Terry Pluto: For the Cavs, It's Suddenly a Very Serious Series

May 25, 2016

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The Cavaliers return to their home court for game five of what’s become an intense battle against Toronto in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Cavs have lost two playoff games in a row after winning their first 10. Commentator Terry Pluto talks about how the Cavs need to adjust:

After winning the first game of the series by 31 points, Pluto changed his prediction that the series would go six games -- thinking maybe it would be another sweep for the Cavs. Now the series is tied at two games apiece.

"It’s very a serious series right now," he says. 

Big trouble for two of the big three
Pluto says the two-game losing streak  has been a tough reality check for two of the Cavs big three: Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.

"They were 14-0 in the playoffs dating back to last season. Those were the only games that Love and Irving had played in the postseason. So they could have easily been thinking, ‘This is just how it’s going to be when all three of us are together; nobody can handle us!’  Well, they know better now," Pluto says. 

A lack of confidence
Pluto says Irving and Love need to regain their confidence for game five.

"In game three, Irving shot 3-of-19. You could see it in his face, doubt was all over it. Love went up to Canada and left his confidence on the other side of Lake Erie. They left him wide open from the outside, dared him to shoot and he was banging one shot after another off the rim."

And he says Love, too, was barely rebounding, having just nine total in two games. 

Mental preparedness
Pluto says the rest of the series will test the Cavs' resiliency, and they'll need to rely on LeBron James.

"He’s won two titles. He knows what it’s like to play great in the playoffs, [and] he knows what it’s like to play crumby in the playoffs. He’s the one who’s been there and knows what it takes to win those games and can drag these other guys along with him. His confidence can be infectious to the other players."

A bad omen
The last team to win the first 10 playoff games in a row were the San Antonio Spurs in 2012.

"They were up 2-0 on Oklahoma City and lost their next four games. They never even got to the finals! You can lose that mojo or the “it” factor, and then you have to fight like crazy to get it back.

"They didn’t take Toronto seriously; they didn’t realize how that crowd up there is just crazy. The Cavs have played four games up there (two in the regular season, two in the playoffs) and they’ve lost them all.

"I still think the Cavs are going to win the series, and I expect them to feed off of their home crowd. But it’s a very serious series."