Cavs sweep again: Is the East that bad?


Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS

Cleveland Cavaliers’ Iman Shumpert looks on as LeBron James gives Kyrie Irving a hug celebrating a four-game sweep over the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday, May 8, 2016, at Philips Arena in Atlanta.

Joe DeNardo, Chief Editor

After going 8-0 to start the playoffs, fans wonder if Cleveland’s success is a testament to how far they’ve come as a team, or rather a showcase of Eastern Conference’s inferiority complex.

The Cavs got Detroit’s best shot, but still managed to escape the pesky Pistons with an unblemished playoff record.

And following a series with Atlanta where the Wine and Gold made 77 three-point FGs over a four game span, it’s clear that the Cavs have found their groove…right?

There are plenty of skeptics, including Mayfield junior and self-proclaimed sports whiz Andy “Duncan” Browngardt who has wrongfully predicted many a game, but in particular has knack for favoring whoever is the Cavs opponent on that particular night.

“Hawks are going to take the Cavs to seven games,” Browngardt said after Atlanta had promptly dumped his beloved Boston Celtics in the first round. “And there’s no way they get past Toronto.”

That is if Toronto can make it past the Heat, who at the time of writing this article are both locked in a tightly contested “Who’s gonna lose to the Cavs?” series.

Browngardt isn’t the only Northeast Ohio native who doesn’t feel optimistic about Cleveland’s chances.

The Paw Print assistant editor Jared Serre predicted prior to the playoffs that the Raptors would represent the East in the NBA Finals!

Alas my young apprentice you still have much to learn!

Now before one goes judging the Cavaliers first-two round drubbing as proof of the East being a total fluke hear me out as I attempt to put thing in perspective.

Cleveland didn’t have the best success against Detroit in the regular season, and for the majority of their first-round series it didn’t look like a 1 vs. 8 matchup.

But the Cavaliers persevered and were able to sweep because their experience and need to set the tone for the rest of the playoffs had the stars playing like stars and role players doing their job.

Next Atlanta—who the Cavs haven’t lost to in how long—and the threes rained like a monsoon over the helpless Hawks players.

The sweep was a result of luck of the draw—Atlanta never matched up well against the Cavs all season and surely had they gone against a Charlotte or even Boston the series would’ve at least been competitive.

At the end of the day the fact is this—the East isn’t a breeze, the Cavs are going to get every team’s best shot.

But if they continue to play like they’re on a mission to get back to the Finals, then you can expect Cleveland to make quick work of the winner of Miami/Toronto and be ready for whoever comes out of the West in June.