The Cleveland Cavaliers are advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals for the third straight season and this time around, a familiar competitor has been lighting it up recently for the defending NBA champions. Over the last two seasons, the Cleveland Cavaliers have ran into the Atlanta Hawks throughout their journey to the NBA Finals. A key piece for both of those Atlanta Hawk teams was one of the best three point shooters in the NBA, Kyle Korver.
The Cleveland Cavaliers acquired the star shooting guard in January from Atlanta, in what was supposed to be a fire sale from a team in the East that yet again realized, no one is beating LeBron James. Almost an every mid-season tradition, Cavaliers General Manager David Griffin thought up another trade: the Cavaliers sent Mike Dunleavy (who the Cavaliers signed last offseason from the Chicago Bulls), Mo Williams (who was contemplating retirement but had never made it official in terms of the NBA), and a protected first round pick to the Atlanta Hawks for their big time 3-point shooter, Kyle Korver
Early on when the Cavaliers acquired Korver from the Hawks, the trade was not shaping out how spoiled fans liked because Korver struggled to adapt to the Cavs offense. As the season progressed, the Cavaliers continued to struggle and caused panic among fans. With the thought looming if the Cavaliers were content of last year’s championship and would they be able to flip the switch in the playoffs? The question was answered: the switch was flipped.
The team gave everyone a little bit of a scare in the first round of the playoffs because it seemed that the Cavaliers had not flipped the switch. Kyle Korver only scored 21 points in four games but scored 12 points in an impressive Cavs comeback in Game 3 of the first round in Indiana against the Pacers. Despite only scoring 5 points in the following game, Korver proved to be a big time piece to the Cavs puzzle.
For a team that has lacked a true scorer coming off of the bench, especially with Iman Shumpert having glaring struggles throughout the regular season (which led to him to sit the first playoff game for the Cavaliers). J.R. Smith was returning from a months long finger injury but returned to the Cavaliers starting lineup. Korver has shined in his big time role for the defending Champs.
Even though once again LeBron James has been incredible for the Cavs in the playoffs, Kyle Korver has been an essential piece to the Cavaliers success throughout the last two games especially. Scoring 14 points in game one and 18 points in game two, Korver has allowed the Cavs to pull away in both games and ultimately sweep the Raptors.
The Raptors may have been the Cavs biggest test before World War III with the Golden State Warriors, but with a sneaky John Wall Wizards team and a hungry Celtics team led by Isaiah Thomas, Korver will once again need to step into his role in which he thrives with the Cavaliers.
There has been one thing Kyle Korver has yet to be accustomed too as he continues to be a huge part of this Cavaliers team: rest. One thing the 14 year veteran has mentioned that is very unusual to him throughout his career in the NBA, is the Cavaliers love and embrace the sweep because it allows them to get a minimum of one week of rest before the start of the next series.
Korver will be a free agent in July and there will surely be interest from teams to sign him once he is on the market. Although Cavs fans have not been accustomed to having a lights out shooting guard coming off the bench, I am sure they could get used to watching this guy come off the bench and have the Cavs pull away trough out the next 8 games. The Cleveland Cavaliers will take on the Boston Celtics or the Washington Wizards in the Eastern Conference Finals.