SHARE

 

Cleveland Cavaliers beat Boston Celtics 112-99 in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Finals. Cavs now lead their best of seven series 3-1.

Kyrie Irving is the difference …. Kyrie was obviously the reason the Cavs pulled out Game Four, scoring 42 points on 12 of 22 shooting and 4 of 7 from the three point line. But beyond the Celtics series, THIS Kyrie Irving is the difference between winning a second straight title and not. In Game Four, Kyrie went 8/9 from the FT line. Nine is a very important number, because when he’s getting to the foul line, he’s being aggressive. The Cavs need him to be what he was in Game Four:  aggressive, productive and efficient. The issue is they haven’t had THIS Kyrie consistently.

Are the Celtics better without Isiah Thomas? No. That’s a dumb question. It’s a Cavs issue more than Celtics. The Cavaliers are at their best when challenged. They relax and play down to their competition if they are not being challenged. Isiah Thomas challenges the Cavs. Avery Bradley, Al Horford, Kelly Olynyk and Jae Crowder don’t threaten the Cavs the same way Isiah Thomas challenges them. Now with that being said, it’s obvious the Cavs were able to take advantage of Thomas on the defensive end. When Isiah Thomas was healthy the Cavs sought him out in the pick-and-roll. Without Thomas in the line-up the Cavs have had to adjust how they attack the Boston defense.

LeBron is coasting. It’s clear LeBron is playing passively. He had early foul trouble in Game Four, but that’s just an excuse.  He’s not attacking on offense, he’s not getting to the paint, he’s settling for a lot of three point attempts. That is the Cavs at their absolute worst. They derive all of their firepower from LeBron’s aggressiveness on offense and defense.

Cavs rotation is interesting….We’re beginning to see Lue unveil his Finals line-ups. Richard Jefferson is back in the rotation and as we saw last season he is extremely important in the Cavs title quest. On the other side a guy like Channing Frye, who will get abused by the vaunted Warriors pick-and-roll probably won’t see much playing time.

 

Game Five is Thursday night in Boston.

Make sure to join Chris Manning LIVE for postgame reaction on FANTOM after every Cavaliers postseason game.