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Cavaliers closing in on sweep

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The Cavs matched the intensity of the Pistons from the tip. He hugged friends. And he waited on LeBron.

Irving said he when he returned in December, he noticed teams going under screens on the high pick-and-roll, daring him to shoot three-pointers. He has hinted he could be a future Hall of Famer. Kyrie Irving is dishing 4.7 assists and Tristan Thompson is grabbing 5.7 rebounds. Some of their shooting sessions when Irving was first coming back from knee surgery lasted long after the formal portion of practice ended. But Irving’s scoring average has him set up to accomplish something that has been done only one other time in the previous 33 playoff series in which James has played, according to Cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon: a teammate of James outscoring him in a series. It’s why he referred to Kevin Love as the focal point of the offense for the first few weeks of the season – while Irving was out mending.

When the road gets more rough, because of the time they’ve spent together and the comfortability they’ve created, the trio feels that it will handle any potential problems properly and professionally. Curry was injured in the series opener and missed the past two games. They were trying to prevent themselves from falling behind 3-0 in the series, but the Cavs were too much to handle for the young squad.

Yet since he came back to Cleveland for a second stint, the hope was he could ease his burden by letting Irving and Love carry him every once in a while. Because the Boston Celtics beat the Atlanta Hawks last night, that series will go at least five games.

For the series, the Cavs are now shooting 43 percent from downtown.

“When you have the talent we have on this basketball team, you don’t necessarily panic in those type of situations”. Guys are picking their spots.

“Me and Larry Drew was playing with it before the game and I said we have to be able to burn them on the counter with this because they are jamming the guy from out of bounds”. Irving’s play has been perhaps the biggest surprise.

Expect this one to be a clinic on boxing out, as two of the NBA’s top rebounding teams face off. Detroit is among the league’s best on the offensive glass, ranking second in offensive rebound percentage at 26.7%.

After the game, J.R. Smith, who had seven three-pointers for the Cavs, looked into the postgame box score and was shocked after seeing how many three-point attempts they had made.

The Detroit Pistons average 97.8 possessions per game and 1.040 points per possession, while the Cleveland Cavaliers earn fewer possessions (95.5) but more points per possession (1.092). “I don’t care if you’re left by yourself, 20 of 38 is pretty good shooting”, Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy told reporters of the Cleveland shooting. 7 seconds on the shot clock after the ball went out of bounds. “It’s the highest I’ve seen since I’ve been here”. “In the first two games, he got into foul trouble and we went small”.

“It was a great play drawn by T-Lue in the time, in the moment”, the 24-year-old said. “Everything changes from game to game”.

Just days after Pistons rookie Stanley Johnson talked smack about his playoff opponents and their leader, someone other than LeBron stepped up big for Cleveland. Drummond makes his presence known at the basket and Jackson has the ability to run the floor and hit the open jumper.

Kim Earnest

The author Kim Earnest

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