I think this focus’ more on Kyrie Irving.
Kyrie Irving will be expected to score a lot, as LeBron will be busy defending the variety of players Chicago has such as Jimmy Butler, Nikola Mirotic, Taj Gibson, and Mike Dunleavy.
Two other key players for this series that must step up to win are Tristan Thompson and Iman Shumpert. Defensively they need to show up, but offensively Shumpert needs to hit perimeter shots and Thompson needs to continue his offensive rebounding giving Cleveland second chance points.
Is Kyrie Irving ready to accept the challenge and put the stamp on the “Superstar” label? This series will indeed determine that as he faces a Bulls team which is finally healthy and has been labeled as the Cavaliers only threat all year in the Eastern Conference, WITH Kevin Love and J.R. Smith.
This Round 2 series of the NBA Playoffs between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Chicago Bulls will be the first big test of Kyrie Irving’s young career. Is he ready? We’ll find out this weekend. GO CAVS!