LeBron's Cavs are locked and loaded
By TAYLOR ROSEN
College Contributor Network
It's the last week of regular season basketball in the NBA, and the playoffs are set to begin this weekend. One team that is certainly ready for a deep playoff run is the Cleveland Cavaliers. LeBron James has the Cavaliers primed and ready for a long post-season run that could potentially result in the Larry O'Brien trophy coming back to Cleveland for the first time in franchise history.
The Cavaliers (52-29) are fresh off of a two-game losing streak that has many questioning their intentions, but those questions seemed to be answered after a 109-97 clobbering of the Detroit Pistons, Monday night. The Cavs lost both of those games to the Boston Celtics because of key guys in the rotation sitting out to rest. Cavs coach David Blatt's decision to rest guys has had a major impact on other teams fighting for the seventh, and eighth spots in the Eastern conference playoff race that is winding down. The Celtics are currently in a race for the seventh seed in the Eastern conference, and those two wins against what was basically the Cavaliers JV team, will make it that much easier to obtain for a young, inexperienced Celtics squad.
The Cavaliers know that Boston is a young team with no playoff experience, and that's why they want to play them in the first round. It's just smart to avoid a team with a championship culture that could potentially rattle the King, like Miami, and a team like Indiana, that just got their best player back on the floor, in Paul George. This will make it that much easier for the guys on the Cavs roster who have no playoff experience to get their feet wet, and find a rhythm against a less formidable opponent, in the Celtics.
One thing is for sure, the Cavaliers seemed to be hitting on all cylinders in the win Monday night against Detroit. The Cavaliers have won 19 of their last 20 games at Quicken Loans Arena, and at one point they led by 26 over the Pistons. LeBron James registered his second triple-double in his first season back in a Cavaliers uniform. James had 21 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists in 32 minutes of action. James now has 39 triple-doubles in his career, two of those have come in the past four games. The Cavaliers shot 17-of-32 from three point land, eight of those were drained by JR Smith. Smith led everybody in scoring with 28 points, including 8-of-13 shooting from behind the arc.
One thing to take away, and keep in mind from the Cavs win over the Pistons is the condition of Cavaliers point guard, Kyrie Irving. Irving started the game, and played the entire first half, he had 12 points, three rebounds, and three assists. Irving never came out of the locker room for the second half, and Cavs officials said it was because of right hip tightness. With a convincing lead at the half, the team decided to let Irving sit out of the second half for precautionary reasons. The Cavs made the right move in that situation because they will certainly need a healthy Irving at 100 percent when the playoffs begin this weekend.
The Cavs are a tough team to handle when their shooters are knocking down the open shots created by penetration from James, Irving and company. The entire team seems to be focused in on that one ultimate goal, to bring the city of Cleveland its first championship since 1964. If James can bring the area he calls home what they've craved for 51 years, and counting, that would make his return to Cleveland one of the greatest stories in sports history, if not, the greatest. It'll be interesting to see how the post-season plays out for this Cavaliers team. They might be considered "America's team" at this point.
Taylor Rosen is a junior at Kent State University. He spent time with The Stater covering Kent State football and basketball. Taylor is from Cleveland, and has Cleveland sports under a microscope. Follow him on Twitter: @T_Rosen11