Ohio - Kyrie Irving plopped down on a courtside bench
following a brisk workout and two team trainers quickly
went to work adjusting straps on his new knee brace.
Cavaliers, completely in command of the Eastern
Conference finals, may soon be closer to full strength.
made some cuts and drives while wearing a brace on his
left knee Saturday and the Cavs said the All-Star guard
is questionable for Sunday's Game 3 against Atlanta.
While Irving remains iffy, he hasn't been ruled out and
that's an improvement after he sat out Friday night as
Cleveland took a 2-0 lead with a 94-82 win over the
aggravated tendinitis during Game 1, and after visiting
renowned surgeon Dr. James Andrews on Friday in Florida,
the Cavs rested one of their stars. Cavs coach David
Blatt said Irving's status for Sunday will be a medical
decision and won't be affected by Cleveland's seeming
stranglehold on the series.
he's able to play, then he'll play," Blatt said.
"He's a big part of the team, and this series is
not finished. But if he's not able to play, he won't.
That's the determining factor."
the Hawks lost starter Kyle Korver, their best outside
shooter, for the remainder of the postseason with a
severely sprained right ankle.
another damaging blow to the Hawks, the East's top seed
who were soundly outclassed on their home floor by
LeBron James and the Cavs. Not having Korver makes
things even tougher.
a huge part of our leadership, our fabric, our
fiber," coach Mike Budenholzer said about Korver,
injured while scrambling for a loose ball in Game 2.
has already been diminished by forward DeMarre Carroll's
sprained knee. Nicknamed the "Junkyard Dog,"
he was supposed to be the one to keep James under
control. But through two games, the Cleveland superstar
has taken the bite out of Carroll and dominated.
came within one rebound of a triple-double in Game 2,
when he once again carried his team the way he has
throughout his career. With Kevin Love out for the
postseason following shoulder surgery and Irving not
himself, it's fallen on James to pick up the slack by
rebounding more, handling the ball more, doing more of
is usually the case, he's delivered. James is averaging
30.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 8.5 assists in the series.
no doubt we have to do a better job defending him, both
individually and as a team," Budenholzer said.
"We've got to do a better job taking away the
passing lanes, a better job arriving on the pass and a
better job contesting shots. That's really not any
different than what it was coming into the series. But
as you see it, experience it, feel it, hopefully we'll
get better as the series goes on."
Hawks are running out of time, and history is not on
has been up 2-0 in a series 14 times and he has closed
out all 14.
the Cavs have the Hawks on the ropes, James knows
they're dangerous. Cleveland's two road wins have not
given James any sense of security.
just as desperate as we were in Game 1 and Game 2,"
Hawks, though, are more distressed.
THE TALK: James was wired with a microphone in Game 2
and was heard telling Irving, "I told you I got
your back, G" after Cleveland's win.
explained what he meant.
told him before the game," James said.
"'That's why we're a team. That's why it's next man
up. And that's what I'm here for and I got your back in
whatever decision that you decide to make and know that
we're ready for you whenever you decide to come back,
whenever you're ready physically and mentally to come
PIECES: Budenholzer said he hasn't decided who will
start in place of Korver. One option is Kent Bazemore,
who raised some eyebrows after Game 2 when he said,
"I still think we're the better team. We just
haven't shown it yet."
James urged Cleveland residents to remain calm and
channel any anger in a positive way after a judge
acquitted a while police office of manslaughter charges
following the 2012 shooting deaths of two unarmed
is not the answer," he said. "For the city of
Cleveland, let's use our excitement or whatever passion
that we have for our sport for the game tomorrow night,
bring it tomorrow night."
made similar comments following racially-charged cases
in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York. But this one hits
close to home, and James believes he and the Cavs can
help the healing process.
doesn't matter what city it is, something that's going
through a city that's very traumatic, traumatizing or
anything of that case, I think sports is the biggest
healers in helping the city out," he said.