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#43

Thoughts on the games tonight? I think Cleveland continues their march toward a sweep, and Spurs get one back, potentially in a rout that looks nearly as ugly as last game’s.


#44

I certainly hope the Cavs keep rolling tonight. Game 1 was certainly a game of streaks, but I’m glad they took over in the 3rd and didn’t really give the Raptors a way back in. Winning those first two at home is supper important.

Spurs game is going to be interesting. Who do you think has a better chance to beat the Warriors? Because I’d rather have them win because I wouldn’t want to face them in the finals (assuming Cavs make it obvi).


#45

I think the 2014 Spurs vs. this Warriors Team would be one of the best Series’ of all time. I think the Rockets have a slightly better chance this year because of their high variance style (ie they could hit 30 threes in a game and blow the roof off). But barring injury I think both the Spurs and the Rockets have about a 1% chance to beat the Warriors.

Relatedly, I heard a stat on Zach Lowe’s podcast that Lebron has played in 13 straight (I think?) playoff series’ where his team has won a game on the road. Dude is just unbelievable. Also, the way he flexes on Brands trying to make money off his image makes me so happy. http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/19304034/great-lakes-brewing-company-backs-tweets-anger-lebron-james

“I heard they were the same company that made those ‘Quitness’ beers [which made fun of LeBron leaving Cleveland for Miami], and now they’re trying to benefit off me this way? Yeah, it’s pretty funny.”


#46

The LeBron playoff stat I’m most impressed with right now is his 21 game win streak in the first round. That’s 5 sweeps in a row. I know the 8th seed usually isn’t very good, but the fact he’s had that many sweeps in a row in a playoff setting is insane. He literally took over Game 3 against the Pacers and was the only reason they came back from the 26 point deficit. That was a thing of beauty to watch.


#47

God damn does it feel good to be Cavs fan when they actually decide to try and put in effort on both sides of the floor. They are looking so good right now, even with Kyrie and K-Love not playing at peak level offensively. They are both more than pulling their own weight defensively, Our role players have finally decided to show, Shumpert in particular, and LeBron is playing peak playoff ball again. It’s great to see 'Bron actually putting in effort on both sides of the floor because it reminds you and emphasizes the fact he is not only the best player in the world, but it’s honestly not really that close. He just completely picked apart the raptors on both ends and he didn’t even looked like he was breaking a sweat. This is the first time I’ve been optimistic of our championship chances in months, honestly.


#48

I the only thing I would say is, remember the East is much weaker than the western conference. Just because the Cavs are likely to sweep the Raptors, I think most people picked the Cavs to win the series.

I mean lets be honest, did anyone really think the Raptors had a real shot? They nearly lost to the Bucks.


#49

I honestly give Toronto more of a shot to take a game than any other team in the east quite frankly. They are the better constructed team and have more weapons than either Boston or Washington. You are right that the Cavs were supposed to beat them but what is encouraging is seeing them actually put in the effort right now. That Pacers series was BAD to watch because it honestly looked like they were sleepwalking throughout the entire series, aside from that ridiculous second half comeback. The Cavs seem to have actually turned up the intensity in a way I haven’t seen them do in a very long time. Moreover they have actually managed to sustain the effort over two games which is very encouraging as well. I absolutely agree that there is a big difference between the eastern conference semi’s and going up against Houston, GS or San Antonio but you just seeing the Cavs actually start taking the game seriously and deliver from buzzer to buzzer is a really big deal for me, considering how sloppy they’ve been for the past few months.


#50

The only point that I disagree with is the idea that Boston or Washington are lesser in terms of team construction, than the Raptors.

I think people overestimated the influence of an aging Ibaka on the Raptors roster, and they forget the fact that Jonas/Lowery/Carroll were under performing. I mean Jonas has had a good post up in nearly a month.

Also, Boston has the depth to compete with the Cavs. So long as Boston keeps Irving in PNR’s, the Celtics are guaranteed to be getting some great looks for Thomas.


#51

Considering how they were playing against the rest of the East in their last few games it’s nice to see them playing to their full potential. It was pretty ugly.

Relevant:


#52

I guess I just don’t see anything from Boston that scares me one bit because they just don’t have the weapons necessary, and for as good as Isiah has been I don’t see him being as effective once he is in a match-up where you can’t hide him on defense. Even if you don’t stick him on Kyrie, and you shouldn’t because Kyrie would most likely kill him, there are simply too many shooters on the cavs who are too good at moving without the ball. At the same time the Cavs have a lot of very good perimeter defenders who can make Isiahs job harder on offense, and they have the opportunity to throw several different players at him to keep him guessing. Boston simply doesn’t have enough options on offense to threaten the Cavs and on top of that they have no one who can hope to stop LeBron.


