Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Halfway there...

The Cavaliers just keep giving us more reasons to love them. Last night they completed their second consecutive playoff sweep with an 84-74 win (highlights) to finish off the overmatched Hawks in Atlanta. This marks the Cavs' eighth consecutive playoff win by a double-digit margin, yet another NBA record in a season full of them. And stop and think about this for a second: the Cavs have now gone 74-16 in their 90 games this season - a winning percentage of .822! As Fred McLeod pointed out on the Fox Sports Ohio postgame wrap, they would have to finish their remaining schedule at .500 or worse just to not win the NBA championship. I know there is still a lot of work left and we don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves, but any Cleveland fan has to be excited right about now.

The Hawks will be seeing a streaking LBJ in their nightmares for a while

Last night's game was definitely the worst the Cavs have looked in this postseason. Closeout games are always the toughest to get, especially on the road. And the Hawks weren't willing to roll over and die like Detroit. The Cavs' offense was very stagnant for long stretches. They didn't shoot particularly well. And their free-throw shooting (14-of-26 for 58.8%) was horrendous. But they again brought the one thing that will consistently help them through the inevitable tough stretches of the playoffs - their defense. Again it was suffocating last night as they held Atlanta to just 31.5% shooting from the floor (including just 2-of-13 from long range). My personal favorite moments of the night were Wally's dunk in the second quarter (is it just me, or is Wally moving a lot better lately?), Delonte's emphatic slam in the fourth quarter, and Mo's two three-point daggers in the 4th quarter. LeBron had an off-shooting night by his own high standards (9-of-22), but still finished with a near triple-double at 27/8/8. And Z had his second straight solid game going for 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Overall, this series was another extremely impressive performance by the Cavs. Yes, they were supposed to be where they are now. But the convincing manner in which they were able to achieve both sweeps has to be alarming to both Boston and Orlando. Unfortunately now the wait begins for the Eastern Conference Finals. I've read some conflicting stuff this morning, and I'm not even sure if anything is official at this point... but it looks like if the Celtics/Magic series ends in six games then ECF Game 1 at the Q would be next Monday the 18th. And if it goes seven then we are looking at a start date of Wednesday the 20th. So no matter what it will be at least another 6-day layoff. But yet another opportunity for the guys to get plenty of rest. What's maddening to us fans is actually more beneficial towards achieving the ultimate goal. And we've already waited 45 years, so what's another 6 or 8 days, right? Eight down, eight to go. Go Cavs.