You really didn’t think the Cleveland Cavaliers were going to go 16-0 in the playoffs, did you?
That is why the Cavs’ 99-84 loss to Toronto last night doesn’t have us wringing our hands with despair.
After all, Cleveland still has a 2-1 series edge, and they didn’t do anything as damaging as losing the home court advantage in the Eastern Conference Finals.
The wine and gold shot 35.4% from the field in game three, and we believe most teams that shoot as poorly from the floor as Tyronn Lue’s squad did, would come to the same fate.
It is well documented that Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love shot a combined 4 for 28 from the floor last night, and we would bet that won’t happen again during the rest of the playoffs, let alone this series.
The Raptors were playing their first conference finals game in the history of the franchise, and they were up to the challenge, and their fans were rightfully excited for the team’s premier foray to the NBA’s final four.
There was a lot of emotion in the building and the Cavaliers didn’t diffuse it early in the game.
Love missed some shots early and seemed hesitant to be more active offensively, and Irving missed some contested drives to the hoop in the first quarter as well, but he seemed to take the Raptors’ bait, and continued to try to get to the basket by going through four Toronto players instead of moving the ball and letting someone else have open looks.
“Bad” Kyrie made his first appearance of the playoffs.
However, we will write this off as one bad game, and after the dominance the Cavs have displayed for most of the post-season, they are entitled to a off night.
Now, it’s Tyronn Lue who has to make some adjustments instead of trying to come up with counters to what he thinks the opponent will come up with.
We would guess Lue will try to get Irving and Love some easy looks early, so they can get the taste of game three out of their mouths as early as possible. No doubt, LeBron James will help provide them with those looks.
Defensively, the wine and gold need to slow down DeMar DeRozan early. He had his mid-range game going in the first half, although JR Smith was in good position defensively for many of those attempts.
As for Bismack Biyombo, who had the game of his life Saturday night with 26 rebounds, Lue said it best. The Cavs’ coach said the Raptor big man had a lot of boards because Cleveland missed a lot of shots.
However, they need to continue to make open shots difficult for Kyle Lowry and Terrence Ross, because if either can get their three point shot down, it could make game four a difficult proposition.
To be blunt, the Raptors played perhaps their best game of the playoffs and the Cavaliers played their worst, and the outcome was still in doubt halfway through the fourth quarter.
And even if Toronto can hold serve and win Monday night, two of the next three games will be at Quicken Loans Arena.
Relax, it’s the playoffs. It’s not supposed to as easy as it has been thus far.
LeBron James and his crew will play better in game four. And Irving and Love will not shoot 14% for the entire game.