Kyrie Irving out for Game 2 vs. Hawks


Kyrie Irving missed shootaround on Friday and at the time was considered questionable for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Hawks.

He’s now been ruled out.

From Jason Lloyd of

Irving visited with Dr. James Andrews on Friday, the team said, and the tendonitis diagnosis was again confirmed. He is listed as questionable for Game 3 on Sunday in Cleveland.

Irving had eight days off between the Cavs’ first two series and six days off prior to facing the Hawks. It’s unclear at this point what another couple of days’ rest will mean.

“We’re evaluating as we go forward and hopeful we can get him back in there,” coach David Blatt said. He added that the Cavs’ 1-0 series lead had no impact on the decision to rest him.

Blatt said Friday morning if Irving said he could go then he would play, but he said prior to the game the decision was taken out of his hands and made by the medical staff.

Irving wasn’t great in Game 1, but the Cavaliers were able to get the win anyway thanks to a huge performance from J.R. Smith, solid front line play from Tristan Thompson and Timofey Mozgov, and LeBron James doing what he does.

But Cleveland will need a healthy Irving in order to contend for a title, and at this point it’s unclear whether or not he can get back in time to help his team’s cause.

PBT Extra: No DeMarre Carroll leaves Hawks in tough spot


The potential — dare we say likely — loss of DeMarre Carroll for at least a little while is a real blow to the Hawks.

That’s a Hawks team already without Thabo Sefolosha (thanks again NYPD) and now without it’s other quality wing defender. Against a team with LeBron James and J.R. Smith.

More than just that, it’s an offensive blow to the Hawks — he is tied as their leading scorer during the playoffs, and he gets a lot of points in transition, which they need in this series.

PBT Extra: J.R. makes case for hot hand theory, is loved in Cleveland


J.R. Smith is who we thought he was.

He is a lover of the contested shot — if the NBA gave points for degree of difficulty, how much more valuable would he be? He enjoys a good time off the court.

And he was red hot for the Cavaliers during their Game 1 in Atlanta. Does that change anything with Smith and the perception? No. But that also doesn’t make him any less valuable to the Cavaliers, who could use more of this Smith in the Conference Finals, especially with Kyrie Irving dragging his leg behind him.

Quote of the Day: J.R. Smith likes taking contested shots more than uncontested ones


J.R. Smith had the best playoff performance of his career in the Cavs’ Eastern Conference Finals Game 1 win over the Hawks on Wednesday. He shot 8-for-12 from three-point range and scored a playoff career-high 28 points. In Game 1, he shot 6-for-9 on contested field-goal attempts and 4-for-7 on uncontested ones, per’s player-tracking data. When asked about his shot selection, which has been controversial his whole career, this is what he had to say:

That’s…exactly what you’d expect Smith to say. It’s certainly indicative of the way he’s played his whole career, and it’s what’s made him so controversial over the years. But since coming to Cleveland in January, he seems to have found a groove, and since coming back from his two-game suspension in the last round, he’s made some huge shots for the Cavs.

Hobbled Kyrie Irving says he plans to play in Game 2 for Cavaliers


Kyrie Irving played the first 3:05 of the fourth quarter in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, then went to the bench for the night. Tendonitis in his left knee has hobbled the All-Star guard to the point the Cavaliers were better with Matthew Dellavedova on the court.

But Irving plans to play in Game 2 Friday. From Dave McMenamin of

“Right now, I’m pretty confident I’ll go,” Irving said after the game, visibly frustrated by his injuries affecting yet another one of his postseason performances.

That attitude shouldn’t be a surprise, this is the guy who last week said:

“I’d rather give 30 percent, 40 percent, rather than give none at all. I just literally can’t do it. I can’t sit on the bench and be hurt and be OK with that.”

The concerning thing is that Irving had almost a week off from the time the Cavaliers eliminated the Bulls to this Game 1, a week he spent getting rehab on his sore right foot and tender left knee. It didn’t help much, and coach David Blatt suggested Irving may have aggravated the knee during the game.

It showed on the court. Irving was not much help defensively in Game 1 and lacked the explosiveness that characterizes his game.

“The most frustrating point is seeing holes in the defense that I’m used to attacking,” Irving said. “I tried to make one move and accelerated and then I stopped and I passed it to Mozzy [Timofey Mozgov]. Mozzy missed the shot, and I came right out in the third quarter.”

He can still help the Cavaliers on the court with his shooting — he was 2-of-3 from three — but not much else. Still, he will start because he earned it

Still, he will start Game 2 because he earned it — and if the Hawks are smart they will attack him with Jeff Teague off the dribble. LeBron James needs some support in this series, and he got it in Game 1 from J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson. Enough to get the Cavaliers the win.

He’ll try, but Cleveland can’t count on that support coming from Irving this series.