The Cleveland Cavaliers keep getting dealt body blows in form of injury in this NBA playoffs, but they keep winning all the same. The Cavs are now 9-2 in the postseason, and have wrested homecourt advantage from the Atlanta Hawks after a Game 1 win on Wednesday night. They will look to put a serious dent in the Hawks' hopes with another road win tonight, though they might have to do it without Kyrie Irving.
We will start right there for our top five stories of the Cleveland Cavaliers' week.
1) Kyrie Irving is questionable for Friday night's Game 2. He is still fighting through tendinitis. He had a week off before Game 1, so I'm not sure what resting him for three days buys you now. I'd play him if he can play. The Cavs lack shooters, and especially if DeMarre Carroll can't play, it's a bit easier to hide him on defense.
From the Cavs:
Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving will not attend the team's shoot around this morning in Atlanta in order to undergo additional evaluation with head team physician Dr. Richard Parker. After continuing his treatment following Wednesday night's game, symptoms related to his left knee tendinitis had not diminished and additional evaluation was recommended. He will be listed as Questionable for tonight's game.
This is, of course, not good. It hangs over the Cleveland Cavaliers' title hopes. LeBron James has a lot on his plate.
2) Let's stick with Irving for a minute. Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com had a fantastically reported story on the evolution of Irving's relationship with Matthew Dellavedova. It wasn't all sunshine and rainbows. Irving thinks he has an easy going summer practice, and Dellavedova only knows one speed. Irving's annoyance developed into admiration over time.
But early on, it sounds like it looked a little bit like this:
3) Brian Windhorst detailed the Cavs' acquisition of J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert.
The thought of getting two starter-quality wings nearly for free -- a few end-of-the-bench players and a second-round pick four years in the future -- was tantalizing. But with any supposed great deal there were queasy conditions. They didn't need to hire an investigative firm to compile a dossier on Smith -- his history of bad decisions, reckless behavior and wildly inconsistent play was well known to all.
So Griffin went to James.
"Get him here and I'll take care of it," James said Wednesday night, recalling the pivotal discussion.
To James, the character issues weren't just secondary, they didn't matter. He saw a chance to grab the type of shooter he loves to play with, one with a quick release and endless confidence.
4) Our own Joe Mastrantoni went in depth on the Cavs' Game 1 win in Atlanta. It's good stuff.
5) And, bucking recent tradition, the Cavs failed to win the NBA lottery. David Griffin has some explaining to do.