You may have been worried about LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers starting 0-2 against the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals.
In Games 1 and 2, the Cavaliers continued to struggle with their lack of defense and role player inconsistency. Celtics forward Jaylen Brown looked comfortable out there dropping 23 points in both games, hitting open shots while converting on tough takes to the basket.
Rookie Jayson Tatum and veteran All-Star Al Horford were playing like the series were already theirs. But the Celtics looked like a different team playing in Cleveland. The Cavaliers are starting to realize after Games 3 and 4 that it takes a TEAM effort to win this series.
LeBron James has been carrying most of the scoring load, averaging 32 points per game this series. His advantage shows mostly when posting up a smaller guard. Even with larger and tougher players guarding him, his fadeaway out of the post is lethal.
But this won’t be enough to win an NBA Championship. For the Cavaliers, other role players have to facilitate and play at their best.
In Game 3, the Cleveland Cavaliers began to show how there is no “I” in team.
All five Cavaliers starters (George Hill, J.R. Smith, James, Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson) finished with double digits, including Kyle Korver off the bench. Every starter but James combined for a total of 48 points in Game 3 compared to their combined totals of 44 points in both Games 1 and 2.
From scoring only eight points in both games in the Garden, Hill improved his scoring by getting 13 points in both Games 3 and 4. He helps run the offense with his great pick and roll point guard ability that allows him a good shot off the dribble.
Thompson and Love showing heart and determination, bring a great energy to the game. Thompson has shown why he’s a good big man with great rebounding ability. The more he and Love can battle together down low and box out the Celtics, they create more opportunities to score for the Cavs.
Kevin Love with a beautiful feed for a LeBron hammer!
Via @clippittv pic.twitter.com/KO5mJBUeO2
— Basketball Society (@BBallSociety_) May 20, 2018
Korver has to continued to be a consistent jump shooter in the series. His shooting performance makes his average the third highest for the Cavs with 11 points per game behind James and Love. What stood out the most was Korver’s intense defense when he captured three blocks in Game 4 against the Celtics.
This is crazy Kyle Korver really got Jaylen Brown out here looking like Papa Doc after Eminem exposes Cranbrook pic.twitter.com/NN7LvJOJn3
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) May 22, 2018
This is the level of play the Cavaliers have to play at to be successful. With a fully locked in starting five and bench depth, the Cleveland Cavaliers can make it to the NBA Finals. The more players who show up and compete will give them the greater chance of winning.