Duke in the NBA: Irving leads Cavaliers to conference finals, but Jones fined nearly all of his salaryBy Ben Leonard | 05/11/17 11:50pm
Several ex-Blue Devils have made headlines in the NBA conference semifinals, but only Kyrie Irving made a significant impact on the court.
Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers
Despite a lackluster shooting effort, Irving still helped lead the Cavaliers to a sweep of the Toronto Raptors to vault the reigning NBA champions back into the Eastern Conference Finals.
The shots have not been falling quite as frequently for Irving thus far this postseason, shooting just 28.1 percent from 3-point range and 40 percent from the field, nearly 8 percent worse than his regular season average.
But the former Duke star has still managed to make an impact with his scoring, averaging 22.2 points per game in the playoffs. Irving helped the Cavaliers close the series against Toronto on a high note, scoring 27 points and gathering nine assists.
The floor general found success as a facilitator against the Raptors, collecting two double-doubles while averaging 8.5 assists per game in the series, well above his regular season average of 5.8.
Irving's Cavaliers will face the winner of the series between the Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards, which Boston currently leads 3-2, with a chance to advance to their third straight NBA Finals.
Dahntay Jones, Cleveland Cavaliers
Despite only playing seven minutes in the Cavaliers’ series, Jones still managed to make headlines.
After signing a league minimum contract for just the final regular-season game, his first of the year, the 12-year veteran emerged from the depths of the bench in Game 1 against the Raptors and made his presence known, earning two technical fouls and hence an ejection.
After throwing down a jam with just 18 seconds on the clock and the game already in hand, the former Duke transfer shooting guard was given a technical for saying some choice words.
But Jones did not stop there—he kept jawing, this time saying something offensive to Toronto guard Norman Powell and punching himself a ticket to the locker room.
Those two technicals wound up costing Jones $6,000 in fines—nearly all of his salary. His teammate LeBron James paid the fine, but James didn’t let him get off completely for his mistake.
LeBron James on Dahntay Jones' ejection: "Enough is enough, stop getting kicked out against Toronto so I can stop paying your damn fines." pic.twitter.com/ZGz8UQhZw2— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) May 2, 2017
After that, Jones combined to see just four minutes the rest of the series, in which the only stat he managed to accrue was another foul.
Rodney Hood, Utah Jazz
Hood hit a 3-pointer to give the Jazz their first lead of the series in Game 3, but that was about it for his contributions in the playoffs, as the Golden State Warriors overwhelmed them in a clean sweep.
While battling a sore knee that eventually took him out of the series for good in Game 4, Hood combined to shoot just 1-for-15 from beyond the arc after shooting 37.1 percent from long range in the regular season. Hood is expected to be out for a month after suffering a knee strain but should return for summer camp.
Hood's production seemed to deteriorate along with his knee as the series went on, going from scoring 12 points in Game 1 to combining to score just 13 in the final three games when he made just six of his 26 field goal attempts.
"He's in a position where he's got to take some time off to heal," Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said to the Salt Lake Tribune. "It tells you a little bit about where he was coming from during that series. But I'm not concerned about his confidence."