It has been well documented that the Cleveland Cavaliers have had a chaotic season. From the purge of the roster at the trade deadline to head coach Tyronn Lue having to take a leave of absence, it has been a wild one for the Cavaliers.
Despite the chaos, LeBron James has been able to hold it all together, allowing the Cavaliers to have a chance in the playoffs. James’ brilliance shined once again as the Cavaliers were able to take down the Indiana Pacers in Game 7. They will now move on to play the Toronto Raptors.
Post-Series Analysis: Cleveland Cavaliers Beat Indiana Pacers in Seven Games
While many thought the Cavaliers were going to run through the Pacers, Indiana had other plans.
The Pacers believed they could beat the Cavaliers as soon as the ball was tipped to begin the series. Head coach Nate McMillan, who’s known for coaching stout defensive teams, had the Pacers locking in and causing havoc for the Cavaliers defensively.
The Pacers’ selflessness on offense also helped in attacking the Cavaliers’ defense. Even though James had some monstrous games, Bojan Bogdanovic was feisty and didn’t back down.
Lance Stephenson was also very entertaining once again. He showed once again that when he is focused, he is a good rotational piece in this league. Although he may cross the line at times with his antics, his energy is infectious.
LeBron James Needs Help
In this series, James faced elimination in the first round of the playoffs for the first time in his career. Cleveland’s second option, who many believe to be Kevin Love, had a nightmare of a series, to say the least.
Love tore a ligament in the same hand that he broke earlier this year. He was also getting bullied in the paint by Thaddeus Young, which did not help his rhythm at all. Even though he made some big shots in Game 7, he must be more consistent if the Cavaliers want to make some noise in this post-season.
Because of Love’s struggles, most of the load was on James’ shoulders to score and make plays for others. In past years, Kyrie Irving would shoulder some of those playmaking responsibilities, but Irving is now long gone.
Despite the pressure, James came through again for the city of Cleveland with multiple herculean performances. His biggest highlight of the series would have to be draining the game-winning three-pointer in a pivotal Game 5.
It will be interesting to see if the supporting cast can be a bit more consistent moving forward.
Victor Oladipo Has Arrived
The Cavaliers seemed to be stunned in Game 1 when Victor Oladipo came out and abused the Cavaliers. He seemed to be playing with a chip on his shoulder, looking to prove that his All-Star season was not a fluke.
He came out very aggressive and was able to keep the Pacers in this series with his scoring and playmaking. After a disappointing showing for Oladipo in last year’s playoffs with the Oklahoma City Thunder, it seemed like he wanted to make up for that performance.
All in all, the Pacers pushed the Cavaliers to seven games, which no one really saw coming. This is the first year this group has been together and it seems like the chemistry is already there. The Pacers now know that they can build around Oladipo and it will be interesting to see how this team will respond next season.
What’s Up Next
The Cavaliers were able to survive a Game 7 at home and advance to the next round of the playoffs. They will face a familiar foe in the Raptors, who have been waiting patiently after eliminating the Washington Wizards in six games.
This year, the Raptors have the No. 1 seed in the East and homecourt advantage against Cleveland. They’ve also switched up their style, avoiding isolation basketball and moving more towards pace and space.
They are well rounded, being top-five in offense and defense for the season. This may be one of the hardest series to predict, but it will be interesting to see how it unfolds.
CLEVELAND, OH – JUNE 07: Kevin Love #0 and LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers high five against the Golden State Warriors during the first half of Game 3 of the 2017 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on June 7, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)