Blogtable: Overcoming playoff injuries

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.


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Kevin Love, John Wall, Mike Conley and Chris Paul are just some of the big names who have missed playoff games because of injury. Which team has done the best job overcoming the absence of a key player?

Steve Aschburner, NBA.comMaybe Cleveland would be having a much easier time of things if Kevin Love were around, but the Cavaliers have circled the wagons pretty well. Which is due, of course, to having the best player in the league in LeBron James. James has managed to give the Cavs enough more often than not to fend off a more talented Chicago roster and push the Bulls to the brink of elimination. His team has rallied with contributions from Iman Shumpert, Tristan Thompson, Timofey Mozgov, J.R. Smith and Matthew Dellavedova, with Kyrie Irving some sliding degree of healthy as the series plays out. If Love is only marginally missed right now, he should be factoring that into his long-term planning this summer.

Fran Blinebury, NBA.com: I don’t think there’s any question that it’s the Clippers.  Chris Paul didn’t play in Games 1 and 2 against the Rockets, was used for limited minutes in Games 3 and 4 and yet L.A. took control of the series and is starting to look like the team to beat in the West.

Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com: The Clippers. They won a Game 1 on the road, in Houston, without Chris Paul and then won Game 3 at home with Paul not moving well. Austin Rivers has stepped up. The four other starters have stepped up, with Blake Griffin playing at a very high level. A team that didn’t need another boost of confidence just got one.

Shaun Powell, NBA.com: I’m almost forced to say Cleveland only because Love has missed the most games of the four. In terms of importance, he doesn’t rate with Paul or Wall, but was finally becoming comfortable with his role and valuable in the Cavs grand scheme when he damaged his shoulder. The Cavs are still alive and favored to reach the NBA Finals, mainly because LeBron covers most if not all flaws and absences.

John Schuhmann, NBA.com: I’m most impressed that the Wizards have won a game (against the East’s No. 1 seed) and almost won another without John Wall. Their offense was built around Wall (he led the league in time of possession), but they’ve had two strong offensive games without him. They got big games from their bigs in Game 3 and a huge performance from Bradley Beal in Game 4. I still think that the Hawks win the series if Wall can’t play (or play effectively), but my predictions relating to the Wizards don’t mean much at this point.

Sekou Smith, NBA.comThey’ve all done excellent work compensating, so it’s hard to pick one out of the bunch. But the Clippers are on the cusp of history, for the franchise, so it has to be Doc Rivers and crew. They survived the San Antonio Spurs in Round 1 and have handled the Houston Rockets in the conference semifinals with CP3 playing at CP1.5 due to his hamstring issues. Austin Rivers has come alive. J.J. Redick is shooting lights out and playing both ends at a high level. Even Big Baby Davis is in a groove and playing well. This is some of Doc’s best work, if you ask me. No one, and I mean no one, would have predicted the Clippers would grind their way through to this point under these circumstances, not after the roller coaster regular season ride they were on.

Ian Thomsen, NBA.comThe No. 5 Wizards have taken it to the top-seeded Hawks without Wall, who would have been the best player in that series. But no team has shown more resolve than the Clippers, who made their Game 7 stand against the defending champs as Paul struggled to recover from his hamstring injury. Then, instead of settling for an opening loss in the next round, they grabbed the initiative against the Rockets.

Lang Whitaker, NBA.com’s All Ball blog: I think I’ll go with Cleveland, only because they’ve lost so many key players. Right now, for instance, they’re without Kevin Love for the duration, they have Kyrie Irving playing basically without being able to run, J.R. Smith has missed a couple of games with a suspension, and LeBron hasn’t missed any games but clearly suffered a bad ankle sprain, and yet as of right now the Cavs are still just two wins from advancing to the Conference Finals. To me that speaks to not only their depth, but also their resourcefulness in the face(s) of injury.

