The following is a statement that the Cleveland Cavaliers PR department just sent out for immediate release…

capitals fire

 

While Love has certainly underachieved this year, it is a drastic blow to a Cavalier team with a “Championship or bust” mindset — as they are going to likely face an enormous(ly talented) Chicago Bulls front line without their starting power forward and proverbial third-wheel of their “Big 3”.

In case you missed it: the shoulder injury that the Cavaliers allude to occurred during the first half of Game 4 between Cleveland and Boston, yesterday afternoon…

Love, after the game, told the media he thought that Kelly Olynyk may have tried to injure him “On Purpose” and that the play was “Bush League”

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I’ll leave the interpretation up to you, but, ultimately — the fallout of the injury for the Cavs wasn’t yet complete. After Love ran off the court in pain, Cavaliers players vowed to retaliate — per Celtics radio analyst Cedric Maxwell….

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“I talked to some of the Cavaliers players, and one of the things they mentioned to me, they said, ‘Look, what happened to Kevin Love, we’re going to retaliate…”
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…Maxwell said Sunday night on WBZ-TV’s Sports Final.

Welp, retaliate they did…

First, Kendrick Perkins absolutely leveled Jae Crowder during a pick-and-roll….

https://vine.co/v/eW657XZPU2I

…and then J.R. Smith knocked out Jae Crowder cold with this spinning backhand of death, which looked like something out of ‘Mortal Kombat’.

As Jae fell to the ground, you can see his knee buckle beneath him — and ultimately, he was carried off the floor with what appeared to be a leg injury. Crowder was diagnosed with an ACL Sprain this afternoon, thus, this news + J.R. Smith’s extensive track-record of being suspended for flagrant foul behavior could mean his availability status for the second round series vs. either the Bulls or Bucks is in deeeeeeep doo doo.

Without Kevin and J.R., the Cavaliers will need to replace Love’s
  • 26.7 Minutes Per Game
  • 14.3 Points Per Game
  • 7.0 Rebounds Per Game
  • 2.5 Assists Per Game
…and potentially Smith’s
  • 26.8 Minutes Per Game
  • 9.8 Points Per Game
  • 2.3 Steals Per Game
To elaborate re: how important Kevin Love was to Cleveland during the series vs. Boston, he recorded a DRB% of 23.5% and a TRB% of 14.8% — which means when he was on the floor, he grabbed 23.5% of the TOTAL rebounds when the Cavaliers were on defense, and 14.8% of rebounds on both offense AND defense … both of which led the team. In addition, despite having a “poor season” by Kevin Love’s standards, his importance to the starting lineup cannot be understated. When the Cavs rolled with Kyrie, LeBron, J.R., Love, and Mozgov together this season — they put up an offensive rating of 116.1, and recorded an insane +19.3 net rating. However, when Tristan Thompson was inserted into this lineup in place of Kevin Love … the team only scored 105.7 points per 100 possessions, (a 10.4-point difference from when Love was on the floor with this group), and the team’s net rating plummeted to a -8.8.

Will the Cavs be able to match up with the overwhelming Gasol/Noah/Gibson front-line of the Chicago Bulls without their vital big man?

Only time will tell…