If LeBron was seeking his eighth straight NBA Finals appearance, it seems as though he will have to do it with one less All-Star teammate on the court. Kevin Love suffered a substantial hand injury during a game against the Pistons on Tuesday night, which the Cavs would go on to fall short 125-114. Love’s broken left hand comes days after reports of a tense team meeting where fellow Cavs questioned his intentions and efforts.
The apparent friction between Love and some of his colleagues happened to come at a time where swirling chatter about his future in Cleveland was already at stake. His broken hand, costing him at least two months, throws a little more uncertainty into the mix. Love marks the third All-Star in just days to suffer a season-threatening injury after New Orleans’ DeMarcus Cousins endured a horrible Achilles injury and Washington’s John Wall just underwent knee surgery costing the Wizards 6-8 weeks without their veteran point guard.
Looking at the bigger picture may be even more alarming to some, as the Cavaliers can’t seem to find their mid-season swag. Sitting at 29-20 and in a wobbly third position in the Eastern conference, The King and company have two hungry teams knocking on the door to jump ahead in the Heat and Wizards, respectively. Now without their top rebounder, Cleveland looks to their bench to help stop the bleeding as the season moves into February.
One bright spot could be the fact that James has proven he can tenaciously drag almost any team through to the playoffs. The star forward is arguably one of the most durable in the league, not to mention recently became the youngest player in league history to score 30,000 career points. The King continues to earn his crown and, to the city of Cleveland, can do no wrong after ending a 52-year championship drought in 2016, where he hoisted the coveted Larry O’Brien trophy.
As a LeBron-loving apologist, I have to also optimistically point out that this time last year, Cleveland sat in a familiar seat at 32-15 where similar doom-and-gloom sentiments spread like wildfire. That is, until the Cavs overcame the odds and marched to their third straight Finals appearance, all against the blistering Warriors. I’m not quite sure I’d want to count out LBJ and the Cavs until June.