Rodney Hood will play more, starting in NBA Finals Game 3

The Cavs have a logjam on the bench in the backcourt, with multiple options. Because LeBron James handles the passing that a point guard would typically handle, the team’s biggest need from both starting and backup guards is good outside shooting, and defense. According to ESPN.com, the Cavs will now give Rodney Hood more of a shot:

Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue says he will switch up his rotation in Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday by giving minutes to seldom-used wing Rodney Hood against the Golden State Warriors.

“We’re going to give Rodney a chance,” Lue said Tuesday. “He’ll get a shot, and see how he does. He’s been working, staying ready. So we’ll see.”

Hood was the Cavs’ starting shooting guard in their playoff opener — a 98-80 loss to the Indiana Pacers — and has seen his role diminish dramatically since then, going from a bench player to receiving six DNP-CDs in Cleveland’s past 10 games…

He had much more success during the regular season for the Cavs, including a seven-game stretch from late March through early April when Hood averaged 13.9 points on 49.3 percent from the field and 44 percent from 3 with 2.6 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.0 steals per game.

Full article

Steph Curry an early 2018 NBA Finals MVP candidate

We’re only two games into the 2018 NBA Finals, so it’s a bit early to pick a clear Finals MVP candidate. But it’s a two-player race so far, between LeBron James and Stephen Curry. Here’s a Warriors-area outlet, NBC Sports Bay Area, stating the early case for Steph:

Steph Curry is the obvious choice for Finals MVP so far. Yes, it is only two games into the series, and as the Warriors know very well, anything can happen. But unless the Cavaliers were to come back and win the series, Curry has to be the odds-on-favorite. While he has had dominant moments in the Finals, his masterful play actually started at the end of the Western Conference Finals. Over the last three games (including Game 7 of the WCF) Curry is averaging 29.7 points per game on 45 percent shooting from the field, 49 percent shooting for deep (on a staggering 14 attempts per game) coupled with 9 assists and 7 rebounds. Curry has dished out 27 assists over the last three games, his highest mark since exactly a year ago, when he tore up the Cavs in the 2017 NBA Finals. Also this fun fact: Steph Curry has out-rebounded one of the Cavaliers’ best rebounding big men, Tristan Thompson, in each of the Finals games thus far. If that sounds familiar, it is because last Finals, Curry had more boards than Thompson in three of the five games, and finished with more rebounds overall in the series.

Full article

A look at 2018 NBA Finals Game 1 and 2 Kevin Durant play

The Warriors won NBA Finals Game 1 in overtime and then easily took Game 2. The action now shifts to Cleveland for Game 3 on Wednesday. Here’s the SF Chronicle with a look at GS forward Kevin Durant’s play so far:

In Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday, Durant appeared in a haze, following up blown coverages on James with clanged jumpers. His missed box-out on the 6-foot-6 J.R. Smith late in regulation — not Curry’s 29 points and nine assists — would have been a major talking point had Smith not inexplicably forgotten that the score was tied in that crucial moment.

“Last year was a pretty smooth ride, and we were clicking,” Golden State head coach Steve Kerr said Saturday. “We didn’t have injuries. We had a pretty healthy run. I think this year, it’s just been harder overall, just because of the cumulative wear and tear of the journey.

“Kevin has still been great. He hasn’t probably been as consistent as he was last year, but neither have we. I would say that about every one of our guys.”

Durant made good on his vows to be better in Game 2, attacking the rim with purpose and kicking out to open shooters early in the shot clock. His well-executed possessions gave the Warriors an early lead and, ultimately, helped pave the way for one of Curry’s signature scoring binges.

Full article

Klay Thompson dealing with sprained ankle

The Warriors were without Andre Iguodala in NBA Finals Game 1 and may be without him in Game 2. But now Klay Thompson is questionable for Sunday’s Game 2 with a banged-up ankle. Here’s Cleveland.com reporting:

Warriors All-Star Klay Thompson suffered a high left ankle sprain in Game 1 of the Finals and said he plans to play in Game 2 Sunday.

The Warriors are officially calling him “questionable.”

Thompson was injured in the first quarter of Golden State’s 124-114 win when JR Smith fell into his leg diving for a steal. He limped to the locker room and returned to the game for the start of the second quarter and finished with 24 points and five 3s.

Full article

Tristan Thompson fined, has flagrant foul downgraded

Tristan Thompson fined, has flagrant foul downgraded

Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson has been fined $25,000 for failing to leave the court in a timely manner following his ejection and for shoving the basketball in the face of Golden State Warriors forward/center Draymond Green, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

The incident occurred with 2.6 seconds remaining in overtime of the Warriors’ 124-114 win over the Cavaliers on Thursday, May 31 at Oracle Arena.

