The great Chuck Daly once made a statement that you should always end an NBA Playoff series as early as possible. Many a team down the years have failed to do that to their detriment, but the Cleveland Cavaliers- after being pushed to seven games in the first round by the Indiana Pacers- have heeded those words and made sure to end it as soon as possible against the Toronto Raptors.
In a somewhat straightforward Game 4, the Cavaliers and LeBron James cruised to a victory that would see them sweep the series- on the same date as they did the same feat last season- and move into the Eastern Conference Finals with a ton of momentum. And what’s even better for the Cavs is that they didn’t even need to play their best game ever, and they didn’t even need LeBron to do so, either. Sure, the King had 29 points along with 11 assists and eight rebounds, but it was not the kind of night that required him to truly take over the game to win it.
For the Cavs, this is just perfect. After a long series with the Pacers, they will be getting at least a little bit of extra rest before the Conference Finals due to the Celtics and Sixers’ series going on to at least a fifth game. They will be in fine form and rejuvenated for that series, so you better believe that they will be ready to go out and try to book another NBA Finals appearance.
As for the Raptors, this has to be the biggest of heart breakers. They came into the playoffs this year with the #1 seed. They even won a series, despite many a commentator believing they would end up “raptoring” their way out again. But they got nothing else past that. In a season where the Cavs were a fourth seed with little momentum, where the Celtics had multiple injuries, and in which the 76ers are just so very young, this was their chance. Canada might just be waiting a very long time before they once again have a better chance to go deep in the playoffs.