This evening, the Eastern Conference Finals gets underway, but first, another important event: the NBA Draft Lottery. My favorite team, the Celtics, have an excellent chance at scoring a top three pick, thanks to the Paul Pierce/Kevin Garnett trade with the Nets. As crummy as it was to get rid of those guys, big thanks to the Nets for thinking they were worth all of these draft picks. Seriously, thank you a million times over. The lottery is always exciting, as it can make or break each team’s future plans. There’s also all sorts of implications due to trades, such as the Lakers potentially losing their pick tonight if it falls out of the top 3. That’s on before tonight’s game, so, we might as well chime in on that while we’re here.
As for the actual basketball playing, tonight we’ll see Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Toronto Raptors. Not many people, including we here at The Bonus, have much faith in the Raptors being able to make this series interesting. The Cavs are still undefeated here in the Playoffs, and I think it’s very possible they’re remain that way all the way to the Finals.
7:59 pm – We’re live in New York City for the 2016 NBA Draft Lottery! Things I’m rooting for tonight: the Celtics getting the first or second pick, and the Lakers falling out of the top three and having to give their pick to Philadelphia. Who is about to have their night ruined? We’ll find out shortly.
8:05 – BORING!!!
8:08 – So far, we’ve seen Marc Jones and Jay Bilas discussing the draft prospects, and interviews by Heather Cox with top prospects Brandon Ingram and Buddy Hield. BORING!!! The projected prize of the draft, Ben Simmons, has elected to stay home. Well, who knows if he’s home, maybe he went out. He’s definitely not at the lottery, though.
8:11 – Now they’re talking about the Lakers, who once again could lose their lottery pick if it falls out of the top three, which would be hilarious. If that happens, it’d go to the Sixers, who already have the best chance to land the top pick.
8:13 – Finally! They’re introducing all of the people that are their to represent their teams. It’s a menagerie of players, coaches and executives.
8:14 – Many teams have brought good luck charms with them. Rookie of the Year Karl-Anthony Towns has brought the late Timberwolves head coach Flip Saunders’ wedding band, for instance.
8:15 – Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak is seated next to Sixers coach Brett Brown, making the prospect of the Lakers surrendering their pick to Philly even more hilarious.
8:20 – Okay, here we go!
Picking 14th: Chicago Bulls
Picking 13th: Phoenix Suns (acquired in the Markieff Morris trade with Washington)
Picking 12th: Utah Jazz
Picking 11th: Orlando Magic
Picking 10th: Milwaukee Bucks
Picking 9th: Toronto Raptors (acquired in some wacky trade involving the Knicks)
Picking 8th: Sacramento Kings
Picking 7th: Denver Nuggets
Picking 6th: New Orleans Pelicans
Picking 5th: Minnesota Timberwolves
Picking 4th: Phoenix Suns
Damn it, the Lakers are going to keep their pick, and there was no change in the order based on the odds going into the lottery. BORING! More importantly, the Celtics are still in the running for the first pick! We’ll find out the top three after a commercial break.
8:25 – All right, we’re back!
Picking 3rd: Boston Celtics
Picking 2nd: Los Angeles Lakers
Picking 1st: Philadelphia 76ers
Well, the odds remained intact. Nobody lost any picks, and everybody will be picking where they were expected to.
8:29 – And now we’re off to Cleveland for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Hopefully it’s more unpredictable than that lousy Draft Lottery, but I don’t see how the Raptors are going to be able to defeat the Cavs. I am already disheartened. Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson will narrate the action.
8:38 – The Cavs win the opening tip, and the Eastern Conference Finals are underway! After Kyrie Irving misses a two-pointer, Patrick Patterson nails a three for the first points of the game, putting the Raptors ahead, 3-0.
8:41 – LeBron James backs down DeMarre Carrol and gets an easy bucket in the paint, scoring the first points for the Cavs. The only thing is, they’re down 7-2 after a fast start from the Raptors.
8:45 – We’ve got our first time out with the score Toronto 15, Cleveland 11 with 6:41 left in the first quarter. The Raptors are off to a great start, shooting 7-10 from the floor. The bad news for them is, LeBron James looks like he’s going to be able to have his way against DeMarre Carroll. LeBron’s already 3-3 from the field, and making things look effortless.
