Cavs Cavs

Repeat of 2015 NBA Finals with Warriors looking forward to defend their title and Cleveland Cavaliers keeping their first championship dreams alive!   

Warriors needed all the 7 games to reach the Finals. Oklahoma Thunders had their chances and home court advantage in Game 6th but they fell apart in the last 5 minutes and forced Game 7 on themselves, not Warriors. Game 6 is going to haunt Thunders for a long time and for sure will have an impact on their roster next season, while Keven Duran ponders about his new free agent status!

At the end of the series, all it matters is the total number of wins. Warriors won 3 and Thunders gave them 1 extra because Thunders wanted to see Warriors in the Finals rather themselves.  How could you not take advantage of 3-1? Another post on this later!

Warriors 4 – Thunders 3

Cleveland Cavaliers had a smooth run in the Eastern Conference.  After sweeping both 1st and 2nd rounds, Cavs had a well-orchestrated, high spirited “Piece of Resistance” (referring Lego Movie) from Raptors for 2 consecutive games. Raptors were able to take advantage of their home court and their loyal fan base.  For 2 games in a row, it was really going “North” for them.  Cavs had their own share of poor performance in these 2 games.  Out of Big 3, 2 failed.  Game 5 and 6 are a different story.  Cavaliers found their rhythm and wrapped of this series on a good note. Meanwhile Raptors for the first time broke their franchise barrier and reached conference finals for the first time.   

Cavaliers 4 – Raptors 2

Not so fun fact: If Warriors did not make it to the finals this year, Cleveland Browns (maybe) have a legitimate opportunity to recruit Green (based on his NBA experience of kicking and ripping), as their Punter, Goal Kicker or for that matter just any kicker!

Amazingly, both teams somehow managed to keep their key players healthy and with no major concerns on injuries. Does this help? We will have to see!  It made a difference in the last year’s finals though.

Now, let's dive into some conference finals post series stats.  Numbers have their own language and they don’t lie a lot unless we want them to. Here I created 2 plots showing each player from both teams, Warriors and Cavaliers. Summarized series stats (last series played) are used from all 7 games for Warriors and 6 games for Cavaliers.

  • Plot 1 - Net Player Score for each player from both teams.  NPS reflects overall impact of a player in the game, based on the minutes on the floor, points, field goal made and attempts, steal, fouls, turnovers etc.
  • Plot 2 - Points scored by each player from both teams

Plot 1 shows that, Curry leads the chart with 97% NPS, simply outstanding. A distant match from Cavalier is James with 77% NPS. This is a significant gap! Cavs need to shut down or slowdown Curry and James need outperform Curry and keep Thompson on the check.  This is not about Cavs Big 3 vs Warriors Splash Brothers!  This is about individual player contributions to the game.

Using Plot 1, let's pick top 10 players based on their NPS (Net Player Score).  No surprise, we can see at least 5 starters from each team.  Does this mean these teams are evenly matched? Not exactly, numbers say something different.  Let’s looks at possible matches (based on NPS)

  • Barnes (25%) and Smith (26 - a possible match
  • Love (36%) and Iguodala (37%) - a possible match
  • Irving (54%) and Green (57%) - a possible match
  • Thompson (67%) does not have a match from Cavaliers
  • Curry (97%) does not have a match from Cavaliers
  • James (77%) falls in between Thompson and Curry. Reality is James can’t top both of these players in every game.

By just looking at the Net Player Score (NPS) alone, Cavs need to have a strong plan to fill the gap between Curry and Thompson and they need to do it for 4 games for their dream to come true. 

For Warriors they just need to keep playing the way they are playing now.  Warriors have very clear edge over Cavaliers. Warriors might end up winning it all, again!

No matter what happens, at CavsFanForever.com,   it is always Go Cavs! Forever!


 


Game 6 - LeBron 33 points, post-season high, Irving 30 points, Love 20 points and J R Smith with 15

Game 6 - LeBron 33 points, post-season high, Irving 30 points, Love 20 points and J R Smith with 15 points. A combined total of 98 points out of 113 points. This is completely a highly synchronized effort from Cavs. All top 4 are in sync, passing the ball, assisting each other and on few occasions taking a close look at the rim by dunking.

Raptors went cold in first 2 quarters, tried to come back in 3rd with Lowry firing long range shots. Lowry ended up with 35 points.

Lowry and DeRozan are the only two players to register double digits on the score board. All other Raptors became spectators for what is happening on the other side.

Biyombo and DeRozan are now officially free-agents unless they both want to be Raptors again. What Raptors achieved this season is really amazing. Everything is first.  Beating Pacers in the first round, beating Heat in the second round and reaching finals for the very first time in their franchise history.  For two games in Game 3 and Game 4, Raptors looked like legitimate contenders for the Eastern Conference Title. Their hopes faded away in Game 5 when Cavs got back into their rhythm and Love finally finding his rhythm.

LeBron playing in 6th consecutive NBA Finals shows his commitment to his game. Since 1966, he is the only player to do this so. What an amazing achievement and effort. Cavs still need 4 more wins to complete their goal and waiting for the outcome of Thunder and Warriors series.

   

 Cavs - Net Player Score

Cavs - Points Scored

Raptors - Net Player Score

Raptors - Points Scored 

By half time, Cavs were up by 31. This stat alone summarizes the entire game!  Raptors lost thi
Raptors now have one choice left. They can avoid a trip to Cleveland for Game 7. All previous encounters with Cavs at Cleveland ended in loses. Raptors can still make a statement by forcing Game 7 and leaving the outcome to Cavs!  

 


By half time, Cavs were up by 31. This single stat alone summarizes the entire game!  Raptors lost this game by half time but still had to wait for the next 24 minutes to make it official. Everything went wrong for Raptors from the very first quarter and they could not find a way from formidable Cavs defense.

Cavs again put the ball in Love’s hands and this time he did not disappoint. He ended up with 25, high score for Cavs and  followed by LeBron and Kyrie, each scoring 23 points.

A steal by Smith and Love’s full court (almost) throw to LeBron for a Dunk are some of the things demoralized the Raptors even more.  After the series is tied at 2-2, it turned out to be a mini series of best of 3.  Win 2 and take the Eastern Conference Title for 2016.  In this new context, Cavs are up by 1 and they made their statement and still have the Home Court advantage if in case series is headed to Game 7.

Lowry and DeRozan scored 13 and 14. Their combined score is just 2 points more than Love’s individual score. This is where Cavs defense excels. They can simply shutdown the main scorers of their opponents.  

First seed team is just 1 game away and Second Seed team is just 2 games away from the title. Go Cavs!