Exciting news for all of you Cleveland Cavalier fans. The CAVS have advanced in the play offs defeating the Indiana Pacers tonight. The next round for the CAVS will be a lot tougher for them. The CAVS will face the Toronto Raptors this coming Tuesday. The Raptors are the eastern conference number one team. The Raptors have played incredibly tough the entire season with the help of DeMar DeRozan. DeMar has played spectacular all season and has definitely caught my eye.
The CAVS have beat the Raptors in the last few games which did surprise me. The CAVS have also defeated the Boston Celtics a few times over this season. The Celtics are number 2 in the Eastern Conference. Boston has even defeated the Warriors in this years regular season. So my question is, how is it that the CAVS can beat the top two teams in the eastern conference in the regular season but struggle with teams like the Pacers and the Bucks who have not played near as well as the Raptors and the Celtics all year?
During this years playoffs , while watching the CAVS and the Pacers, I often wondered why Tyronne Lue did not keep the same starters he had the last three years? The only starter the CAVS are missing this year is Kyrie Irving who was traded to Boston this season. Otherwise, the CAVS still have their 4 remaining starters of James, Love, Thompson, and Smith. If it isnt broken, don’t try to fix it was always my motto. However, Tyrone Lue kept changing the starting line up with replacing Thompson with Love as center.Having Love play center just wasn’t and isn’t working. Thompson was never known to be one of the higher scorers on the team, but he plays a pivitol role with the CAVS. Thompson is a great rim protector. If you watch Thompson, he clearly has the height that the team needs to block some shots, and he is a fantastic rebounder which is vital for the team. He is also great at getting those just barely shots that just miss the basket into the hoop. Thompson plays well with LeBron and on many occasions has saved LeBrons ball that barely missed, but Thomas was right there at the hoop to get it in for the two points.
Thompsons presence showed tonight and his talent really came through as he rebounded, blocked, made some shots, and played defense really well tonight. I was so happy that Tyronne Lue FINALLY put Tristian into the rotation and gave him plenty of minutes which caused havoc for the Pacers. Tyrone Lue has been playing Hill, Clarkson, Korver, Calderone, and Hood rotating all of them in the starter line up trying to find what fits the best. Before Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder were traded, Tyronne tried placing them in the starting line up as well. Sometimes Tyronne would take out Smith and Thompson out of the starting lineup and add others in. It looked hopeless. Then finally, like a lightbulb switch had been turned on and Lue FINALLY got it thorugh his thick skull that the starting lineup he had all along in the last 3 years was and is the best lineup he ever had and it showed tonight. LeBron played his usual scoring in the 40’s, Smith’s defense and opening the floor for his point guard was on point this game, Tristian Thompson was rebounding and protecting the rim like the wonderful Center he is, and Love, who was shaky on his shots was able to open the floor space a little more for LeBron as he was being double teamed all night as usual. Korver was a starter tonight and played decent, although, lets be real, the CAVS has just not been able to really fullfill Kyrie’s shoes.
With all that being said, I have noticed without Kyrie Irving, LeBron is having to play extra tough in these playoffs. LeBron is having to score in the 40’s just to barely beat a team that has played less then stellar all season. The CAVS still do not have that solid shooter that Kyrie was. The CAVS are certainly missing a great point guard. Infact, LeBron has been playing point guard as Kevin has played center. Tonights game we seen Kevin take on the Power Foward role with Tristian Thompson back as Center, LeBron James as point guard and it worked.
The big question on everyones mind is, can the CAVS beat the Raptors in 4 games to advance further into the playoffs? Afterall, the Raptors are the number one team in the eastern conference and the CAVS are missing an important piece of the puzzle: Kyrie Irving. Many people say, “but we have LeBron, CAVS are good”. However, the CAVS really struggled with a team that really is no where near the caliber of Boston or the Raptors and they are missing another guy who can consistently shoot well other then LeBron. LeBron needs some help with scoring. Does he need to make over 40 points a night just to barely win a game? Who is going to step up to the plate and score like Kyrie did when he was with the CAVS?
Tune in Tuesday to watch the Cleveland Cavaliers take on the Raptors in round 2 of the playoffs. LETS GO CAVS!