By Mary Cunningham
The mountain in the NBA Finals just got steeper for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
After losing star forward Kevin Love for the season in their first-round series against the Celtics, the Cavs will now have to beat the Golden State Warriors with their all star point guard Kyrie Irving, who suffered a fractured kneecap in game 1′ 108-100 loss Thursday night.
“If he’s not able to go, it’s something that’s not new to us,” LeBron James said Friday before it was announced that Irving had fractured his left kneecap in overtime of Thursday night’s 108-100 Game 1 defeat. “So next man up, and guys will be ready for the challenge.”
Be it Matthew Dellavedova replacing Irving at point guard, or Iman Shumpert or even J. R. Smith, the Cavaliers understand this is not the Eastern Conference anymore. This opponent is not the Atlanta Hawks, whom the Cavs swept in the conference finals despite Irving’s missing two games and the loss of power forward Love for the postseason in the first round.
“There are a few things that you would love to have going late in the season,” James said. “That’s being healthy, having a great rhythm, and then you need a little luck as well. We’ve had a great rhythm. We haven’t had much luck, and we haven’t been healthy.”