#53

We also destroyed them in the last regular season game we played against them. And that’s when they were still fighting for the 1 seed so it was a full effort game. Abuse IT and you win.


#54

I think IT is channeling the ghost of 01 AI and isn’t gonna get swept. Also you put him on Shump/JR and let them beat you. Still think the Cavs are gonna roll just don’t think they’ll sweep the Celts.


#55

I was pretty sad the Bucks didn’t make it past the Raptors, but honestly, they played like shit those last few games.


#56

Oh yeah, I don’t see them sweeping either. Raps took it to Game 6 last year in the ECF so I expect something similar from Boston .


#57

Was having this conversation with friends watching the games last night, if the clippers had sent Blake to Boston at the deadline for some combination of brown, a pick, and other young asset (one of crowder Bradley smart etc) are they the favorite in the East this year ?


#58

No, I don’t think so. It helps them in terms of rebounding which they are struggling with against the Cavs, but it still doesn’t solve the LeBron problem at all and that’s not even talking about Griffins health issues. I would also argue that Griffins best years are behind him, sadly. Injuries have really fucked him over and I just don’t see him ever returning to that 2011-2012 level where was just so destructive and really enforced his physicality on opposing teams.

I would argue that the Celtics were smart not to blow their picks before the deadline, because it gives them a stronger bargaining position going into free agency. They will most likely scoop up one of Butler and Paul george if not both of them and they will most likely be able to retain most of their core regardless.


#59

Damn, I sure hope not. PG13 should feel free to take his talents west and join the Lakers haha. That would be a scary Boston team.


#60

I 100% agree with this but still think he’s an asset on the right team.


#61

Personally, I feel that Boston’s best weapon is Brad Stevens. Sure they don’t have enough weapons on offense to defeat the Cavs in a series. But I trust Stevens to find ways to help his team, which is more than I can say for Ty Lue.

The Cavs are also not some great defensive monster, especially when they play their shooter lineup of: Korver/Smith/Fyre/Love/Lebron. I should also mention that the Cavs have not used that lineup in the playoffs so it is hard to judge that opion without much statistical information to back it up.

So when it comes down to it, the best Cavs lineup of Irving/Shump/James/Love/Thompson at a point differential of +29 vs Boston’s Thomas/Bradley/Green/Crowder/Hordford with a +19. Now these are the best lineups with more than 20 mins of playoff basketball. At first glance anyone would say the Cavs have the edge, which is true.

The only problem is, when you look at the rest of Boston’s lineups, they have been experimenting quite a lot. As opposed to the Cavs who have mainly used three lineups in 6 games. To me, that says the Cavs are going to be in trouble when they face a deep team with quality. Boston has the depth, its just a matt of them making shots and forcing the Cavs to play outside of their 3 comfort lineups.


#62

Okay, there’s a lot I disagree with here, haha. Let’s see.

So, I agree that Brad Stevens is a wonderful coach, and what he has gotten out of the modest amount of talent on hand in Boston is pretty damn remarkable. Now, what I would say is that what Stevens does best, and what allows his teams to win as many games as they do, is that he is great getting his players to put in effort. No team plays harder in the regular season in the Celtics, no one. The problem with that in this case is, that when we get to playoffs every team plays hard, and that means that the biggest advantage the Celtics have from a coaching standpoint is more or less rendered moot. Now, this is not all Stevens brings to the table in terms of coaching. He has coached a very disciplined team, and they are not going to just wilt under pressure like the Raptors have had the tendency to do. In many ways Stevens is a great coach, but a series changer he is not, imo.

As for Ty Lue, I think you are kinda shortselling the work he is doing. It’s easy to look at the cavs and just give 'Bron all te credit, but Ty does a of things are incredibly important to the team and especially so in the playoffs. He is a great gameplanner who, when he has the time, is brilliant at finding exploiting weaknesses of team, something that he gets in abundance in the playoffs.

I will agree that the Cavs are far from a defensive monster, but I don’t necessarily think they have to against the celtics. They have the personel to contend with Thomas and Horford has been notoriously bad against the cavs frontcourt for years now. They have turned up the defensive intensity by a remarkable degree in the second round and I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility to expect them to continue that trend as they get closer to he finals.

As for experience with alternative line-up I think you are disregarding the amount of experimenting done by the cavs throughout the regular season. The cavs constantly change line-ups throughout the year, wether it be due to injuries or mid-season acquisition or simply experimentation for its own sake. Remember the massive line-up with Derrick Williams that dominated teams for a solid 2 weeks? that one is still in the chamber, just waiting to be loaded up. The Cavs bench is incredibly deep, even deeper than it was last year. They have breadth of role players who can interact with each other in ways that allow them to play pretty much any style they want, All thanks to LeBron.