The Ty Lue Revolution: Making A Change, Making It Rain
With Cleveland being matched up against the Hawks, who they swept last season in the Eastern Conference Finals, it was best case scenario for the Cavs. For Atlanta, they vowed that last year was in the past and that this year’s series would be a lot more competitive. To open up Game 1, Jeff Teague hit a three ball right in Kyrie Irving’s face, and as he got back on defense he mouthed to Irving, “Not this year.” – the rest is history.
— Cavs Nation TV (@CavsNationTV) May 3, 2016
In an interview heading into the series with the Cavs, Paul Millsap sounded confident while talking about strategies. He believed that the Hawks have made enough changes to make the series go much longer than many expected, little did he know the Cavs made plenty of changes themselves.
When you look at the results of the first round of the playoffs, seeing the Cavaliers sweep the Pistons may look like some form of dominance, but it doesn’t give the Pistons credit where it is due. The Cavs slugged it out on three of four nights, winning Games 1, 3, and 4 by an average margin of 5.7 points, while blowing out Game 2, 107-90. After the series, Coach Lue and the rest of the Cavaliers knew that they would have to make some changes if they were going to complete their goal of winning an NBA Championship.
The Hawks were ready for a LeBron James-heavy attack after watching him single handedly end their campaign last year. During last season’s conference finals, the Cavs featured a lineup that was missing Kevin Love completely and a Kyrie Irving hobbling around on one leg for just two of the four games.
During the 2015 Conference Finals sweep, the Hawks actually guarded Cleveland well on the three point line. Cleveland shot just 39% from beyond the arc throughout four games, relying on LeBron James’ triple double average to win them the series.
But now with the addition of their two healthy All-Stars going into this year’s playoffs, Coach Lue and the Cavs knew that they had the ability to blow this series wide open, and did so with the three ball.
Cleveland set a new NBA record for most three point field goals made in a four game series with 57 against Detroit in the first round. That record lasted all of 15 days as the Cavs went and destroyed their own record, draining 77 triples in four games, including an NBA record 25 threes in Game 2.
— Cavs Nation TV (@CavsNationTV) May 9, 2016
The shooting barrage against the Hawks was incredible, the home crowd was rocking, and the Hawks were stunned. Cleveland set quite a few shooting records through the series, including:
Most 3PT FG’s made in a four-game playoff series with 77
Most 3PT FG’s made in a single game regular and/or post season with 25
Most 3PT FG’s made in a half with 18
First team to hit 15+ 3PT FG’s in four consecutive games
First team to hit 20+ 3PT FG’s in back to back games
The craziest stat of the series has to be this; Cleveland nearly set the record for most three point field goals made in a series ever. The Hawks currently hold that record, hitting 79 threes in 2014 through seven games. The Cavaliers were two short of the record through just FOUR games. They simply shot the ball at a clip that has never been seen before.
The Cavs clearly used the three ball as their main weapon and were moving the ball poetically, finding wide open jump shooters all over the place. Up until late in Game 4, the Cavs had made more three-point field goals than two-point field goals. No team has ever done that in a playoff series. In the end they made more two-pointers (81) than three-pointers (77), but the fact that it was that close speaks volumes of the Cavs’ unprecedented zone from beyond the arc.
The directive was clear, precise, and dominating. Cleveland put on a show like no other and completely dominated a stunned Atlanta Hawks squad, again. With either a Heat or Raptor series up next, it’ll be interesting to see if Coach Lue attempts to continue riding the hot streak from beyond the arc.
But sit back and relax Cavs Nation, because while we watch Miami and Toronto slug it out for a spot in the conference finals, we know our Cavaliers are resting and preparing to take another step towards completing an unfinished business.