What a difference a series can make. The Cleveland Cavaliers looked to be on life support in their first round series against the Indiana Pacers. But with Kevin Love, J.R. Smith, and George Hill stepping up and joining LeBron James and Kyle Korver, the team is in much higher spirits.
A lot has been made of the help LeBron has received from his teammates this year. But while they struggled early on, LeBron is feeling the love and feeling confident in his current supporting cast.
At the end of the day, I understand a series isn’t won until you win four, so me, personally, my confidence never wavered,” James said. “It’s just who I am. I believe in what I bring to the table and what I can provide to the team, and I believe in my teammates. So as everyone was burying my teammates alive throughout that first-round series, I just continued to tell them, ‘Listen, we can’t win without each and every one doing their job and being as great as they can be,’ and I continued to preach that. So it’s impossible for me to lose confidence in our ballclub, no matter what the stakes are or where we’re down, because if I do that, then where are we going to go from a team aspect?
While things are looking better now, there’s no denying that things got dark for a moment there. Kyle Korver also opened up about the growth the team went through against the Indiana Pacers:
Just felt really dramatic, didn’t it?” he said. “Every quarter felt like really important, and it was, but I think we learned a lot about ourselves in the series, and I think the Pacers made us better. I don’t know if we win this series like this if we didn’t go through that in that first series, so hopefully we keep learning our lessons and continue to get better
Having Love, Smith, and Hill all step up is incredibly beneficial for the Cavs. With a series against the Boston Celtics likely on the horizon, the Cavs likely don’t need as much from their supporting cast as they got against Toronto. Without Kyrie Irving, Boston just isn’t as significant of a threat. But it does give them an opportunity to get other guys going and find another gear prior to the NBA Finals.