After fully dominating their respective conferences, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors will be having a faceoff in the NBA Finals for the fourth consecutive year. Both teams have a hard time dealing with their respective opponents in the conference finals, and they could be playing in Game 1 without some important piece of their roster – Kevin Love for the Cavaliers and Andre Iguodala for the Warriors.
Kevin Love missed most of Game 6 and the entire Game 7 of their Eastern Conference Finals matchup against the Boston Celtics after bumping heads with rookie Jayson Tatum. According to ESPN, Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue announced on Tuesday that the all-star forward is still in a concussion protocol, entering the possibility that he could not play in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
Love’s absence will greatly hurt the Cavaliers’ chance of drawing first blood against the Warriors. Cleveland considers him their second-best player next to LeBron James. In 17 games this postseason, he’s averaging 13.9 points and 10 rebounds on 38.8 percent shooting from the field and 34.6 percent from beyond the arc.
If Kevin Love won’t play in Game 1, Jeff Green is expected to replace him as the Cavaliers starting power forward. Green played a major role in the Cavaliers’ Game 7 victory against the Celtics where he posted 19 points and eight rebounds on 50 percent shooting from the field.
Meanwhile, the Warriors could be entering Game 1 of the NBA Finals without an integral part of their “Super Death Lineup,” Andre Iguodala. The 34-year-old wingman missed the last four games of the Western Conference Playoffs with an injured left knee. According to Chris Haynes of ESPN, Iguodala got a second opinion on his injury, and they are still trying to figure out what went wrong.
The veteran forward reportedly plans to find a remedy in the coming days, and like Kevin Love, his status for Game 1 remains unknown. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr felt Iguodala’s frustration with his inability to help the team in the playoffs. Kerr has strong belief that if Iguodala didn’t suffer an injury, they could have finished the Rockets in just five games.
“He’s frustrated,” Kerr said. “His body has not responded at this point.”
Andre Iguodala is undeniably a huge loss for the Warriors in their upcoming matchup against the Cavaliers. In their previous faceoffs in the NBA Finals, Iguodala has done a great job in limiting the production of LeBron James on the offensive end of the floor. The Warriors will be needing Iguodala in defending their throne against the best player on the planet.