Kevin Love had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee and is expected to be out of the lineup for up to six weeks. Without one of their Big Three, how will the Cavs perform?
Since 2014-15 when LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love joined forces via a homecoming and a trade, Cleveland has been really good when all three are on the court but worse when the unit isn’t whole.
Using data from NBAWowy.com here is the Cavs’ point differential per 100 possessions with each combination of the Big Three on and off the court in the last three seasons.
|Combo||OFF eFF||DEF eFF||Point Differential|
|LeBron + Kyrie||1.16||1.1||+6|
|LeBron + Kevin||1.163||1.033||+13|
|Kevin + Kyrie||1.084||1.093||-0.9|
The Cavs are better when all three stars are on the court but not bad when its just LeBron and Kyrie. If Cleveland could have picked which player were to miss time the numbers suggest the team would be better off if Kyrie missed time over Love.
In the last three years Cleveland has played 29 games without Love (but with LeBron and Kyrie). The Cavs have gone 20-9 (69.0%) straight-up and 16-13 (55.2%) ATS in those games. The straight-up winning percentage is in line with the teams performance over all games during this span (68.6% straight-up) but the Cavs have covered more games against-the-spread than expected with Love out – 48.6% ATS in all games since 2014.
The Cavs will be fine without Love in the lineup and there could be value betting Cleveland in the first few games that the team plays without its All-Star forward as casual bettors overreact to the injury news.
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