Sportress of Blogitude

Cavs player says team would be up 3-0 on Warriors with Kyrie Irving

The Cleveland Cavaliers are reeling and on the brink of elimination at the hands of the Golden State Warriors in a demoralizing NBA Finals series sweep. After Wednesday’s 110-102 home-court loss in Game 3, an anonymous Cavaliers player evidently blamed the team’s precarious position on the absence of Kyrie Irving.

“We’d be up 3-0 if Kyrie was still here. I have no doubt. Do you?,” the unidentified Cavs player told Jason Lloyd of The Athletic (subscription required), via Clutch Points.

Interestingly, Lloyd was the same reporter who broke a story earlier in the season concerning an anonymous Cavaliers player who bemoaned the trade of Irving to Boston by profanely referring to Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge as a “(expletive) thief.”

Irving ended up with Boston after the Celtics sent Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the rights to the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round draft pick (which is slotted at No. 8 after the Draft Lottery earlier this week) back to Cleveland.

Suffice to say, given how the players acquired by Cleveland panned out, the deal has been widely hailed as an absolute fleecing of the Cavs by Ainge.

Lloyd also mentions in his reporting that the Cavaliers apparently believe the Warriors could have been for the taking.

“The frustrating part within the locker room is the belief by a number of Cavs players that the Warriors are vulnerable,” Lloyd writes. “Whether it was the absence of Andre Iguodala or the contentment of winning a championship last year, something seems different about this Golden State team.”

The case can be made that the Finals could have been a completely different series if it were not for J.R. Smith’s mind-boggling blunder in the waning moments of regulation in Game 1 that snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. The notion that the Cavaliers would have presented a more formidable challenge to the Warriors in the series with (a healthy) Irving obviously is a reasonable assertion.

However, complaining about his absence at this point will not help Cleveland dig out of a seemingly inescapable 0-3 hole.