The Cleveland Cavaliers have suffered some injuries along the way but overall they definitely underachieved this season. They capped off the season by going 10-14 since March 1st, and even after their victory in TD Garden they looked like they were going to wrap up the conference but ultimately failed to do so. They enter the playoffs tomorrow as the second seed in the east and are not being given enough credibility even after last year’s championship run. One positive note for Cavs fans to keep in mind is that all five previous instances LeBron James was on a second seed team, he’s made the NBA Finals.
When asked about the postseason, Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue said the following, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.
“All the talking is over, what we can do and what we’re going to do. It’s here. So, we got to put up or shut up.”
The Cavs face the Pacers tomorrow in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round and their previous matchup was an epic showdown between LeBron James and Paul George. LeBron posted 41 points, 14 rebounds, and 11 assists while George finished with 43 points, 9 rebounds, and 9 assists. The Cavs won this game in double overtime, 135-130.
The Cavs finished the season with a 51-31 record while going under .500 on the road (20-21).
Tyronn Lue spoke more on the Cavs’ recent struggles and competition within their conference going forward.
“We had some key injuries this year that set us back, but for the most part, it’s pretty much the same,” Lue said. “I think the East has gotten better. Toronto has gotten better. Boston has gotten better. Indiana is playing good basketball. The Bulls finally figured out what they’re going to do, who they’re going to be. Same thing with Milwaukee. So, teams have gotten better, and that’s just the biggest difference to me. It’s going to be a bigger challenge for us this year.”
The last time LeBron faced the Pacers in a playoff series was in the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals while he was still with the Heat. Paul George recently said that he was looking forward to this matchup with Cleveland.
Lue ended the conference by speaking on his confidence in his team going into this postseason.
“My confidence is that we can win,” said Lue. “And I know we can win the series. We just got to play Cavaliers basketball, which we’re capable of doing, which we showed we can do. I hear all the talk or whatever; I don’t listen to it. I know our team, I know we have the confidence to win. As far as the outside rumblings, that’s just part of it; it always surrounds this team, and I’m used to it.”