If you tuned in to watch Game 7 between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics, you probably had some of the following observations.
LeBron James is playing at an other-worldly level at the moment.
The Celtics’ youth and inexperience was evident and they also missed a ton of open shots.
Finally, Boston will be a force to be reckoned with when Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward are presumably healthy next season.
While Hayward was present at the end of the Celtics bench in front of the home crowd, Irving was nowhere to be seen, which was odd since he had been there earlier in the series. But, it turns out he had a legitimate excuse for the absence.
"Kyrie had a deviated septum, had some surgery on that, and so I don't think he wanted to be seen," said Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge after the team’s exit interviews on Monday, per Chris Forsberg of ESPN. "He's a really good-looking guy. He can't ruin his movie career,” Ainge joked.
Jeff Wechsler, Irving’s agent, told ESPN’s Jackie Macmillan that the All-Star point guard wanted to be on the sidelines to support his teammates but couldn’t fly due to the surgery. The deviated septum was a result of the facial fracture that Irving had earlier in the season.
"It was a residual from the facial fracture he had earlier in the season," Wechsler said. "He had the knee surgery, and now he's taken care of this sinus surgery, so he will be all set going forward.”
Overall, missing Boston’s entire playoff run must have been extremely tough on Irving, especially since his former team took down his new one.
"I don't think any of us can really understand," Ainge said. "That never really happened to me as a player, so I'm not sure I understand, but I could see it in their eyes all year when Gordon was out. It hurts to not be able to play, especially when the team was doing so well, and same thing with Kyrie.”
Ainge can’t help but be excited about the endless possibilities that next year’s squad will have with Irving and Hayward back on the floor.
"So we need Gordon and Kyrie, absolutely need them. If this playoff run and all the series of the playoffs didn't show that, then I don't know what does. We were able to win some games and we were able to fight through some tough battles, but we're much, much better with Kyrie and Gordon,” he said. "Those guys would give anything to be out there and play. I'm really excited about their motivation. ... I think they're going to come back in great condition and great shape next year.”
Since the Celtics will return their entire young core (and have a chance to bring back Marcus Smart), adding Irving and Hayward to the mix will probably make them the early favorite to represent the Eastern Conference in next year’s Finals.
But, as seen on Sunday, LeBron might eventually have something to say about that.News Now - Sport News