The Cavs are now halfway through their first battle. 2-0. But the fight has not progressed without casualties. Defense still remains to be (somewhat) an issue, and J. R. Smith has gone down with an apparent hamstring injury. All in all, the 2017 NBA playoffs has begun with them defending their home court. Now it’s on to the road where role players play better and stars shine the brightest.
The Pacers have gotten their fair share of looks that they wanted. It initially would seem as if the Cavs defense is more porous than Swiss cheese. However, a ton of points are coming by way of Paul George heroics. Take a look at the complete playoff picture and show me who’s made tougher shots than PG13 himself. He’s shooting 48.7% from the field in the series but needs help from his teammates. The Pacers received 16 points from Thaddeus Young and 23 points from Jeff Teague in Game 2. What they could have done without was a 25-minute, 2-point output from Monta Ellis. Luckily they are heading home where they’ll likely get a more balanced effort.
Indiana must continue to play with effort and confidence as exuded in the first two games of the series. The moment this team feels defeated, they might as well pack their bags and head home. George, Stephenson, and Teague need to lead by example at home to squeeze out some victories. The problem? The Cavs overwhelming offense.
They Cavs have shot 53.8% and 55.3% respectively in Games 1 and 2. What they lack in defense, they possess on offense. The well oiled 3-point shooting barrage is enough to get them to the NBA Finals. They’re shooting 40.6% on average behind the arc for the series. Bombs away!
When we opine on the Cavs gameplay, we only consider greatness, the Warriors. Every Cavs achievement is evaluated from a Finals perspective. The Cavs now need 10 more wins to reach a third straight NBA Finals. This means there’s still time to insert small tweaks on defense to get them prepared for their most likely opponent. The question now isn’t whether they can stop their opponent, but can the opponent stop them? The Cavs are confident enough in their offense to take them to the promise land. Why not?