The Cleveland Cavaliers are hoping that Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert can return from injuries soon, as the team has been struggling of late, losing three straight games. Kevin Love and Timofey Mozgov have been inconsistent over the past stretch of games, while LeBron James sat out against the Miami Heat after an overtime loss against the Pelicans.
The Cavaliers have been one of the best teams in the eastern conference to start the season, but the team has scuffled a bit over the past week while losing three straight games. Kevin Love and Timofey Mozgov have been struggling a bit, while LeBron James took a seat against the Miami Heat to get some rest heading into the middle of December. The Cavs have been worn out a bit by the schedule and the absence of Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert has also made an impact on the bench rotation for David Blatt.
James sat out against the Miami Heat last week and while that was a surprise to some since James used to play for the team, reports say it was the plan all along. According to Joe Vardon at Cleveland.com, the Cavaliers have been looking for the best opportunities to give James a rest this season and this part of the schedule allowed James to sit out without missing an extra game. The team had a back to back with the Pelicans and since the New Orleans game went into overtime, the Cavs did not get to Miami until 5 am the next morning.
James had played in every game for the Cavaliers leading into the Miami game and that rest could be big for him and the Cavs as the December schedule moves along. The Cavs have been in a bit of a rut lately with Timofey Mozgov struggling and Kevin Love not looking sharp and coming up the team has games against the Trail Blazers, Magic and Celtics over the next week. After playing the back to back the team only has three games in a week of time and that also helps James and everyone else get some rest.
Love only had five points and shot two of 11 from the field against Miami and he will be looking to bounce back this week once James comes back into the lineup. The travel on the schedule has not helped either and the short rotation for the Cavs may be catching up to the team at this point in the season. Shumpert and Irving are expected back soon and once that happens the Cavs should resemble more of the team they expect to be this season.
Irving is expected to be back soon and while no official date has been set, the Christmas Day game against the Warriors could be a target. According to Chris Haynes at Cleveland.com, Irving has been able to work out in practice with the Cavaliers and "is likely going to make his season debut" over the next three weeks. Irving is coming back from knee surgery and according to NBA.com, Irving has been able to start participating in 5-on-5 work in practice. Shumpert has progressed from his wrist injury and could return in the middle of December.