Monday, May 30, 2016

2016 Cavs Playoffs ~ Eastern Conference Finals vs. Toronto

Game One - May 17, 2016

Fresh back from a week in Mexico, I was ready to return to Cavs playoff action. Sure, I'd rather be back at the pool in Playa, but this was nice to come home to...

I didn't care much about who won the Miami/Toronto series. Honestly, Toronto fans are awesome and Miami fans don't exist, so I guess I was rooting for Toronto because no one likes a team with no real fans. In the end I was just happy they went to seven games and the Cavs had a lot of rest.

Sean and I went to game one together. With an 8:30 start, we had to mentally prepare for the late night ahead of us. A new intro is always fun and this one had lots and lots of fire.

Game one was another fun game. I don't need these playoff games to be "close" in order for them to be good games. The Cavs need their legs and if we can sit our starters for an entire quarter, I'll take it!

After a 33-28 first quarter, the Cavs outscored the Raptors 33-16 in the second, which included a 20-2 spurt and a swarming defense that was making life miserable for Lowry and his teammates. Toronto didn't get its first field goal until 6:28 remained in the quarter.

The Cavs scored an incredible 66 points and were up 22 at the half. LeBron scored 14 points on 7-7 FG and the team shot 67 percent from the field. An extra special visit from Steve was just the icing on the cake! ‪#‎ALLIN216.

In contrast to the Atlanta series, Cleveland made just 7 of 20 threes in game one, but they were able to dominate the Raptors inside by outrebounding them 45-23. LeBron James shot 11-13 from the field and scored 24 points in three quarters, while Kyrie Irving scored 27 and Kevin Love chipped in 14 points.

The Cavs continued to roll through the East with total domination as they beat the Raptors 115-84 and moved on to game two.

Nine Down...Seven to Go

Game Two - May 19, 2016

My friend Liberty drove in from Niagara, NY for game two. Another die hard fan, I knew she would be excited to go to a playoff game with me. We met downtown for happy hour and were excited for the next several hours of entertainment.

After the 31 point blowout in game one, Toronto kept it a lot closer in game two. With seven lead changes, the teams finished the first quarter with the Cavs up 30-28.

Behind 11 points from LeBron, Cleveland outscored Toronto 32-20 in the second quarter and closed the first half with a decisive 16-2 run to take a 62-48 lead entering halftime. Steve even met us for a quick picture.

The Raptors stayed competitive in the second half, but the Cavs had just too much firepower. James finished with his 15th playoff triple-double with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists, while Kyrie and Kevin scored 26 and 19 and Cleveland went on to win 108-89 over the Raptors. Cleveland improved to 10-0 in the playoffs and became just the fourth team to start the postseason with 10 straight wins.

It was another great Cavs win and Liberty and I had an awesome time. The Cavs are playing their best basketball right now and I cannot wait for game three in Toronto.

we. just. want. more.

10 Down...Six to Go

Game Three - May 21, 2016

On Saturday afternoon, Steve and I had lunch at B-Spot in preparation for game three. We were anxiously nervous because we knew Toronto's best chance at a win would be game three in Toronto. 

Kevin and Lisa joined us for dinner at our house where we enjoyed a few snacks, cucumber margaritas, #ALL4ONE beers and of course, chicken sausages from the West Side Market.

From the start, Cleveland struggled. Kyrie and Kevin couldn't hit a shot and Toronto was playing with more heart. Leading nearly the entire game and by as many as 18, the Raptors were led by DeMar DeRozan who scored 32 points and Bismack Biyombo who set a Toronto playoff record with 26 rebounds. Kyle Lowry scored 20 points, while Cory Joseph added 14 points and Patrick Patterson and DeMarre Carroll each had 10 for Toronto.

Cleveland was led by LeBron James with 24 points and J.R. Smith with 22, while Kyrie and Kevin combined for 4-28 from the floor. The Big Three combined for 40 points and that's not going to cut it. As a team, the Cavs shot 35% from the field and were outrebounded 54-40. Toronto played a great game and Cleveland did not. Game four is on Monday and the Cavs need to bounce back.

Still 10 Down...Six to Go

Game Four - May 23, 2016

Live by the three. Die by the three.

These games are making me sick to my stomach and game four made me physically ill. I was pretty confidant that Toronto would take game three, but I was also pretty confidant that the Cavs would bounce back in game four.

