Flipping the switch

Cavs preparing for another deep playoff run

The Cleveland Cavaliers officially begin their title defense on Saturday, April 15 when they will take on the Indiana Pacers in the first round of the playoffs. The team has been preparing for the postseason as the “Big Three” of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love have been given more days off in the season’s final weeks—despite all the controversy of sitting star players—and appear to be well rested and without any major injuries heading into the playoffs.

James might appreciate the rest more than most as he is in his 14th season in the NBA and is looking to reach his seventh straight NBA Finals.

The Cavaliers, after being in the driver’s seat of the Eastern Conference for much of the season, suddenly find themselves vulnerable and out of first place. For what it’s worth, the team has not played well as of late, producing a measly 12-15 record since the All-Star break.

Overall, the Cavaliers should have no worries making it to the Eastern Conference Finals. Just last season, the team struggled near the end, going 13-8 in their final 21 games. Then they won their first 10 playoff games, most in a dominating fashion.

When the Cavaliers are at their best, there are very few teams in the NBA that can keep up. While the Pacers could show some success against Cleveland, the playoffs are an entirely different game. For instance, the Chicago Bulls have had vast amounts of success against James in the regular season, only to fall to him every year once the playoffs start. None of the teams previously mentioned are part of the select few that can stop a determined Cavaliers team.

While it is easy to focus only on the Cavaliers’ recent lack of positive results, it is important to highlight their season. The team won at least 50 games and looked to be in command of the East for much of the season.

On an individual level, James posted career highs in assists, rebounds and triple doubles as he showed that he has no plans of slowing down. Love was named to the All-Star team for the first time since he signed with Cleveland two years ago. Irving has finally elevated his game to what many consider superstar status.

One legitimate cause for concern for the team this year would be their 20-21 record on the road. If the Cavaliers were to make it to the conference championship series or even the NBA Finals and find themselves in a situation where they do not have the home court advantage, it would be a tough feat to pull off a series win against one of the NBA’s elite. Of course, the team famously came back from a 3-1 deficit in last year’s finals, winning two of the final three games on the road.

James and company have gone through rough patches in the past, yet despite all the controversies and drama, have made it to the finals in two consecutive years. The team is currently the defending champions of the NBA.