Another series, another sweep for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Tyronn Lue’s squad is moving on to the Eastern Conference final for the third straight season after taking care of the Toronto Raptors in the minimum amount of games.
And save me the Kyle Lowry excuses, Raptors fans. Yes, he is your team’s second best player and an all star. But outside of Cleveland, no one cares the Warriors won The Finals in 2015 because Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love were out.
Also, no one cares outside of northeast Ohio that Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar couldn’t start in the World Series.
It’s a loser’s lament. We get it, it has happened to our teams, but in the end, people won’t remember. Besides, the Cavs were dominating the Raptors (sorry, Dwayne Casey) before Lowry sprained his ankle.
So, as a result of the sweep, the veteran Cavs will probably get another week off before they take on the winner of the series between the Celtics and Wizards.
Just think how good the Cavaliers can be if Kyrie Irving ever starts shooting the ball well. Irving shot under 40% from the floor in this series (37.5%), although he was better from three point range in the conference semi-finals.
It was another incredible performance by the sport’s best player, LeBron James. The King averaged 36 points per game against Toronto, shooting 57.3% from the floor, hitting 48% of his long range shots.
He complemented the scoring and shooting by adding 8 rebounds and 7 assists in the series. It has taken the post-season for everyone around the country to appreciate the greatness of LeBron James.
During the regular season, all basketball fans heard about were Russell Westbrook, James Harden, and to a lesser extent, Kawhi Leonard.
All three had tremendous regular seasons, but since the playoffs have started, James is reminding everyone who the best player in basketball still is.
Another thing this series showed is the transformation of JR Smith. Smith came to Cleveland with the reputation as a shooter without a conscience, but now can be put on the opponents’ best wing scorer, and put him in check.
Smith’s defense of DeMar DeRozan in the first two games of the series was a big key. Add that to the job he did against Paul George in the first round, he is a huge for what Cleveland wants to do defensively.
Back to Irving, he did a great job passing in this series, averaging 8.5 assists in the four games. When Irving gets seven assists or more in a game, the Cavs are 23-6 for the season, including the playoffs.
And when Irving is being rested, Deron Williams has played very well. He was on the floor when Cleveland busted open game three in Toronto, just as he was in the big comeback win over the Pacers in round one.
Finally, Kyle Korver was huge in the last two games of the series, hitting two huge three on Friday and going crazy in the second quarter today with 16 points on four three pointers.
And the defense continues to improve too, which was a huge concern going into the post-season. When Toronto missed shots, Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love gathered up the misses.
So, the Cavs are back in the NBA Final Four, the conference finals. Even if Boston wins the series in five (the quickest it can be over), it will probably be the upcoming weekend before the next series starts.
That’s the biggest benefit for winning early.