The Byrdbored 2015 Summer replay continues with the Eastern Conference Finals….
Cleveland Cavaliers (4-1) over Toronto Raptors
Game#1: Cleveland 108, Toronto 78
The Cavaliers led by as many as 34 points and blasted the Raptors in the first quarter, 37-20, and never looked back. LeBron James had 28 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists, while Kevin Love chipped in with 15 points and 13 boards in the win.
Game #2: Cleveland 103, Toronto 92
In game #2, it was the second period that the Cavs opened up the game with a 26-14 advantage. The Toronto bench kept the team in it outscoring the Cavs, 44-14, but it still wasn’t enough. Kyrie Irving led the Cavs with 25 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds and 3 steals, while LeBron James had 23 points and 7 assists in the win. The Raptors scrapped to stay in the game, but just could never come back from the bad second quarter.
Game #3: Cleveland 114, Toronto 112
Toronto jumped on Cleveland early, but it was a 33-24 fourth quarter by Cleveland that brought them all the way back to have a chance to win the game. Tristan Thompson’s blocked shot on DeMar DeRozan at the buzzer clinched the win and a 3-0 lead in the series for the Cavs. Kyrie Irving finished the game with 30 points, 9 assists and 2 steals, while J.R. Smith came up huge with 30 points and 6 assists (yes! 6 assists!) in the win. Toronto saw DeMar DeRozan score 23 points, while Amir Johnson chipped in with 17 points and 12 rebounds in the loss.
Game #4: Toronto 89, Cleveland 82
Toronto’s defense stepped up and held the Cavaliers to only 39% shooting and opened up a close game in the fourth quarter outscoring Cleveland, 26-20. DeMar DeRozan had 24 points and 6 rebounds in the win to help lead the Raptors. The Cavs saw a monster game from Kevin Love with 23 points and 16 rebounds in the loss. LeBron James also played an all-around game with 23 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists, but the Raptors held off elimination.
Game #5: Cleveland 120, Toronto 110
Despite putting up a tough fight, Toronto simply had no answer for Kyrie Irving in game #5. Irving lit up the Raptors for 42 points, 5 assists and 2 steals, while Kevin Love chipped in with 26 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists in the win. DeMar DeRozan did all he could with 24 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists, but Cleveland always had an answer every time the Raptors made a serious run at them.
In no real surprise, the computer agreed that the Cleveland Cavaliers were the beast of the East!
Now, the real interesting part begins. As the Finals get started, the Cavaliers “Big 3” are all healthy and will play against the Western Conference champion. It simply worked out that the computer didn’t have an injury happen to either Love or Irving. Of course, there could always be an injury during the Finals. However, the best players will be, at least, starting the Finals.
However, Cavaliers fans shouldn’t get too excited. It is what they have been begging for yes. Every basketball fan heard constant complaining after the real Finals was over that if they had “been healthy” they would beat the Warriors. We, at least, should get the chance to see what a simulation would do.
However, keep in mind one key factor that I have always pointed out. Having Kyrie and Love on the court more hurts the Cavaliers defense, and that is the way Cleveland won the 2 games they did in the Finals. If they try to outscore the Warriors (if they indeed do advance to the Finals in my simulation), they may not even win 2 games? The Warriors are the best team at scoring, after all, and that might play right into Golden State’s hands. I personally believe playing Tristan Thompson, in particular, boosted Cleveland’s defense and rebounding which were two of the keys in the Cavs wins. I love Kevin Love as a player, but I am not convinced they are better with him on the Cavaliers. They will score more, yes. However, I will be very interested to see if even the “Big 3” can outscore whoever comes out of the West in my simulation. Especially if it is someone like Golden State who is a great defensive team, as well. If it is the Los Angeles Clippers, then maybe Cleveland can outscore them.
Stay tuned………Western Conference Finals coming soon……