While the little terrors in Los Angeles, Houston, Boston, Orlando and Denver take cheap shots at each other – all but meeting shirtless on the playground to knuckle up – the Cavaliers are all smiles, skipping off to class arm in arm, joshing innocently with one another, getting straight As on their progress reports. They have yet to take their Finals, of course, but so far they’ve been nothing but model students. With the Cavs acing every test they’ve taken, it’s like some sort of hoop utopia in here so far. In the Cavaliers’ four-game sweep in the first round of the 2009 Playoffs, the Detroit Pistons didn’t get within 10 points of the Wine and Gold. Through the first two games of their semifinal series against Atlanta, the Hawks haven’t gotten within 20. Playing without starters Al Horford and Marvin Williams, the Hawks had no answer for the Cavaliers juggernaut. Cleveland led by nine after one quarter and by 24 at intermission, with LeBron James punctuating the powerhouse first half with a three-point bomb just inside the halfcourt line at the buzzer. James played just over 31 minutes going a tidy 9-for-14 from the floor and 6-of-12 from the stripe, adding five assists, three boards and a game-high four steals. The league’s newly-crowned MVP was 3-for-5 from beyond the arc, including the pull-up 40-footer to close the first half. “We are not overconfident, but we believe in our game plan, we believe in each other as individuals and we believe in each other as a team,” said James. “We just go out and play hard. We go out and play hard every night, and it results in double digit wins sometimes, and sometimes it doesn’t.”
With Thursday’s victory, the Cavaliers have now won seven straight postseason contests at The Q ? a new franchise record. The Wine and Gold have now won three straight playoff games by more than 20 points, tying the 1986 Lakers for the most consecutive 20-plus-point victories in a single postseason. The Cavaliers have won all six of their playoff games by double-digits ? tying the postseason mark of the 2004 Indiana Pacers. Over the last two postseasons, the Cavaliers defense has ranked No. 1 in points allowed, defensive field goal percentage and three-point percentage. Coming into Thursday’s contest, they lead all three categories once again, allowing just 76.8 points per game, holding teams to .414 shooting from the floor and just .284 from long distance. Source: cavs.com.
Photos Copyright Notice: Copyright 2009 NBAE via Getty Images. Photos by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images, Gregory Shamus/Getty Images, David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images.