Why the Cavs Still Own the East
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All season long we were hoping for a team out east to emerge as a potential challenge to the Cleveland Cavaliers. While the east has gotten much more competitive than in years past, with parity throughout, as shown by two game sevens in the first round. The parity has been from seeds two through eight and Cleveland is still the class of the east.
At the beginning of the year we thought the Chicago Bulls had the best chance of challenging them, well they didn't even make the playoffs. Followed by the Hawks, Raptors and Heat. The Hawks were coming off a 60 win season last year and lost to the Cavs in the Eastern Conference Finals. Surely if given another chance they would put up a fight and at least challenge them. It hasn't quite worked out that way in these conference semifinals. The Hawks have been demoralized in this series. In Game 1 coming back from 18 points down only to lose in the fourth. Then getting absolutely crushed in Game 2 after a historic shooting performance by Cleveland where they made an NBA record 25 threes. Despite the blowout in Game 2 the Hawks regrouped at home and held a nine point lead in the fourth only to be outscored by 19 in 4th and lose. At this point with the way the series has gone, I can't see the Hawks winning Game 4 this afternoon.
So with the Cavs getting through the first two rounds with ease, will either the Toronto Raptors or Miami Heat pose a threat in the Eastern Conference Finals. If LeBron had his choice, we all know he would much rather face his former teammate and buddy Dwyane Wade.
At the moment it isn't looking great for that Lebron, Wade matchup. The Raptors lead the Heat two games to one. The Heat can't feel good about themselves as they pretty much gave away Game 2, and now the struggling All-Star Kyle Lowry may be finding his shot after a 30 point performance where he went 11-18 from the field. Miami is still fully capable of winning the series, and if we want to see someone challenge the Cavs, and the Heat they may be the only team in the east left to do it.
Wade is playing the way he did back before LeBron joined him in South Beach and the rest of the team is a mix of veterans and young guys both able to contribute. While Toronto has struggled just to get to this point. Other than Lowry's Game 3 both All-Star guards have really struggled, and this core group has just finally broken through the first round. Unlike Indiana and Miami, Cleveland will pounce on Toronto's struggles and not let them hang around.
So I believe the Cavs should have an easy road to the finals. Even if the Heat go on to face the Cavs, there is concern over Hassan Whiteside's health and the fact that the Cavs are just rolling on all cylinders right now and look like the best team in the entire NBA playoffs.