The Cavaliers were able to punch their ticket to the NBA Finals for the second time in franchise history. The Cavs were able to complete the sweep over the Hawks with a 118-88 win on Tuesday night. Here’s what we learned from the series clinching win.
• Six Cavs can score in double figures in a closeout game. LeBron, Thompson, Mozgov, Irving, Dellavedova, and Smith all scored in double figures in the win. It’s great to see all the players get involved in the scoring and not just LeBron. Cleveland will need a well-rounded scoring attack to beat whomever comes out of the West. It’s good to see the Cavs get in a good rhythm in this one.
• Kyrie Irving can get buckets on one leg. It was clear he still wasn’t at 100% in Game 4. Kyrie hobbled his way to 16 points on 6 of 11 shooting. While he still didn’t look well, it was refreshing to see him back on the court. Irving’s presence alone helps the offense. Opposing defenses have to respect his scoring ability no matter how hurt he is. Kyrie will have until June 4th to get ready for the Finals. I expect him to look much more like the Kyrie of the regular season then.
• Cleveland continues to dominate the three point line. One of the keys to this series was being able to control the three point line. Throughout the series, the Cavaliers did an excellent job of shutting down Atlanta. In Game 4 they were a dreadful 5 of 32 (16%) from three-point range. That’s still impressive even though Kyle Korver wasn’t out there. It’s hard to limit any NBA team to 16% from distance, especially one that was a top five three-point shooting team during the season. On the other side of the court, the Cavs were 13 for 31 (42%) from behind the arc. Cleveland will need to continue to dominate the three point line to win the Finals.
• Joe Harris can score seven points in garbage time. I’m a little surprised every time he scores, even when it’s garbage time.
• J.R. Smith isn’t afraid to take a selfie in the middle of a press conference.
• The most physical team won again. Just like the rest of the series, the Cavaliers were the most physical team. In Game 4, the Cavaliers did a great job of controlling the paint. Cleveland out-rebounded Atlanta by 17 and were able to grab 13 on the offensive end. Cleveland’s physicality inside is one of the reasons this series only went four games.
• The Cavaliers have been transformed into a championship team. It’s truly amazing what has happened with this team. There has been no point in the playoffs where they looked like they were over their heads. They handled the adversity that was thrown at them in the Chicago series well, they overcame injuries to their second and third leading scorers, and they made a 60-win team quit. It’s hard to believe the difference a year makes.
• LeBron James can almost average a triple double in the series. LeBron dominated the Hawks the whole series. He did a great job of taking a high volume of shots, but still getting his teammates involved. He finished with 23/7/9 in the series clinching win. You can’t say enough about how impressive his performance was throughout the entire series. He’ll have to keep playing like this for the team to win the Finals.
Player of the Game: LeBron James (23/7/9)
The Finals will begin on June 4th. Enjoy this one Cleveland, you deserve it.
pic credit Cleveland.com