The Wizards don't know their next round opponent and would be an underdog against the likely foe, top-seeded Atlanta Hawks. Therefore looking ahead to the Eastern Conference final and potential adversary on the other side of the bracket screams premature.
That doesn't mean it's not worth noting that Kevin Love won't be playing for the Cavaliers for a couple of weeks. J.R. Smith will also take a seat for a bit.
Cleveland announced the power forward sustained a left shoulder dislocation during the first quarter of yesterday’s game in Boston vs. the Celtics. "Love will be unavailable for the Cavaliers upcoming Conference Semifinal playoff series and an update regarding his status beyond that will be determined over the next several days," the team announced in a statement on Monday.
The Cavaliers advanced to the semifinals with a 4-0 sweep of the Boston Celtics. The No. 2 seed will likely face third seed Chicago. The Bulls lead the Milwaukee Bucks 3-1 in the best of 7 series.
With LeBron James, Kyrie irving and Love, the Cavaliers entered the postseason as the favorite to come out of the East. For now that remains the case, but Cleveland will also be without Smith the first two games of the semifinals. The scoring guard was suspended two games by the NBA on Monday for an incident "during which he swung his arm and made contact with the head of Celtics forward Jae Crowder." Smith received a Flagrant Foul 2 and was ejected in the third quarter.
The Cavaliers are still loaded with James and Irving, arguably the top two players in the next series regardless of opponent. However, the Bulls, led by Derrick Rose and Pau Gasol, are deep and experienced, making a potential series closer to a toss-up than imagined 36 hours prior.
Boston Celtics forward Kelly Olynyk, who became entangled with Love which resulted in the injury, was suspended one game. Olynyk "yanked" Love's arm down, according to the league. He will serve his suspension in the first game of the 2015-16 NBA regular season.