Random dribbles on the Cavaliers, who take the floor for the second round starting this week.
1. It feels like it’s been two months since the Cavs last had a game. But we’re almost there again. Monday, finally, it is Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals vs. Toronto.
2. On the bright side for the Cavs, at least they weren’t swallowed up by the monster that is the three-day NFL Draft. Instead, all the focus was on the Browns. The Cavs could just relax, practice and talk to the media about boring topics such as Raptors big man Serge Ibaka.
3. The Cavs actually haven’t played for a week, as they completed the sweep of Indiana last Sunday. I like to call it The Ugliest Sweep in Franchise History. But guess what? It’s still four straight wins. And it’s still more evidence that LeBron James plays in Cleveland, and nowhere else.
4. Sometimes, that’s all that matters.
5. I can’t remember who it was, but I heard a national analyst talking about the Cavs the other day, and the analyst brought up my above point — even boldly predicting LeBron is all the Cavs will need to get to the Finals again, and that they will even beat Golden State (or whoever else could sneak in).
6. As I mentioned in my latest Amico Report Podcast, the Cavs do indeed keep one eye on the Warriors. Just like Magic Johnson used to do with Larry Bird, and vice versa. This rivalry really is that intense. I should know. I’m like 100 years old and have been around long enough to have witnessed both.
7. I’ve probably broadcast and written it too much, but the Cavs ABSOLUTELY must get more from Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and J.R. Smith on a consistent basis in this series. It was hard enough beating Indiana when only James and Tristan Thompson were the only starters who played like themselves. I’m not so sure it can happen against Toronto.
8. Of course, it will be nice if the Cavs’ bench bunch of Deron Williams, Channing Frye, Kyle Korver and Iman Shumpert can have a similar series. The Raptors aren’t nearly as deep, or even close, when the Cavs’ second unit has things clicking.
9. As usual, the Cavs’ biggest problem spots remain the same — Raptors star point guard Kyle Lowry, shooting guard DeMar DeRozan, and maybe center Jonas Valanciunas. Also, up-and-coming guard Norman Powell has been an occasional starter when Raptors coach Dwane Casey has decided to go small. It’s worked really well so far.
Yes, I’ll be picking a winner. I’ll post more on the series, including that pick, late Sunday/early Monday. As for the other East semifinal, I’m going with Washington over Boston in six.
DOUBLE BONUS DRIBBLE
For you Indiana fans, we will be launching a website centered on the Pacers and Indiana basketball in time for next season. I’ll have details throughout the summer.