Ten up, ten down. The Cleveland Cavaliers just keep rolling.
Yes, after embarrassing the Raptors by 31 points in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Cavs delivered more of the same in Game 2, leading by double figures for the entire second half and winning, 108-89.
The Cavs are just two wins from the NBA Finals – and fans are going crazy.
“At first, it was a little lukewarm because of the way the team played during the regular season, even though they did win 57 games,” Cavs TV color analyst Austin Carr said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “But people were expecting so much, and right from the beginning, it was always about trying to (get to) the top (of the East and holding on to the No. 1 seed).”
Well, not anymore. The Cavs got the No. 1 seed – by one game, actually – and haven’t looked back. They’re a perfect 10-0 in the playoffs and have won five of their last six games by double digits, including both games against Toronto. In fact, they’ve beaten the Raptors by a combined 50 points through the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals.
“People are starting to get giddy now,” Carr said. “That quest for the championship is starting to become a reality now and they really are starting to feel it now. The town is really on fire right now with Cavaliers fever.”
The best part of all this? James isn’t carrying the Cavs. He’s led the team in scoring just twice this postseason and just once in the last eight games. Kyrie Irving leads the team with 24.8 points per game, while Kevin Love is contributing 18.4 points and a team-high 10.9 rebounds.
James is still averaging a ridiculous stat line (23.5 points, 8.7 rebounds and 7.3 assists), but it’s been a balanced attack – and a far cry from what we saw in last year’s NBA Finals, when it was LeBron or bust.
Cleveland fans, perhaps the most long-suffering fans in America, are truly starting to believe.
“At this point, I think what’s happening is people are just starting to get a good feel for it,” Carr said. “The way they ended the season and the way they played the season, we didn’t see this coming. Everybody is starting to get a little used to this style of ball – up and down the floor, passing the ball all the time, playing good defense. Everything is starting to come in focus now. Everybody is starting to get a little giddy now. The fans are starting to pick up their pace.”
The Cavs aren’t afraid of the Warriors, either. Yes, they’ve lost five straight games to Golden State dating back to the Finals, but they won’t be afraid of a rematch. In fact, they’re hoping for it.
“I think so,” Carr said. “Knowing how this team functions and knowing how they go, they really don’t care who they play. But believe me, in the back of their mind, they want to (play) Golden State at full strength. I know that’s what they’re looking for.”