Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving logged 43 minutes in game one of the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors after forcibly being on rest for various injuries including and ankle and a knee.
The Cavaliers will be without the services of 6’3, 4 year pro for the remainder of the playoffs with a fractured kneecap.
Rest assured there will be talk of whether it was a mistake to play the injury prone Irving for so many minutes and also whether the lackluster final play of the game and subsequent overtime debacle will haunt the Cleveland Cavaliers going forward.
Irving single-handedly saved the game with a block on a Steph Curry drive in the waning moments of the 4th quarter setting up what could have and probably should have been the game-winning play. With the ball in the hands of superstar Lebron James the Cavalier forward took a tough contested jump-shot rather than working is way closer to the rim regulation ended with a tie.
A dejected Irving limped to the locker room and eventually out of the stadium aided by crutches and there were locker room reports of in-fighting or at least very heated discussions involving Kyrie's agent, his father and members of the Cavaliers organization.
Questions as to whether coach David Blatt overused Irving this game and should have managed his minutes are abound on social media from fans and sports pundits alike.
No one wants to see long term damage to the rising star of Irving but the other side of the coin is that making it to a finals is never a “gimme”, getting to one is rare and being able to duplicate the feat is ever rarer.
Now we are left to wonder not only how the Cavs will respond without one of their most dynamic players but what could have been if the last 24 seconds of game 1 had turned out differently.