Cleveland Cavaliers Playoff Preview

(David Liam Kyle/NBAE/Getty Images)

(David Liam Kyle/NBAE/Getty Images)

LeBron James last year took the best team in the league by a wide margin to 6 games with two of the Cavs all stars not being available. We really saw what greatness lied with LeBron and now we see if the loss last year can motivate the team to take the next step and get the city of Cleveland the pro championship they have been yearning for over 50 years now. In the offseason the Cavs resigned both Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson (one of these two things should not have happened) and made LeBron happy bringing together most of the squad that fought with him last year and both of the all stars Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving returning to the floor. So far Cleveland this year has been an after thought to the Spurs and Warriors, and I’m sure LeBron is not happy about it and will make up for that this postseason.

Kevin Love has improved in a major way. Well at least when Kyrie was not playing but we will get to that part later. When it was just LeBron and Love on the floor the two started finding a chemistry together and Love was being used in the offense so much more than he was last year. A portion of this should be attributed to Lue and LeBron who seem to have made a concerted effort to give him more touches and put him in a better position to exceed. Last year Blatt had Love regulated to standing in the corner most of the time and not getting any movement. This year that had changed and we saw more sets and plays than involved Love in the high post where I believe he is most useful. He has not reached his full potential in Cleveland in my opinion, but nevertheless he has been used more which is a positive for the team.

Then there is Kyrie Irving. I have not had a chance to go back and analyze Kyrie’s game alone, but damn was he always so against passing the ball? Kyrie Irving is one of the most gifted players in the NBA today. He has a beautiful handle, is probably a top 3 finisher in the league, and is an very lethal shooter as well. With that being said the Cavs have looked worse with him out on the floor. LeBron has not been very good at hiding his frustration and it has been noticeable that in many cases when Kyrie has the ball at the top of the key LeBron will not hide the fact he has no intention of moving, and if I had to guess it might have something to do with the fact that more than likely Kyrie is not going to pass him the ball. Kyrie becomes disinterested on defense, which is only exasberated with Love out on the floor who has 0 clue on what to do on that end of the floor. The team had ball movement before Kyrie and they need to find that again. This might work on teams in the East but they have no chance against the Spurs or Warriors with the way they are playing currently.

Then there is the man who keeps everything running and has almost taken what seems like a backseat to Curry this year and that man is LeBron James. LeBron is essential to everything the team is. The team was bad enough to earn the #1 overall pick before he got there and was only 2 games from a championship just one year from then. Now they look to finish the deal and LeBron by casual fans (and of course there are always the geniuses of First Take) is becoming known as the guy who loses in the finals. Most people know that is not fair and it is impressive enough that he has made it to the final stage as many times as he has. He is one of the best playoff performers of all time and somehow he does not get the recognition he deserves for that. Going into the postseason though it is clear LeBron’s mind is ready as he got in playoff mode early and averaging 28.4 points a game, 8.0 rebounds a game, 8.5 assists a game, on 62.0% from the field, and 51.9% from 3. Needless to say he is prepared for the last portion of the season and is looking to be crowned a champion once again.

The Cavs face the Pistons in the playoffs who LeBron had a historic performance against the Pistons in his first stint as a Cav, and I’m sure that will be played multiple times in the montage build up videos before every game of this series. Stan Van Gundy, the coach of the Pistons, has had success against LeBron in the past but this is a completely different beast now, and while I love the Pistons and what they are doing I believe the Cavs have too much firepower for them and down them in 5. 

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