The Cleveland Cavaliers won and lost on the basketball court. Kevin Love suffered a dislocated shoulder (via Pro Basketball Talk) during a hard foul in the Cavaliers 101-93 defeat over the Boston Celtics. Cleveland advanced to the second round after sweeping Boston, but they most likely will not have Love for the next. In fact, Kevin Love might be ruled out until the NBA Finals, but two weeks at the earliest, provided the Cavaliers go that far. Any celebration over moving further in the playoffs could be short-lived.
The Cleveland Cavaliers turned a potential laugher until a brutal affair of “you take out one of mine, we’re taking out one of yours.” No correlation shall take place, there should be no congratulatory speeches, or the like. After Kevin Love left the court not being able to move his shoulder, Cleveland put center Kendrick Perkins into the game. That’s when things became ugly.
Nothing will be known for sure until MRI but word within Cavs team tonight is Kevin Love likely out a minimum of 2 weeks.
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) April 27, 2015
Perkins set a hard screen set on Celtics’ tough guy, Jae Crowder. That was followed by a malicious judo chop by J.R. Smith, aiming at Crowder. It was a poor display of sportsmanship that will cost Cleveland. Smith was ejected for a flagrant foul-2 for the play on Crowder. The foul can be seen here. When explaining the play he stated that he was not trying to hurt anyone (per NESN).
“He was cutting to the lane after the shot had been shot, I tried to box him out. As I’m boxing him out, I just keep feeling is forearm on my head. Tried to keep backing up, but he kept pushing. Unfortunately, I tried to swing my arm loose thinking it was the best way to get my arm up in position to rebound and we make contact.”
A possible suspension looms for Smith who says he is “nervous as h**l” about everything. Not having Smith for Game 1 of the second round can be overcome. There is the possibility of the Cavaliers losing the game and homeport advantage to their opponent, who will most likely be the Chicago Bulls. The problem going forward for the Cavaliers is not having Kevin Love for this series.
Love is going through the worst statistical season (16 points and nine rebounds a game) of his career with the exception of his rookie year. His role as the spot-up shooter and rebounder will be missed.
Getting past the Bulls was not a given for a fully healthy Cleveland team. The Bulls’ guard, Derrick Rose, is looking to have regained his original form, and Jimmy Butler has solidified as the top scoring option on Chicago. They have a healthy team and the emergence of rookie Nikola Mirotic adds to the danger.
Losing Kevin Love means that Cleveland gives up size and skill to a team that has an abundance of it. For the most part, Chicago is coming on strong at a bad time for Cavaliers’ fans.
With LeBron James on the floor, no team can be counted out, but the big shoulders of Love made this team better. Time will soon tell if the Cleveland Cavaliers can recover from the loss of Kevin Love.
[Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images]