CLEVELAND– It was back to work for the Cleveland Cavaliers as they continue to prep for the Atlanta Hawks and Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Wednesday night in Atlanta. The Cavs welcomed back point guard Kyrie Irving to the practice court after getting plenty of rest and relaxation on his left knee and right foot. Irving sat out the entire second half of Game 6 against the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night.
“I would say just my spirit,” said Irving, following practice on Monday. “Mental confidence, just being able to actually feel both of my feet underneath me especially when I’m shooting; it feels amazing.”
Irving injured his foot in Game 2 of the Boston Celtics series. It has been bothering him ever since. He then stepped on Tristan Thompson’s foot during Game 6 of the Bulls series. He left the game and never returned. It was later revealed that he had tendinitis in his left knee; he has been resting it ever since.
**Our own P.J. Ziegler will be LIVE in Atlanta on Wednesday for the start of the series. Follow his updates here on fox8.com and on FOX 8 News**
The Cavs will need Irving to be at his best against the Hawks who had the best record in the Eastern Conference during the regular season. Atlanta beat the Brooklyn Nets in the opening round of the playoffs before dismissing the Washington Wizards in six games. The Hawks don’t have a ‘superstar’ on their roster, but starters 1-5 all can score.
“For us defensively, we have to be in tune,” said Cavaliers forward LeBron James. “First of all, the most important thing is the ball and the ball is going to start in Jeff Teague’s hands and then from that point on to Kyle Korver to DeMarre Carroll to Al Horford to Paul Millsap on to the guys that come in after them.”
The Hawks beat the Cavs three times during the regular season but in one of those games, the Cavs had not yet traded for Iman Shumpert, Timofey Mozgov or J.R. Smith and LeBron James didn’t play in one of the other games as he sat out with an ailing back. The Hawks have home court advantage in the series and that’s okay with LeBron James.
“I love the road crowd,” James said. “I like silencing the road crowd.”
One thing the Cavaliers must do in this series is hang onto the basketball. LeBron James leads the league in postseason turnovers averaging 4.6 a game.
“They do a great job in the first six seconds after getting a turnover, getting the ball up the floor, so we can’t do that; we can’t turn the ball over and it has to start with me.”
Game 1 is Wednesday night in Atlanta. Tip-off is set for 8:30.
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