Kurt Helin

Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson

Kyrie Irving re-injures knee; status for Game 2 (and series) up in air

10 Comments

OAKLAND — For four quarters Kyrie Irving was looking like he could be the difference in the NBA Finals.

He may end up being, but not in the way he intended.

Irving re-injured his left knee and had to leave the game midway through the overtime of Game 1, a Cavaliers loss. He limped back to the locker room, then after the game badly limped out of the locker room with ice packs on his knee.

There is no diagnosis yet — there will be an MRI on Friday — but Irving left the locker room on crutches. He told the media to “listen to the tone of his voice,” noting that he sounded worried. He said this injury felt different than the tendonitis he had been battling.

“He’s with the doctors right now being evaluated,” Cavaliers coach David Blatt said after the game. “I can’t give you any specifics yet. We just don’t know.”

“It was very tough to see, I’ve seen how hard he worked the past eight days to get back to the level he was playing at tonight,” LeBron James said. “It was hard to see him leave the locker room on crutches.”

If Irving is going to miss games, or be limited, the Cavaliers’ chances in this series drop off severely.

During regulation, Irving was showing few effects of the knee tendonitis that had kept him out of two games the last round and limited him when he was on the court these playoffs. Irving had 23 points, seven rebounds, six assists, he was 10-of-22 shooting, he even hit 7-of-14 on contested looks. Then late in the fourth quarter had a game-saving block on what looked like a wide-open Stephen Curry layup.

Then at 2:22 in the fourth and the Cavaliers down four and needing a bucket, Irving drove to his right putting his shoulder into Klay Thompson, then by the elbow tried to stop up for what may have been a pull-up jumper, but his feet seemed to come out from under him. Irving fell to the ground.

He got up, tried to run to the other end on defense but just limped. He was quickly taken out of the game and went straight to the locker room.

“It’s something I hate to see,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.  “I never like to see anybody get injured on either team.  I want everybody healthy.  And I hope he can play.  I mean that.  You probably don’t believe me, but I mean that.  You want everybody healthy.  You want everybody playing.  This is the dream of every player, to come to the NBA Finals and perform and compete.  So I hope he’s okay.”

The Cavaliers already felt like they let a game they could have won get away Thursday night. Combine that with this Irving injury and the mountain the Cavaliers must climb suddenly looks like Everest.

J.R. Smith beats buzzer just before halftime

OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 04:  J.R. Smith #5 of the Cleveland Cavaliers shoots against Klay Thompson #11 of the Golden State Warriors at the end of the in the second quarter during Game One of the 2015 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 4, 2015 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
3 Comments

Every playoff team needs a guy who just doesn’t give a… well, any manure about the moment. A guy unfazed by pressure.

J.R. Smith is that guy for the Cavaliers.

He had nine first-half points, topped off by this three to give the Cavaliers a 51-48 lead at the half.

By the way, really nice play design/call by David Blatt to set that up. (Well, unless you want to credit LeBron for everything Blatt does right, as some do.)

Andre Iguodala puts moves on LeBron, throws it down (VIDEO)

2015 NBA Finals - Game One
7 Comments

For throwback Thursday, we bring you Andre Iguodala circa 2009.

Well, not exactly, this did happen in 2015 at the NBA Finals, but it sure felt like old-school Andre, putting the moves on LeBron James, driving and throwing it down.

Iguodala was 3-of-4 for six points off the bench for Golden State, leading (along with Marreese Speights) a comeback after the Warriors were down by 15 at one point.

LeBron had 19 points on 16 shots in the first half.

Report: Sale of Atlanta Hawks to be completed June 24

primary
2 Comments

Grant Hill, the owner, is very close to being in place.

Hill will be a minority owner, but one of the key faces of Antony Ressler’s group that is buying the team — and that sale will be completed on the day before the NBA Draft, reports Chris Vivlamore at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The sale of the Atlanta Hawks to a group led by billionaire Tony Ressler is scheduled to be completed on June 24, a person familiar with the negotiations told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

An agreement to purchase the Hawks and Philips Arena from the group known as the Atlanta Spirit has been in place since April 22. The sales process was expected to take 4-6 weeks to complete and will be official with the approval of the NBA Board of Governors. The approval can be done by conference call or electronically and is scheduled for the day before the NBA Draft.

That sale reportedly is for $850 million, although more than $100 million of that is taking on debt.

The Hawks had the best season in franchise history — winning 60 games and making the conference Finals were both firsts for the organization — despite a fractus ownership group that had put the team up for sale. The Hawks current majority owners, known as Atlanta Spirit, purchased the Hawks, Atlanta Thrashers and Philips Arena from Turner Broadcasting in 2004. There was infighting and rumors of sales for years.

Then when it was found one of the key members of the Spirit Bruce Levenson had sent out a racially insensitive email about how to cater the game more toward white fans, it pressured him and the group to sell the team.

The Hawks had a great season at the gate and with local television ratings this past season because they won and because they focused more on urban, younger, and often African-American crowd. The new owners can build off that — and the team’s new logos.

PBT Finals prediction post, not all of us pick Golden State

Miami Heat Victory Parade And Rally
39 Comments

Finally, the NBA Finals are about to tip off.

And we got the matchup most people wanted to see — Golden State vs. Cleveland. LeBron James vs. Stephen Curry. The best player vs. the best team.

It’s prediction time. Here are the calls from the PBT staff.

Kurt Helin: Warriors in six.

Maybe there is a path for the Cavaliers to the title, but their margin for error is gone. Their defense has been better these playoffs but no team has truly tested them and made them move laterally yet (the Hawks only did it for short spurts). That is about to change, and I’m not sure the Cavaliers pass that test. The key for Golden State is their depth — they can keep throwing fresh defenders at LeBron James in the form of Draymond Green, Harrison Barnes, Andre Iguodala, and even Klay Thompson for short spurts. Nobody stops LeBron, but they will make him take more jumpers. Will he get enough help from a hobbled Kyrie Irving and friends? I don’t see it.

Brett Pollakoff: Cavaliers in six.

Cleveland is almost a 2-1 underdog to win the series in the eyes of oddsmakers, and with good reason. The Warriors have been dominant in the largest sample size possible, winning 67 games during the regular season, cruising through what was supposed to be a difficult Western Conference in the playoffs, and doing it with the league’s best defense and perhaps its greatest shooter of all time. But I really like the way the Cavaliers have come together this postseason. They seem to be peaking at just the right time, and I believe they have the personnel to challenge the Warriors in every way possible, with LeBron James ultimately being the difference.

Dan Feldman: Warriors in six.

The Warriors have been the NBA’s best team all season. They play dominant defense, and they excel offensively. They’re the complete package. LeBron James is great, but not great enough for this challenge — especially with Kevin Love out and Kyrie Irving hobbled.

Sean Highkin: Warriors in five.

Assuming Klay Thompson is good to go, the Warriors have a significant health advantage over the Cavaliers. They’re also one of a small handful of teams that actually has the personnel to effectively guard LeBron James. The Cavs have no idea whether Kyrie Irving is going to be healthy, and even if he is, who do they hide him on defensively? There isn’t a weak link in the Warriors’ starting five offensively, and it’s tough to see the Cavs’ defense keeping up its strong performance against an offensive attack this much better than anyone they played in the first three rounds.