When your best player (LeBron) scores 34 points and your second best player (Kyrie) scores 35 points, you know there was something important riding on that game. Well, last night, the Cavaliers clinched the number one seed in the Eastern Conference with a statement win over the Atlanta Hawks. This also solidifies home court advantage all the way until the NBA Finals.
Though, if they were to play the Spurs or the Warriors in the finals, they would not have the home court advantage against either one of those teams.
With the win by Cleveland, it means that Toronto has locked up the number two seed in the Eastern Conference. Even though they didn’t achieve the top seed, they did what they could to keep Cleveland on their toes. If Cleveland had locked this up a week ago, they would have already rested their starters. Making the starters play basically the whole 82 games, is something that could prove to be an advantage for Toronto if they were to face Cleveland.
Cleveland’s road to the finals is an interesting one. Last year, they were a great team on the defensive side of the ball, and were weak in their offensive game because of the Kevin Love and Irving injuries that were sustained in the playoffs. This year, if both are healthy, we know what they can do offensively, but how will they be defensively.
Some will say that it was because they were just facing weak opponents. That could very well be the case. They may not match-up well with a team like Miami, which is scary for Cleveland, because Miami is very capable of an upset. But would LeBron let that happen in a 7 game series? Money would still be likely on Cleveland.
They could worry about Atlanta or Toronto, but they swept Atlanta in the playoffs last year and the Raptors, well, still have the reputation of being the Raptors, which is a team of inconsistency down the stretch.
Cleveland has had some bad losses this season, no question about it. They have had drama and turmoil virtually the whole season. They have an easy road to the Finals, yes, and they could be facing a very good team once they get to the finals.
For Cleveland, it may be just finding a way to avoid the off-court stuff, leaving it all on the floor, coming together as a team, and not trying to beat themselves up.