Tag: Kevin Love


Report: Kevin Love ‘holds no long-lasting ill will’ toward Celtics, Kelly Olynyk


At lest check, Kevin Love won’t return Kelly Olynyk’s calls.

That’s understandable, considering Love accused Olynyk of intentionally causing his season-ending shoulder injury.

Perhaps, they’ve made a breakthrough, though.

David Aldridge of NBA.com:

I’m told authoritatively that Love holds no long-lasting ill will toward either the Celtics or Olynyk.

That must be welcome news to the Celtics, who planned to pursue Love in free agency before Olynyk’s yanked clouded the picture.

Obviously, the Cavaliers will have a say in that, but it seems the door is at least open for Boston now.

LeBron James carrying Cavaliers like he never left

LeBron James

Before the playoffs began, Cavaliers coach David Blatt said, “This all can’t be on LeBron. This is a team and a team effort and everyone here has to do his part.”

Yesterday, when Blatt drew up a play for someone else to attempt the game-winner, LeBron James said, “Just give me the ball.”

Blatt, of course, listened.

This is how it has always been for LeBron with Cleveland. It’s his show, his way, his time.

LeBron has claimed a level of control he never had with the Heat. Whether this is an intentional power grab, the mere byproduct of the NBA’s biggest megastar picking a small market or an injury-created necessity, it hasn’t been more evident on the court than in the playoffs.

LeBron has attempted a field goal or free throw, turned the ball over or assisted a basket on 39.0 percent of Cleveland’s possessions this postseason. We’ll call this number Adjusted Usage Percentage. It differs from usage percentage in two ways:

1. It includes assists.

2. It includes all a team’s estimated possessions, even when the player is on the bench. (Possessions are estimated because some free-throw attempts are and-ones or technicals, not part of their own possession. Possessions ending in a team turnover are not counted.)

LeBron’s 38.8 Adjusted Usage Percentage ranks first among all players in the last decade – giving him the top four marks in this era:


Players have exceeded an Adjusted Usage Percentage of 30.0 in the playoffs 51 times in the last 10 years, including LeBron each year. But LeBron’s five highest Adjusted Usage Percentages have come with the Cavaliers and three lowest with the Heat.

Wasn’t LeBron supposed to learn how to win and Miami and bring back those lessons, not just repeat his old Cleveland problems?

Unfortunately for the Cavaliers, this could be Cleveland’s best available strategy.

LeBron knew Kevin Love is out for the rest of the season and presumably knew Kyrie Irving is battling a foot injury when he said he needed to be more aggressive. The short-handed Cavs might have no recourse but to let LeBron dictate everything.

And that’s no so bad.

LeBron can take the Cavaliers pretty far playing this way. He’s one of the best players – if not the best player – in the world, and he hit the game-winner yesterday after demanding the ball. (In a fitting celebration, teammates literally jumped on his back.)

But Cleveland is also seeing the downside of this approach. LeBron has shot 8-of-25 and 10-of-30 with seven and eight turnovers in his last two games.

It seems there’s a cap with this style of play. LeBron can carry the Cavs and win a round or three, but eventually, opponents begin to solve the one-dimensional offense. Then, soon enough, he runs into a team capable of actually doing something about it – a task made easier as LeBron gets worn down by this heavy load.

LeBron doing everything probably gives the Cavaliers a higher floor but a lower ceiling. It’s not the worst tradeoff, though if the goal is a championship, it’s concerning.

One of the main reasons LeBron left Cleveland in the first place seemed to be the Cavaliers’ inability to build a quality supporting cast, and the decline of Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh probably contributed to his defection from Miami.

It was supposed to be different in Cleveland this time with Love, Irving and and a more-well-rounded LeBron. But Love is out. Irving is hobbled.

And LeBron is putting the Cavs on his back, just like old times – and we all remember how those seasons ended.

Kyrie Irving reveals he’s been playing on a bad foot since Round One

Kyrie Irving

CHICAGO — The hits keep coming for the Cavaliers. Following their Game 3 loss to the Bulls at the United Center (sealed on a miracle buzzer-beater from Derrick Rose), head coach David Blatt revealed yet another setback for one of his most important players.

