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Cavaliers First Round Recap

Chad W. Lutz
​We still have the best player on the planet. That's what I'm going to continue telling myself. We have the best player on the planet and there is no need to worry. We just pulled off only the fourth playoff sweep in franchise history, saw inspiring individual performances from both our starters and our reserves, and probably went through the biggest test we've faced all year and came out unscathed. Well, mostly unscathed. There's that whole Kevin-Love-is-out-for-four-to-six-months elephant taking up space in our living rooms. Oh yeah, and J.R. Smith is suspended the first two games of the second round for clocking Jae Crowder in the grill. There is that, I suppose. But there's still a lot to believe in Cavaliers fans. Much to believe in.
The Tweek Heard Round The World:
Kelly Olynyk injures Kevin Love's left shoulder during Game 4 at the TD Garden in Boston April 26

​After dropping back-to-back regular season games to Boston in the final week of the season, largely to rest our star players, the Cavs stormed back in game one and handed the Celtics a firm 113-100 loss at The Q. A much less-injured Kevin Love and generally sprightly Kyrie Irving came out in their first postseason appearances and silenced critics who thought the young stars might not be playoff ready, thus limiting our chances of contending for a crown, despite our having the best player on the planet. Irving scored 30 and shot 5-9 from beyond the arc, while Kevin Love tabbed 19 points, 12 rebounds, and 4 assists. I would mention Lebron James' stat lines, but he's the best player on the planet and it's almost a waste of time. He was awesome. Moving on.

Game 2 was a little more of a grind for the Wine and Gold and provided fans with a glimpse of how games 3 and 4 would eventually play out. The Celtics were gritty, scrapping, and fought for rebounds, loose balls, and body positions the way you'd expect a playoff team to play. Game 2 saw improved individual performances from both Timofey Mozgov, who tallied 16 points and 7 rebounds in just 28 minutes, and Lebron James who scored 30, rebounded 9, and dished out 7 assists. Kyrie and Love both continued to play well, posting 26 and 13 respectively. The bench was pretty much non-existent in Game 2 but would come back with a vengeance for the final two games of the series in Boston.

Games 3 and 4 were pretty much carbon copies of each other, with Game 4 slightly different because of the large leads the Cavs held for most of the game and the bitter physicality the series took a turn for in the second half of the last game. In both games, Lebron took over in the fourth quarter, like the best player in the world that he is, and slammed the door on any chance of the Celtics taking either contest. Just as well, but there was collateral damage. We're without two of our starters for at least the first two games of the next round. One of them (Love) may even miss the beginning of training camp, which is in October, in case you were wondering.

But, look at it this way. Think back for a moment to the teams of the 2000s, the ones that one over 60 games and made it to the conference finals and NBA Finals. Remember the personnel on those teams? Ira Newble? Damon Jones? Larry Hughes? Sasha Pavlovic? Drew Gooden? Those were our go-tos. I'll give you Mo Williams because the guy can flat-out ball (Re: scoring 52 points against Indiana this past January), but other than an aging Big Z, we had next to nothing in terms of supporting cast. Now, look at the alternates for the current season: Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, Timofey Mozgov, Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith, James Jones, and Sean Marion. I don't know about you, but when the clock is ticking down and Lebron is crowded in a corner and can't get a shot up, I'd much rather have Sean Marion on the floor, let alone someone as phenomenal as Kyrie Irving, than Ira fucking Newble, Delonte West, or Wally Szczerbiak.
We could be these guys...
We've still got to wait on the Bucks vs. Bulls series to wrap up to find out who we play next, but I think we're OK, Cavs Nation. We've got the best player in the world, and a team that could hold court even without the King. Moving forward, winning will mean changing our game plans a bit, but we made it through multiple games without Kevin Love in the second half of the season and still posted the best record in the NBA during that stretch. I think we're going to be OK. However, I will require someone's hand to hold throughout the rest of the playoffs. And maybe a blind fold.
No sympathy for Kelly Olynyk