The Cleveland Cavaliers are 9-0 this postseason. They’ve won six games by double figures – including four of their last five – and they’ve hit 141 three-pointers. They’ve maintained an incredible pace and an incredible rhythm.
“They have. I just don’t know what to make of it,” USA Today NBA writer Sam Amick said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “Admittedly, I spend more time writing and talking about the West just because I’m based on the West Coast and you could probably accuse me of having a West Coast bias. But the West is so much stronger than the East. I have a ton of respect for what the Cavs have done, but I also told one of the Warriors assistant coaches tonight, ‘You guys took such a hard time for your path to the championship last year, with people saying you avoided the Clippers, you avoided the Spurs. The Cavs’ likely paths to the Finals is going to be one of the easiest we’ve ever seen.’ And so, they’ve been dominant and you cannot say anything negative whatsoever about what they’ve done to this point. They’ve taken care of business. They’ve done what they’re supposed to do.”
But again, Amick – and a lot of people – don’t know what to make of it.
“You’re talking about the Pistons and the Hawks and the Raptors – and really, at this point, Detroit looks like they put up the best fight of anybody,” Amick said. “So how that looks in the Finals and how they size up against either the Warriors or the Thunder, I don’t know. But they’re doing what they got to do.”
Four Cavs – the Big Three + J.R. Smith – are averaging double figures in the playoffs. Kyrie Irving (24.7 points per game) leads the team in scoring. Kevin Love (11.6 rebounds per game) leads the team on the glass. LeBron James (6.9 assists) has been the team’s primary facilitator.
It’s been nice, it’s been easy, it’s been fluid.
“LeBron is not having to carry the load like he did last year,” Amick said. “He’s getting a lot of help. We’re starting to see their Big Three coalesce a little bit like they didn’t last year. They’re checking all the right boxes. I can’t wait to see how it looks in the Finals. It’s just obviously not a lot of drama on the Eastern side of things, and they’re going to wind up waiting for who comes out of the West.”
If Amicks’ prediction holds true, it will be the Warriors, who responded to their Game 1 loss with a 118-91 blowout win in Game 2 on Wednesday. Steph Curry scored 15 straight points in less than two minutes in the third quarter to turn a semi-close game into a rout.
“Steph in Game 1 was quasi-human,” Moore said. “He didn’t have a great game. He hit one shot in the fourth quarter. And you knew there was this nuclear option that the Warriors had, (but) the Thunder played great D and they suppressed what the Warriors could do in that second half and they were dominant. But in this game, you saw why it’s going to be so incredibly challenging for the Thunder to actually pull off this series. I think it’s going to be a deep series. I picked them in seven to begin this thing, and I think that’s still a good bet.”
It’s all because of Curry.
“The Steph factor is huge,” Moore said. “If you’re Billy Donovan, you’re going to have a hard time sleeping. It’s so hard to keep Steph Curry in check and keep these moments from happening. But as we saw tonight, you blink and they happen and the next thing you know, you’re down 20.”