By: Doran Grieshaber, Sports Writer
The Cleveland Cavaliers completed a four-game sweep of the Indiana Pacers on Sunday in the first round of the NBA Eastern Conference playoffs. The first round was historic for Lebron James and the Cavs for both good and bad reasons, but regardless they are the first team to finish their first-round series. The team has multiple things that need to be cleaned up if they plan to make another title run, and they have plenty of time to do it as they wait for the second round to start on May 1st.
It is no surprise that Lebron and the Cavs made it through the first round, and it is not event surprising at this point that a team with Lebron James on the roster swept the first round. Lebron has not lost a game in the first round of the playoffs since 2012. His streak of first round wins currently sits at 21 games in a row, a new NBA record passing Magic Johnson and his Laker teammates. Lebron also recorded his tenth playoff series sweep with the win on Sunday, giving him the most playoff sweeps of any player in history, surpassing Tim Duncan. The Cavaliers also now have a record that might not be such a great one to hold. They became the only team in the last 20 years to record a playoff sweep while giving up over 100 points in every single game.
Lebron showed that he is ready for another championship run this year, as he nearly averaged a triple-double in the first round of the playoffs. James had 32.8 points, 9 assists, and 9.8 rebounds over the series. Kyrie Irving also poured in his fair share of points and Kevin Love was a rebounding machine in multiple games. The Cavalier’s problem moving forward will definitely be there defense more than their offense. The fact that they could not hold the Pacers to under 100 points a single time is not a good sign if they have to go up against better teams like the Celtics, Warriors, or Rockets. The other problem will be the health and fatigue of this team. Barring yet another playoff injury to a key player, the Cavs look like they have what it takes to defend their title. The real test will be if Lebron can continue to perform at such a high level night in and night out. Although he is still one of the most dominant players in the league, he is 32 years old and played more minutes than originally planned for most of the season.
The second round of the NBA playoffs will begin on May 1st and the Cavaliers will either be playing the Toronto Raptors or the Milwaukee Bucks. Both teams have their share of star power, as the Raptors have Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, and acquired Serge Ibaka during the season. The Bucks have a young, talented team with the Greek Freak, Giannis Antetokounmpo running the show. Either team will be a good matchup in the second round and will be a good indicator of how prepared the Cavaliers are to defend their championship title.