Dribbles: Look out, Cavs finding their stride
Random dribbles after the Cavaliers' 100-98 win over the host Pistons in Game 4 of their first-round playoff series Sunday.
1. It's over. I remember writing that after Game 1. But now it's official.
2. The Pistons' young, brash bunch were no match for the experience of LeBron James and friends. That group, of course, includes Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. And watch out, NBA. The Big Three are suddenly clicking.
3. After an up-and-down regular season, Irving has saved his best for the playoffs. He scored 31 points Sunday and averaged a team-high 27.5 for the playoffs. He's hit a couple amazing shots. He's playing with great confidence.
4. Kyrie on returning from knee surgery, and the playoffs: "I knew that the preparation was for the postseason. I knew that during the regular season, there was going to be peaks and valleys, and I really just had to come to grips with it."
5. Irving still occasionally dribbles with no real purpose and messes around with the ball too much. It was a problem during the regular season. He's been better lately, though. At least now it only seems to happen in spurts.
6. Read: Given all the great things Irving has done this postseason, the Cavs can live with him sometimes reverting to bad habits.
7. Before any of you insist Kyrie or Love or even LeBron change their ways, allow me to break out a line from the great Gregg Popovich when talking about NBA players: "He am what he am."
8. In other words, there's no such thing as the perfect player. Everyone has their flaws. Question is, can you win a title with those flaws? In the case of Irving and Cavs, I'm starting to believe, yes, you can.
9. Anyway, back to the matter at hand. James scored 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the clincher. Love went for 11 and 13, respectively. But Love really struggled to shoot the ball, finishing 3-of-15.
10. Love could certainly afford to become more of an "overcomer" when the ball isn't dropping. He seems to settle way too much. But for more on that, I'll refer you to Jeff Kasler's column on this very site.
11. Overall, I like what I've seen from the Cavs. J.R. Smith (15 points, 5-of-7 on threes) buried some truly remarkable shots. Matthew Dellavedova (11 points) and Tristan Thompson are bringing great energy.
12. My concern would be everyone off the bench not nicknamed Delly. But more on that as we move closer to the second round.
13. The Cavs await the winner of the Celtics-Hawks series that's currently tied at 2-all. That means the Cavs are off until at least Saturday -- and all the way until next week if the Hawks-Celtics series goes to a Game 7. (I think it will, by the way.)
14. So the Cavs will practice and rest and aim to build on what has been a very good stretch. Not bad, huh?