Kyrie Irving has been playing with a sore foot apparently since Game 2 of the Cavs’ first-round sweep of the Celtics. On Friday night, he shot 3-for-13 from the field for 11 points and posted a box score line that LeBron James told him earlier this year that he could in no uncertain terms ever record: a no-assist game.

“Kyrie has been playing hurt,” Blatt said after the game. “He has been giving us all he has and will continue to do that. He had two great games and today was just a little less successful. He has a sore foot and is playing through it.”

The injury certainly didn’t hamper Irving in the first two games of the series: he scored 30 points in Game 1 and 21 points in Game 2, looking as explosive as ever driving to the basket.

“Probably in Game 2 of the Boston series,” Irving said when asked when he first suffered the injury. “I have just been trying to get treatment since then. I just have to stay ready to play. There are no excuses and I have to play through it. Coach was trying to protect me with what he said. Tonight, I am not hanging my head nor using a bad foot as an excuse.”

At the podium next to him, LeBron James deflected criticism from his teammate in no uncertain terms.

“He gave us 40 minutes on one foot,” James said. “Kyrie could have had 40 assists and if D-Rose makes that shot, we still lose. I had seven turnovers.”

Irving’s status for Sunday’s Game 4 is yet to be determined, but losing him would be a death knell for a Cavs team that’s already playing shorthanded. With Kevin Love out for the year with a separated shoulder, even more pressure has fallen on James and Irving to carry the Cavs’ shaky supporting cast. Even if Irving plays, he’s going to be limited in what he can do, and the Cavs cannot afford any more health setbacks.

“I am staying out there for my brothers,” Irving said. “I can be a decoy, set screens and do whatever I can to help us win. I just have to get treatment and come out and play.”

Grizzlies to give away masks — in honor of Mike Conley — before Game 3

Memphis Grizzlies v Golden State Warriors - Game Two

This is a better idea than the Kevin Love arm sling.

The difference is Mike Conley is back playing and playing well for Memphis — he had 22 points in Game 2 plus played good defense. So if you want to give out thousands of masks — to honor what Conley has had to wear after surgery to repair three broken bones in his face — go for it. And the Grizzlies will go for it before Game 3 Saturday.


It is going to be interesting to see how the Warriors adjust to Conley’s return; they didn’t have plans for him before Game 2, according to Draymond Green.

Also, just expect the Warriors to hit more looks than they did in Game 2, they are not going to shoot 30.4 percent on uncontested looks for another game.

David Blatt: ‘There’s a chance’ Iman Shumpert could miss Game 3 with groin injury

Oklahoma City Thunder v Cleveland Cavaliers

Iman Shumpert suffered a groin strain in the third quarter of Cleveland’s Game 2 win over the Bulls on Wednesday, and while he did return to the contest to play an additional four minutes, it could be serious enough to where he’s forced to miss some time.

From Tom Withers of The Associated Press:

“There’s a chance of that,” Blatt said. “The hope is that he’ll be able to play, but we need a little more time.”

After he got hurt, Shumpert told LeBron James he felt something “pop.” He hobbled to the locker room, but soon returned and rode a stationary bike before re-entering the game. Blatt said the injury isn’t as bad as first feared.

“He’s feeling a little bit better than we originally expected and that’s a positive,” he said, “but we’re monitoring and hoping that he’ll continue to progress.”

The good news for the Cavaliers is that they’ll get J.R. Smith back, who missed the first two games of the series after being suspended for leveling Boston’s Jae Crowder in the closeout game against the Celtics.

Shumpert has played well in these first two games against the Bulls, and has done so on both ends of the floor. If he can’t go in Game 3, it will force the Cavaliers to once again juggle unfamiliar lineups as two key players (Kevin Love included) remain missing from the regular rotation.

Shumpert has averaged 17.3 points and six rebounds over his last three playoff games, and had gotten the start in both games against the Bulls while Smith had been sidelined.