The Cavs came, the Cavs saw, and the Cavs conquered their competition thus far. LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers find themselves back in the Eastern Conference Finals for a second consecutive season as they ran through the Atlanta Hawks 4-0. This was the second straight sweep for the Cavs. In Game two tables turned for the worst, as the Cavs hosted a record breaking 3-point barrage at the Quicken Loans Arena. JR Smith (who hit seven threes) and company didn’t let up throughout this contest as they went 25/45 from downtown. Astonishingly, this is LeBron’s sixth straight conference finals appearance. There isn’t a team playing better basketball than the Cavs in the playoffs and their undefeated record speaks for itself. One more series win and LeBron James will find himself back in the finals for six seasons in a row.
Cleveland’s “Big 3” has been firing on all cylinders during the playoffs and coach Tyron Lue has been the igniter for the trio. Lue has made the changes that were necessary to get more players involved at an efficient level, such as Kevin Love and JR Smith. The two of them are shooting at a high percentage from deep, with Love at 44% and Smith at 50%. The young, swift, and noble point guard Kyrie Irving has been the most consistent guard in this year’s playoffs. He’s averaging 24 points and 5 assists in eight games, giving fans what they wanted to see out the fourth year guard out of Duke University. The ball is in his hands more as he gets a lot of screens, isolation calls or baskets in transition as his open court skills are magnificent. His handles and quick decision making with the ball makes guarding him extremely difficult as he maneuvers faster than your average guard. Kevin Love has been showing flashes of his former self, as coach Lue designed more plays to get him active down low. The versatile four is averaging a double-double in the postseason. When Love plays inside-out basketball as good as he has been, the opposing team will be in for a long night. LeBron has been solid as always, playing all-around basketball and making plays when they count the most. James has been excellent at rallying his team, getting them involved early while not forgetting to make his presence felt on the scoring tip.
Cleveland also has a new weapon that was further revealed in the playoffs. Veteran forward Channing Frye has been more frequent in the rotation, averaging 8 points while shooting a stellar 62% from the field and 57% from 3-point land. The midseason acquisition of Frye from Orlando proved to be successful, especially in playoff time. While the top teams in the west are still battling it out to punch a ticket to the conference finals, Cleveland will be enjoying their beneficial break.
This Eastern Conference Finals has all the makings of a classic in two ways. Cleveland can find themselves battling the #2 seed, the Toronto Raptors as they took offense to LeBron’s comments. They felt as if LeBron implied that the battle was already won in the Raptors/Heat series with his opinionated statement. LeBron stated that he would like to play his good friend and former teammate Dwayne Wade in a playoff series. The two all-time greats have never met in the playoffs before and the opportunity for that is perfect right now. Standing in the way of that is the Toronto Raptors, who now holds a commanding 2-1 lead over the Heat. May the best man win as the war ready Cavaliers awaits them.