After the buzzer sounded in Atlanta, the Cleveland Cavaliers left behind the most amazing team performance that the NBA hasn’t seen in years.
Cleveland’s 77 threes in four games marked something absolutely remarkable, given that the record for threes made in a playoff series was; and still is 79, a record ironically held by the Hawks themselves.
However, Atlanta had seven games to do it. Cleveland did it in four.
So what is the reason for all of this? Is Cleveland just hot? Have they just been enjoying good shootarounds?
Well, they must be doing something right. And that something might just be the way they have been moving the ball since the dawn of the playoffs.
In fact, Cleveland has been moving the ball perhaps the best in this year’s playoffs, maybe only topped by the Spurs. However, the Spurs are having trouble dismantling the Oklahoma City Thunder in a series tied 2-2.
The Cavs are making it too easy. They remain the only undefeated team in this year’s playoffs. Obviously, there is still a distant gap in talent compared to their western counterparts, but they haven’t had too much trouble in taking down their opponents.
This leaves many wondering.
Is this the Cleveland we expected to see when we saw a smiling Kevin Love hold a wine and gold number zero jersey? The team led by the returning hero, LeBron James? A team that had its franchise point guard in Kyrie Irving?
Well, it might just be.
Cleveland is coming together, once and for all and with Tyronn Lue at the helm, the Cavaliers’ improvement has become apparent, particularly in Kevin Love.
Love struggled with the system of former head coach David Blatt, and the constant animosity of the locker room may have also had its drastic effects.
Cavs’ Tyronn Lue urged Love to play like a ‘bad m—–f—–.’ https://t.co/vUcyqwNi6a pic.twitter.com/KdvtevPTeL
— theScore (@theScore) May 9, 2016
Lue’s locker room impact has shown in the recent play of the Cavaliers. The Cavs’ are finally playing with the attitude that I have felt has been missing for quite some time.
Poor chemistry, and they don’t have the championship caliber drive of a GSW https://t.co/6wKUKwAsRE
— Hussein Murray (@murrayhusseinHN) April 7, 2016
Not only is Love improving, but so is the Cavs’ J.R. Smith, who has been one of the heads of the three-point barrage that is Cleveland.
It seems as though all of the Cavaliers are finally trying too. At least when it matters most.
Remember when the Golden State Warriors entered Quicken Loans Arena and demolished the Cavaliers? Well, the lack of effort present there, if any effort at all, was an alarming sign for the Eastern Conference leader.
This is not the Cavs we knew months ago. This is a new team. Hungry for a championship. Hungry to surprise those who have predicted one of the members of the three-headed monster out west in Oklahoma City, Oakland, and San Antonio.
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith even had to agree.
RIGHT NOW the @cavs deserve to be the favorites. https://t.co/7ORE0VBNa2
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) May 9, 2016
Regardless of whoever the Cavs might face in the Conference Finals, this is most certainly the team we expected years ago. The team that was supposed to dominate the NBA instead of Golden State, but became dismantled under Blatt’s apparent lack of leadership.
Maybe it wasn’t ball-movement. Maybe the Cavaliers finally followed LeBron’s suit and all went “playoff mode”.