21 Comments

  1. Indiana'sownLarryBird says:

    Moe, Kyrie had 25, but up to that point it’s been Jr, Thompson, Mosgov, with Lebron, and it’s just how i feel Jordan to me is not the best ever he’s one of the best ever, but Lebron is as good or better then any of the former greats to play the game.

  2. Indiana'sownLarryBird says:

    Lebron is the best player in the world hands down!!!! LOL, Lebron would put Jordan in the post all day and run Jordan up and down the court, and Lebron’s strong enough to handle Jordan defensively when Jordan goes to his post move fade away, he would wear Jordan down. Lebron is winning with out Love, and Kyrie giving nothing.

    • Moe says:

      I didn’t know Kyrie putting up 25 points was “nothing”. Your comments about Jordan are laughable so I won’t even address them.

    • Moe says:

      Nonetheless Tristan Thompson doing better than Kevin love could dream to do against a Bulls team.

  3. harriethehawk says:

    Dustydreamnz: I concur. This 2nd round of playoffs has been amazing and quite frankly the opposite of what I expected has happened in each particular series.

  4. parkmanor22 says:

    LEBRON IS ACTING WHEN HE IS IN FRONT OF THE MEDIA. LEBRON WANTS TO BE BETTER THAN MICHAEL JORDAN AND KOBE BRYANT AND THAT WANT HAPPEN. STOP SAYING LEBRON IS THE BEST PLAYER IN THE WORLD. THIS IS NOT TRUE.

    • Just a FAN says:

      if lebron is not the best, then who? stop hating dude your childhood hero (jordan) wont ever play ball again and your washed up kobe even in his prime is nothing but a ballhog, just relax sitback and watch the king breaks more record

    • Not even a james fan but know where respect is due. Than who is the best in the world right now? Stop trolling parkmanor22! Lol XD

  5. parkmanor22 says:

    THAT CYR BABY GASOL SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF HIMSELF NOT PLAYING IN GAME 5. THE LAKERS DIDNOT WANT GASOL ON THEIR TEAM FOR THAT SAME REASON. GASOL CRIES TOO MUCH.

  6. dustydreamnz says:

    I’ve been impressed with nearly all of the teams to be honest.

  7. Mike says:

    After watching games 1-5 of the cavs/Bulls you have to be concerned with the nba refs. The small market teams such as cleveland never get the calls they should. After carefully reviewing and pausing the games, reading the literature of the nba on what is and is not a foul, the refs missed an obvious 20 plus fouls on Chicago against the cavs. This also happened on the Boston series. The fact olly wasn’t suspended was a joke. The nba needs to revisit the rules. If a player like Kelly from Boston intentionally pulls an arm out of socket or jeapordizes the career of a player they need to forfeit the game. If not, I would send the nba a message and put in a head hunter to injure another star player from another team. The Stars make the league money and kevin love in cleveland is and was a great story.

    The nba has to quit making close games by controlling tempo, players time, and more by calling or not calling fouls. It is so biased it is a joke.

    Call the fouls that cleveland should be getting and have a league of integrity.

    The nba needs to stop catering to the big markets just for money. Everyone sees it, everyone knows it.

    If the refs called the games without bias many would end without the suspense. Do the right thing nba and don’t punish the small market teams.

    • parkmanor22 says:

      GASOL IS A CRY BABY.

    • Chepe says:

      Do you really think Olynik did that on purpose? Come on dude get real!

    • Yup!!!! says:

      Do u honestly think the NBA would favor a big market team over Lebron? They would cater more to Lebron since he is the face of the NBA. So I highly doubt the NBA or refs would mess things up for the golden boy of the NBA.

    • Moe says:

      I read everything up until you said “the small market teams like Cleveland never get the calls they should”. You should be ashamed of such a statement. As soon as the cavs step into the paint a whistle blows regardless of whether another player from the opposite team is there or not, nonetheless whether contact was committed or not.

  8. media always over hype lebron smdh