5 reasons Cavaliers will sweep their way to NBA Finals

AUBURN HILLS, MI - APRIL 24: LeBron James (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
AUBURN HILLS, MI - APRIL 24: LeBron James (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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Cleveland Cavaliers, Kyrie Irving
AUBURN HILLS, MI – APRIL 24: Kyrie Irving (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

3. Playoff Kyrie Irving is here

For all his commonly criticized flaws, from too many isolation plays and a lack of passing, the Cavaliers missed Kyrie Irving’s undeniable scoring ability a great deal in last year’s Finals. Along with Kevin Love going down with his shoulder injury, the absence of two All-Stars was too much to overcome, even for a herculean effort from LeBron James.

This year, though (at least for now), Irving is fully healthy. After missing 24 games at the start of the season, he’s playing at his best in 36.3 minutes per game through the playoffs, delivering 40 and 42 minutes in the last two contests, respectively.

More to the point, he’s delivered some huge performances, some critical shots, he’s shooting efficiently, and he’s moving the ball.

In the playoffs so far, Irving has been unstoppable from range like everyone else, shooting 53.8 percent from three (with 3.5 makes a night) while delivering a mid-range masterclass, making 47.8 percent of his shots from 10-16 feet. With such efficiency, he’s averaging 24.4 points per game so far.

That’s just the beginning with Irving. We already know how easily he can score and when guys like J.R. Smith and Channing Frye are able to pour in six threes, there’s only so much Kyrie needs to do anyway. And he’s going with that role by not overdoing the isolation plays, instead becoming a part of the team’s smooth, crisp ball movement to help find open looks and create space in the corner for the team’s host of shooters. While 5.5 assists per game for Irving may not be incredible, it’s still an increase over his mark of 4.7 in the regular season, and he’s kept the offense moving well for someone who’s still a ball-dominant player.

As Irving continues to fit in with the Cavaliers’ elevated fluidity and chemistry, another creative star to support LeBron has given opponents too much to handle.

Next: 2. Extra rest before the Conference Finals