Kyrie Irving, C.J. Miles

Kyrie Irving broke bone in jaw, will play wearing mask

1 Comment

Kyrie Irving is injured again, another fracture.

But this time he is not missing any games — he just returned last week from missing 11 games with a fractured finger — he’s just going to join Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller as part of the Cavaliers masked men.

Irving suffered a fractured bone in his jaw from a hard foul Friday night against the Bucks, reports the Associated Press. While his team boarded a flight to New York for Saturday’s game against the Knicks, Irving stayed behind to get fitted for the mask, then caught up with the team and will play in the game.

The team said Irving fractured his left maxilla, which is the bone above the upper teeth. The injury was found with a CT scan conducted after Friday’s game, when Irving played 36 minutes and scored 26 points.

Thompson and Zeller are wearing masks from facial injuries earlier this season.

But the whole mask thing fits with the name Cavaliers, so maybe more guys will start to do it just for the marketing… okay, probably not.

James Harden: “I am the best player in the league. I believe that.”

James Harden, Stephen Curry
1 Comment

James Harden was the MVP last season — if you ask his fellow NBA players.

The traditional award (based on a media vote) went to Stephen Curry (in the closest vote in four years), and that was the right call (in my mind). But from the time it happened Harden did not buy it. And he still doesn’t buy it. In the least — and he’s using that as fuel for this season. That’s what he told Fran Blinebury over at

“I am the best player in the league. I believe that,” he said. “I thought I was last year, too.”

Well, it’s a more realistic claim than Paul George’s.

“But that award means most valuable to your team. We finished second in the West, which nobody thought we were going to do at the beginning of the year even when everybody was healthy. We were near the top in having the most injuries. We won our division in a division where every single team made the playoffs.

“There’s so many factors. I led the league in total points scored, minutes played. Like I said, I’m not taking anything away from Steph, but I felt I deserved the Most Valuable Player. That stays with me.”

That’s very Kobe Bryant of you to turn that into fuel. Defining the MVP Award is an annual discussion that nobody agrees on.

I could get into how Harden was the old-school, traditional stats MVP, how that ignores how Steve Kerr used Curry, and how that opened up the Warriors’ offense to championship levels. Curry put up numbers, but he was also the distraction, the bright star that Kerr used to open up looks for Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and others. Curry’s strength was not just what he did with the ball in his hands, but his gravity to draw defenders even when he didn’t. Did the Warriors stay healthier than the Rockets? No doubt. Should Curry be penalized for that?

It’s simple for Harden — if he can put up those numbers again, if he can be the fulcrum of a top offense, he will be in the discussion for MVP again. And, if he can lead the Rockets beyond the conference finals, nobody will talk about that MVP snub anyway.