I was wrong.

Despite shooting 47% from the floor, the Cavs took a ridiculous 41 shots from behind the arc; connecting on only 13 (3-23 in the first half). Cleveland was down by as many as 18 points and the Raptors led 78-69 entering the final quarter. Cleveland opened the fourth by making their first 11 shots and took a one point lead (84-83) with 8:20 remaining in the game. Cleveland couldn't hold on and lost the battle in the final few minutes of the game. Toronto took game four behind Kyle Lowry's 35 points and DeMar DeRozan's 32 points as the Raptors shot nearly 54% from the field in their 105-99 victory over Cleveland.

A series that was drastically lopsided after game two is now even as the two teams return to Cleveland.

Still 10 Down...Six to Go

Game Five - May 25, 2016

That was fun.

Game five was the most important game of the playoffs thus far and the Cavs came through with another exciting performance. They played out of their minds and I was a willing witness.

Kevin and I started the night at the casino with a beautiful slice from Rocco & Rosie's, following by good cheap drinks in the Diamond Lounge. 

Of course we needed to stay hydrated. These same drinks cost 3x as much at The Q.

Nervous excitement doesn't even begin to describe our emotions at the start of the game. Cleveland came out with a purpose and knew they needed to reclaim the series. They led for the entire game and by as many as FORTY THREE points. Yes. 43. Unbelievable. It's the Eastern Conference Finals and it was a blow out of all blow outs.

So. Much. Fun.

At halftime, the Raptors had only 34 points. The Cavs big three of James, Irving and Love had outscored the entire Raptors team 43-34 and the Cavs 31-point halftime lead was the largest in conference finals history.

This beauty was located just outside our section. The convenience and taste was just too good to resist!


Our friends in New Jersey were even representing!

Short people selfie problems.

The Cavs dominated every aspect of the box score, including a staggering 48-27 on the boards.

DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry scored 14 and 13 for the Raptors, who were overwhelmed from the start. Bismack Biyombo had just four rebounds after getting 40 the past two games. 

 The Cavs shot 57% from the floor and the big three combined for 73 of Cleveland's 116 points. The Cavs took home the 116-78 victory and have won its three games in the series by a combined 88 points.


11 Down...Five to Go

Game Six - May 27, 2016

Steve, Lisa, Kevin and I decided to venture downtown for the Cavs watch party at The Q. Steve and I went once last year and thought it would be neat for this potential close-out Game Six.

Sean was out of town with Alex and the kids, so we thought it would be fun to make #LilSean and bring him along with us to the watch party and the shenanigans before and after the game. 

We started with a selfie at the Free Stamp.

We decided to bring #LilSean to the rooftop bar at Azure in The Nine and then for a quick drink at the Wild Eagle Saloon before heading into The Q as doors opened.

 Steve had access to employee tickets which allocated us to the VIP section of the Club Level with complimentary snacks, beer and wine. With a crowd of nearly 16,000, it was not sold out, but it was totally packed! 

The watch party was fun and they really try to re-create a home game atmosphere. The starting line-ups were introduced with little kids wearing the respective player’s jersey and the dance and scream teams performed as well a halftime act. It’s a great opportunity for families who are not able to attend home games or for people like us who want to be around the action.

The Cavaliers made 10-15 threes in the first half while Toronto was just 2-12 and the Cavs held a 55-41 lead heading into halftime. 

Cleveland shot the ball well during the entire game, going 54% from the field and 55% from three. The Cavs put the final nail in the coffin as they outscored the Raptors 27-13 in the 4th to beat Toronto 113-87 and advance to their second straight NBA Finals.

#LilSean was well aware of last call!

Kyle Lowry scored 35 and DeMar DeRozan had 20 for Toronto as the Cavs were clearly the more talented team. 

Cleveland's big three combined for 83 points - James scored 33, while Love had 20 points and 12 rebounds and Kyrie had 30. J.R. Smith chipped in another 15 points for the Cavaliers as LeBron makes his sixth straight trip to the NBA Finals.  

After the game we brought #LilSean to The Corner Alley. He was a dancing machine!

12 Down...Four to Go!!

Steve and I cured our Eastern Conference Champion hangover with a visit to Mabel's, Michael Symon's newest establishment followed by a quick stop at the team shop

It's been a great ride so far, but we're not done. We are happy to see the Cavs playing into June and...