Since first-round scare, Cleveland Cavaliers hitting stride entering Eastern Conference finals
From NBA media reports
The Cavaliers are saying their first-round series with the Pacers, which surprisingly went the seven-game limit, awakened them and prepared them for what lies ahead in the Eastern Conference finals with the Celtics.
After being spooked by the Pacers, the Cavaliers firmed up their defense and improved their offense in a second-round sweep of the Raptors. Therefore, Kyle Korver and coach Ty Lue believe Cleveland is hitting its stride in the nick of time, four wins away from reaching the NBA Finals for the fourth time.
Joe Vardon of the Cleveland Plain Dealer spoke with Lue and Korver and sized up the current Cavs, which are different than the team that struggled at times during the regular season and in the first round:
The Cavaliers, like Philadelphia, have the pieces to sizzle on offense. The reigning Eastern Conference champs are also fresh off an impressive four-game offensive outburst against Toronto, which ranked fifth in defensive efficiency during the regular season.
On the heels of a grueling seven-game series against Indiana, where the Cavs saw a variety of different defensive tactics and were held below 50 points in a half nine times, the Cavs averaged 118.5 points on 51.6 percent from the field and 41.1 percent from 3-point range in the semifinals. They also had six players, including Korver, average in double figures.
It looked more like the free-flowing and potent offense from the regular season — the same one that’s been too much for East opponents in past playoff series and is brimming with confidence ahead of quite possibly the toughest matchup yet.
“I like where we’re at right now,” Korver said. “I think we’re playing our best basketball the last series. I felt like that was the best we’ve played all season. Even when we won 16 games in a row or whatever it was early in the season, I felt like we weren’t playing the best basketball. We were just kind of getting by and winning. I thought the last series we played good basketball so I like where we’re at.”
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