From Comcast SportsNetCLEVELAND (AP) -- When the Cavaliers opened training camp, star point guard Kryrie Irving insisted he wasn't worried about being injury prone.Well, he's hurt again.Irving will miss at least one month with a broken left index finger, an injury the Cavs initially diagnosed as a bruise before tests revealed a fracture. The NBA's reigning rookie of the year got hurt in the third quarter Saturday night against Dallas. X-rays were negative and he returned to the game with his finger wrapped.He played Sunday at Philadelphia, but scored a season-low nine points on 4-of-14 shooting as Cleveland dropped its sixth straight game. On Monday, he underwent an MRI and other tests which showed a hairlinenon-displaced fracture. The Cavs said Irving's finger will be taped and placed in a splint. He will be re-evaluated in two weeks.It's the latest injury for the talented 20-year-old, who broke his right hand during a summer practice when he slammed it in frustration against a padded wall when the team was in Las Vegas. Irving played in just 11 games as a freshman at Duke because of a foot tendon injury, which took more than one year to heal completely.Last season, Irving missed 15 games with a concussion and shoulder injury.As the Cavs opened camp in October, Irving was asked about a label of being fragile."I'm not worried about being injury prone," he said. "Not at all."Irving added five pounds of muscle during the offseason so he would be able to handle any contact on drives to the basket. But he wound up losing the weight after he had four wisdom teeth pulled.Irving's injury isn't the only one impacting the Cavs.Second-year forward Tristan Thompson sustained a nasal fracture in Sunday's loss to the Sixers. He will be fitted with a protective mask and is projected to be available for Wednesday's home game against Philadelphia.Also, guard Daniel Gibson has a bruised right elbow.The Cavs just got back rookie center Tyler Zeller from a concussion and broken cheekbone. Zeller was elbowed in the face during a recent game in Los Angeles and is playing with a protective mask. He scored six points against the Sixers.With Irving out, coach Byron Scott, who gave his road-weary team the day off Monday, will have to juggle his starting lineup and rotation. He could move rookie Dion Waiters from shooting guard to the point.Scott has been disappointed with his team's defense so far this season, but without Irving to run the offense for a while, he's got much bigger concerns.
Just about every part of Isaiah Thomas’ game offensively has seen tremendous growth this season.
But what has really separated him from earlier versions of himself, has been his 3-point shooting.
He comes into tonight’s game against the Washington Wizards shooting a career best 38.4 percent from 3-point range.
When asked about how he has elevated his game this season, the answer isn’t that simple.
“I don’t know” he told reporters prior to tonight’s game. “The game is slowing down for me. My teammates put me in position, my coach does … and I’m just knocking down shots.”
Because of his shot-making, Thomas has made it difficult for defenses to give him a steady diet of any style of play in trying to limit him.
And because they have to change things up with regularity, that has created more scoring opportunities.
“Sometimes they forget what they want to do (defensively) and leave me open for a three,” Thomas said. “Those are the the types of shots I need to knock down and I’m being aggressive.
He added, “I need to get to the free throw line, trying to make plays for my teammates. It’s one of those things where I’m in a really good zone now; a really good rhythm.”
A good rhythm?
According to NBA statistics guru Dick Lipe, Thomas is the first Celtic ever to make at least four 3-pointers in five straight games. Taking it a step further, he has made at least three 3-pointers in seven straight games which equaled Antoine Walker’s streak in 2001.
Thomas has also attempted 11 three-pointers in five straight games which is a franchise record. There have only been three longer streaks in NBA history - Golden State’s Stephen Curry (7 straight games, 2016); Washington’s Gilbert Arenas (7 straight games, 2005) and Dallas’ George McCloud (6 straight games, 2006).
He’s also averaging 3.1 made 3’s per game which would be a franchise record that’s currently held by Antoine Walker who averaged 2.7 during the 2001-2002 season.
And all those 3’s have added up to Thomas scoring at least 27 points in seven straight games, something that hasn’t been done by a Celtic since Larry Bird had eight such games in March 1988 as well as the 1987-1988 season.
He was back at it Tuesday in an interview with CBS Radio's Damon Amendolara, in which he said the Falcons have the better quarterback heading into Super Bowl LI.
“We know they’re the better offense, and right now, you could say they got the better quarterback because they have the MVP of the league,” Scott said. Ryan is the favorite to win the NFL MVP, which will be announced the night before the Super Bowl at the "NFL Honors" show.
“Now that’s a debate, but Matt Ryan has earned the right for his name to be put up there with the upper-echelon quarterbacks," Scott said. "He’s always been elite in the regular season, but now he’s taken this show into the postseason and he’s won the hard battles against the elite quarterbacks and now you have to give him his due.”
More from Scott: “I can’t see the Patriots stopping this offense. So, that means that these receivers are going to have to [keep] pace. It’s all going to come down to what it always comes down to. It’s going to come down to who makes the turnovers, who gets up early and puts the pressure on the other team. Matt Ryan and that offense showed me a lot when they went behind [in the divisional round against the Seahawks]. Seattle came and busted them in the face, and [Atlanta] went right back down and answered immediately.
"The Patriots always find a way, but I think it makes it more close of a game than what people think.”