Thompson’s Flagrant 2, which was assessed for his actions in contesting a jump shot by Warriors guard Shaun Livingston, was downgraded to a Flagrant 1 upon league office review. The foul occurred directly prior to Thompson’s interaction with Green.

So, no fear of suspension for Thompson for NBA Finals Game 2 Sunday night in Oakland.

Kevin Love cleared for NBA Finals Game 1

Some good news was released by the Cavs today. Kevin Love has completed the NBA’s Concussion Return to Play Program and will be available to play tonight in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

According to ESPN.com, “Love was still in the league’s concussion protocol as of Wednesday afternoon. He was injured during a head-to-head collision with Boston Celtics rookie Jayson Tatum in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals.”

The Cavs and Warriors begin their 2018 Finals series tonight in Oakland.

The Warriors continue to be without Andre Iguodala, but are otherwise healthy.

NBA Finals Game 1 news: Andre Iguodala out, Kevin Love status uncertain

NBA Finals Game 1 between the Cavs and Warriors takes place at Golden State tomorrow night, and so far one key player is definitely out while another’s status, as of this hour, remains uncertain.

The Warriors have their stars in tact — Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green are good to go — but the next player on the list of key contributors, Andre Iguodala, remains out with a leg injury.

The Cavs are in worse shape. The squad is clearly led by LeBron James, but their other player who fits in the star category is Kevin Love, and as of this afternoon he hasn’t been cleared from the NBA’s “concussion protocol” program that aims to protect players and make sure it’s safe for them to play after a head injury. He still may play, but as of Wednesday afternoon he isn’t ready yet.

Without Love, the Cavs will rely on the hustle of Tristan Thompson, and scoring from a lot of players who will collectively have to step up and play the games of their lives at the Finals level.

Kevin Love will miss Cavs vs Celtics Game 7

And we’re back to this. LeBron James in a key playoff situation surrounded mostly by role players, while a key star or two are injured. In this case it’s one player, Kevin Love. Of course, the Celtics played this season without Gordon Hayward, and are now without Kyrie Irving. They’ve gotten extremely good play from guard Terry Rozier in Irving’s place, though. And Game 7 is in Boston. So, advantage Celtics. Except, the Cavs have LeBron. But the Celtics right now have looked like the better team. Especially when playing at home. So, advantage Celtics, still, right? But… LeBron… Anyway, enjoy the game, and here’s the Boston Herald reporting on K-Love:

Cavaliers forward Kevin Love was placed in the NBA’s concussion protocol Saturday and declared out for Sunday’s Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Boston Celtics.

The 8:30 p.m. game at TD Garden will determine the East’s representative in the NBA Finals, which open May 31 at the home of the West champion. The Rockets lead the defending champion Warriors 3-2 going into Saturday’s Game 6…

Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said Love was flying with the team to Boston Saturday afternoon.

Love banged heads with Jayson Tatum with 6:58 left in the second quarter and went to the locker room to be evaluated.

Full article

Jaylen Brown praises Boston playoff crowd

The headline isn’t a surprise — of course a player is going to generally say good or great things about his team’s fans — but it’s still fun to read the exact wording they use to do it. The Celtics are undefeated so far at home in these playoffs. Here’s Jaylen Brown discussing the home crowd, via NESN.com:

Jaylen Brown has said before that playing at home can be like having the best sixth man in the league, and the Celtics swingman doubled down Wednesday night after Boston defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 96-83 in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals to take a 3-2 series lead.

“The energy level, we feed off the crowd,” Brown told reporters in Boston. “The crowd is like the best sixth man in the league, is what the tale says. So when we’re out there, we can definitely feel the energy the Garden is giving us. And we use it to do what we gotta do.”

Full article

Celtics guard Shane Larkin may return soon

The Celtics lead the Cavs 2-1 in their Eastern Conference Finals series. Game 4 is tonight in Cleveland. Here’s Boston.com with a Celtics roster update:

Celtics backup point guard Shane Larkin took part in a lengthy individual workout with assistant coach Jay Larranaga after Sunday’s practice, his first since spraining his left shoulder in Boston’s May 7 loss to the 76ers in the conference semifinals. On Monday, Larkin said he made it through the session with minimal soreness. Although he remains sidelined in this conference final against the Cavaliers with no return date set, he believes he is “pretty close’’ to getting back on the court.

Full article