The biggest Bulls news Sunday was news about the Cavaliers. Kevin Love dislocated his left shoulder on a dirty play by Kevin Olynyk while J.R. Smith was ejected on a flagrant two foul on Jae Crowder which may have left Crowder with multiple significant injuries.
Here's the Kevin Love video:
The early report from Brian Windhorstvia twitter is that Kevin Love will be out at least two weeks.
Nothing will be known for sure until MRI but word within Cavs team tonight is Kevin Love likely out a minimum of 2 weeks.
Kevin Love has vowed to play through the injury, but we'll see how it goes. The Cavs are obviously weaker without Love, but Love hasn't played that great this season and was one of the guys the Bulls could have abused on defense. Particularly if they went to a Mirotic/Gasol strategy.
That said, Thibodeau hasn't shown so much ingenuity in attempting things like that, so the Bulls may not have really taken advantage of Love by throwing Niko at him as much as possible.
Given that it was his left shoulder, it wouldn't surprise me if Love is back earlier than expected and simply plays through a lot of pain. That said, this would ultimately likely be to the detriment to the Cavs.
It's always silly to compare injuries, but I've had a few shoulder injuries (surgery once) and came back to play basketball too early every time. I could play but when it hurt to lift my arm over my head it really threw my shot off.
It causes just a tiny extra hitch on your guide hand and that makes a pretty big difference. It is also tougher to stay aggressive on the boards. Love's situation and injury are obviously different, but I suspect if he plays against Chicago that he'll likely be relatively ineffective.
Maybe they can give him enough pain killers and cortisone to make it work, but it just strikes me as a deal where Love's probably going to miss some time and not be at his best in the time he plays.
I feel bad for Kevin Love (and any player who gets hurt), but I don't spare any thoughts for Cleveland. Chicago just lost three playoff seasons and potentially a championship due to injuries so my sympathy for opposing fans and cities doesn't run so deep.
Here's the J.R. Smith video:
J.R. Smith has been suspended for 10 games in 2006 for his role in a brawl after getting flagrantly fouled.
In April 2013, he was suspended for game five of the playoffs for elbowing Jason Terry.
In Sept 2013, it was announced he'd be suspended for five games for violation of the league's drug policy.
In Nov 2014, he was suspended for a game for hitting Glen Rice Jr in the nuts.
He was also suspended by the Nuggets for three games for an off the court incident at a night club, but I left that one out, since it wasn't handed down by the league.
Given that he's had three league based suspensions in the past two years, two of which were for hitting players, it will be interesting to see where the league goes with this one.
He appeared to hit Crowder with a closed fist and looks like he just swung a back fist. To make matters worse, Crowder appears to suffer multiple injuries on the play, both to the had and to his leg which buckles when he goes down and has to be helped off the floor.
Smith seems destined to be suspended for a minimum of one game, and I wouldn't be surprised if the league goes for quite a bit more. The history and impact of the swing on Crowder (which could end up costing Jae millions of dollars if his injury ends up being a tear) both are likely to be considered.
The impact on the series could be significant. As Bulls fans well remember, J.R. Smith crushed the Bulls last game with his three point shooting in the first half (he then tried to shoot the Cavs out of the game by going cold in the second).
Smith's an athletic guy who can score and defend when he puts his mind to it. His inconsistency could be a detriment, but overall he was a player who helps give them depth and some reasonable amount of talent deeper into the bench.
If Smith is out, the Cavs will become even more LeBron/Kyrie focused on offense which might not be a bad thing for them in the short run, but it will make it tougher for them in the long run.
The Cavs can clearly beat the Bulls without both of these guys, but if they both missed the whole series, it would swing things from 75% Cleveland to probably 50/50 in my book.
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