Cavs return to action tonight in Atlanta…Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals
ATLANTA, GA – The Cavaliers return to action Friday night in Atlanta for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals and they could be without another member of the Big 3. Kyrie Irving did not attend the team shoot-around Friday morning at Philips Arena. He underwent additional evaluation on his left knee and the Cavs say he is questionable against the Hawks.
“It’s always next man in line. If the next guy can’t go, next man up. That is why we are a team; that’s why it’s a team sport; and that is why it’s a team game so we’ll be ready,” said Cavaliers Forward LeBron James.
**P.J. Ziegler is in Atlanta covering the Eastern Conference Finals. He will have LIVE coverage on FOX 8 News and the very latest on fox8.com**
“It’s not a matter of shutting him down. It’s just a matter of ‘is he healthy enough to play? Does he feel healthy enough to play?’ That’s all,” said head coach David Blatt.
If Irving is unable to play in Game 2, Matthew Dellavedova would likely get the start in his place.
“Whatever the team needs, the only pressure is your expectations, so that is all that really matters,” said Dellavedova.
“We have to stick to our game plan,” said Cavaliers Forward Tristan Thompson. “The next man up has to be ready to play, step up and everyone has to do a little more so it’s part of the game.”
“Delly has done great work for us all season coming from the bench and he has started at other times during the season. He has been a consistent rotation guy for us and he is dependable and a high-character guy that gives us an awful lot. We believe in him; our guys believe in him; and he’s ready to go,” Blatt said.
The Hawks also have some injuries of their own: Forward DeMarre Carroll is also questionable for Game 2 with a sprained left knee; he injured it in Game 1. He was matched up against LeBron quite a bit in Wednesday’s game.
“It’s probably next man up for them, too. They’ve played with injuries less than we have, but that is not my concern about who is in their lineup. My concern is who we got, who is going to be suited up tonight for us,” James said.
Game 1 of a series is always a feeling-out game for both teams. The Cavs beat the Hawks in that contest but that doesn’t mean they have an advantage in Game 2.
“It’s a big game for both teams. They don’t want to go down 0-2 and we would like to steal two games in Atlanta so both teams are going to be playing with a little extra fight, a little extra more grits so we have to be ready to go to work,” said Thompson.
“We are just as desperate as we were in game one to win this one, as well; so we are going to come out the same way, stop their ability to make plays. We can try to slow them down; we can’t stop them. They’re a great offensive team but we just want to slow them down and do what we need to do on our end,” James said.
Friday is head coach David Blatt’s 56th birthday. He said for his birthday he wanted world peace, sure-fire solution to the high pick and roll and a Cavs’ win. Game 2 tips-off at 8:30 from Atlanta.
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