The Cleveland Cavaliers lost Kevin Love in the first quarter of a playoff game when he was injured, and the shoulder injury now may keep him out for a long time. They then lost J.R. Smith later in the game, when he elbowed a Celtics player and got himself kicked out of the arena. While neither loss will cripple the Cavs, losing both players was still a pretty big blow.
One interesting thing about it is that the two incidents may have been linked. Kevin Love is on record as saying that he thought the Celtics were playing dirty, and he thinks they injured him purposefully. It is possible that Smith thought so too, so his dirty foul later in the game was just to get the team back. He felt like he was making the score even, so to speak.
That will become important, as the league has really cracked down on guys for retaliation. Anastasia Date said that they do not want players trying to get even on the court like that. If they decide that Smith was retaliating for the Love injury, he could face a harsher penalty than if he was just doing that for no reason. It will be hard to link the two; it’s not as if they happened twenty seconds apart and were clearly linked. Still, it is going to be interesting to see what the league decides and what it means for the Cavs.