NBA playoffs: Cavs comeback, Bucks thrashingBy Matt Verderame
What to make of the Cleveland Cavaliers? They are winning their Eastern Conference quarterfinals series 3-0 over the Indiana Pacers, who had their back broken at home in Game 3. Indiana was leading by 25 points after notching 74 points in the first half, only to be outscored 70-40 over the final 24 minutes in a 119-114 defeat.
The Cavaliers are clearly going to the next round, whether it be after one of two more games with the overmatched Pacers. If you haven’t been watching the games, you probably don’t understand the prose of this. What is there to talk about, Cleveland is rolling through the Pacers, right?
Yes and no. The Cavaliers have to be thrilled they are on the edge of a sweep, but the defensive intensity remains a disaster. While it was much better in the second half, Cleveland still allowed 114 points for the game. This comes on the heels of giving up an average of 110 points throughout the first two games at Quicken Loans Arena.
It’s all going to be good enough to beat the Pacers, let alone have the chance to sweep. It won’t be enough to win it all. The Eastern Conference is a virtual dumpster fire, with the top-seeded Boston Celtics looking at the business end of a 2-0 hole against the No. 8 Chicago Bulls. There is a real chance that Cleveland will be facing the sixth-seeded Milwaukee Bucks before taking on either the Washington Wizards or Bulls in the conference finals.
With all due respect to the Bucks, Wizards and Bulls, they are not on the same level of the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors. Both of whom will make short work of the Cavaliers if they don’t fix their issues.
Bucks put it all together against Raptors
The No. 3 Toronto Raptors should be thrilled they are only down two games to one against the Bucks. Milwaukee, which for much of the season was injury-plagued and a borderline playoff team, now looks like a squad to be reckoned with.
After blowing the Raptors out in Game 1 and narrowly losing on Tuesday night at the Air Canada Centre, the Bucks crushed Toronto at home, 104-77. Giannis Antetokounmpo shot 7-of-10 fromm the field, scoring 19 points to go with eight rebounds. Khris Middleton led all scorers with 20 points, adding seven dimes.
If Milwaukee can win this series and give Cleveland any kind of a scare, it has to feel great moving forward. Jabari Parker is out for the season but should be back for the next campaign. If Parker can stay on the court and join Antetokounmpo and Middleton, the Bucks could be a real threat in the next few years.