The Cleveland Cavaliers had an inconsistent opening round but they are moving on in the playoffs.
There is literally only one reason why the Cleveland Cavaliers advanced to the second round to face the Toronto Raptors: LeBron James. If James was just a top 10-20 player, I would have had my reservations about guaranteeing Cleveland’s advancement.
Now, I am pumped, I am glad Cleveland got past the Indiana Pacers but they cannot repeat the type of play they had again in a series versus the best team in the east. Cleveland has work to do.
Whether it was bad defense, questionable lineups, poor coaching or players disappearing, there was always something impacting and risking the Cavs’ chances of winning. Not to mention the Pacers simply took it to Cleveland for all seven games, which at times Cleveland did not have an answer for.
Unlike the Pacers, the Cavaliers struggled to win a game that was not close. Their biggest win differential was four two different times. Four! That cannot cut it and is too close for anyone to be comfortable looking ahead to the second round.
With Kevin Love‘s inconsistency, Cleveland has been playing one (LeBron) versus five for way too long. Yes, there are others that contribute but nowhere to the point that Cleveland would hope for.
Speaking of which, as Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz points out, it has been the LeBron show this postseason.
Those numbers say all anyone needs to know right there. Indiana wasn’t experienced but Toronto is. It would be superb to believe in the changes Cavs head coach Ty Lue makes but that is not happening. If the Cavaliers don’t have someone putting up between 20-25 points every game alongside James, then Cleveland will be in trouble.
The poor defense at times is on the players as are the disappearances. It’s destined for poor coaching and questionable lineups to be on the court in round two. During those situations, the players cannot control that. They can however control how well they play while they are out there.
Cleveland will have their hands full dealing with Jonas Valanciunas, DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, and company. As long as the Cavs do everything in their power to not replicate round one then that’s a win by itself. The goal is another championship but they need to go game by game to do that.