8:53 – LeBron James blocks a shot, and it leads to a layup by Kyrie Irving on the other end. It leads to a time out with the score Cleveland 23, Toronto 21 with 3:27 left in the first quarter. LeBron, Irving and Love have combined to score 22 of the Cavs 23 points thus far.
— NBA (@NBA) May 18, 2016
9:01 – The first quarter comes to a close with the score Cleveland 33, Toronto 28. Both teams played well, but the Raptors couldn’t make things hard enough on the Cavs to take advantage of their nice start. Cleveland shot 13-19 in the quarter, many of which came off of easy layups. Kyrie Irving has 12 points to lead Cleveland, and DeMar DeRozan’s also got 12 for the Raptors.
9:07 – Channing Frye knocks down a three for the first basket of the third quarter, extending the Cavs lead to 36-28.
9:08 – Matthew Dellavedova follows up Frye’s three with one of his own, and the Raptors need a time out with the score Cleveland 39, Toronto 28 with 10:53 left in the first half. The Cavs are on a 12-0 run.
— NBA (@NBA) May 18, 2016
9:19 – Iman Shumpert storms through the hoop and throws down a dunk so hard, he lands awkwardly and appears to have hurt himself. He gets up and gingerly heads over to the Cavs bench. He’s in better shape than the Raptors are. They’re giving up layup after layup, and dunk after dunk, and they’ve missed their last 11 shots. As a result, the score’s Cleveland 49, Toronto 30 with 6:54 left in the first half.
9:28 – Patrick Patterson throws down a dunk, and the Raptors are making a little noise here. They’ve made the score Cleveland 54, Toronto 42 with 2:58 left in the second quarter.
9:40 – We’ve made it to halftime, and the score’s Cleveland 66, Toronto 44. The Cavs Big Three is getting the job done here tonight. Kyrie Irving’s scored 18, LeBron’s got 14 on 7-7 shooting, and Kevin Love has ten. DeMar DeRozan has 16 points on 8-13 shooting to break out of his recent slump, but he’s gotten little help from his teammates. The Raptors have been atrocious on defense, and all of LeBron’s seven shots have been easy layups. and the Cavs are shooting 66.7% as a team. BORING!
9:45 – Let’s see if Today in NBA Playoff History can rescue us. As always, it’s brought to you by Basketball-Reference.
Let’s go back to May 17, 1992 for another big night in Cleveland Cavaliers history. In Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, the Cavs took care of business against the Boston Celtics with a 122-104 victory. This was the very first season I was aware of the NBA. I was four years old, and very upset. Brad Daugherty led Cleveland with 28 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists, and Hot Rod Williams came off the bench for 20 points and 8 boards. Reggie Lewis led the Celtics with 22 points, and in the last game of his legendary career, Larry Bird had 12 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists on 6-9 shooting. Ironically, when I was a young lad, I really liked those Cavs teams for some reason, even if they ended my first season as a Celtics fan on a dour note.
9:57 – Bismack Biyombo takes a pass from Patrick Patterson and dunks it, scoring the first points of the second half, and cutting the Cavs lead all the way down to 66-46.
9:58 – Biyombo flies in for another dunk, and the Raptors have scored the first six points of the third quarter, prompting the Cavs to take a time out. The score’s Cleveland 66, Toronto 50 with 10:49 left in the quarter.
10:02 – Patrick Patterson takes an elbow from Kevin Love to the jaw, and he’s down on the ground for awhile. The refs are reviewing to see if it’s a flagrant foul, which I feel is lame, as Love didn’t mean to hit him, Patterson was just all up in his air space. It is indeed called a flagrant foul. Patterson goes 1-2 from the line, and the Raptors trail, 66-51.
10:13 – After LeBron James and Bismack Biyombo collide, they square off, but LeBron just walks away. This was after LeBron committed an offensive foul. Things are starting to get chippy, and they continue that way as James then knocks over Kyle Lowry.
10:15 – We’ve got a time out with the score Cleveland 79, Toronto 56 with 5:39 left in the third. At this point, the recent chippiness is the only thing to keep our interest going.
10:21 – Another review as Bismack Biyombo fouls Tristan Thompson hard as he goes up for a layup. This one ends up being a common foul after another thrilling review. I would take intentionally fouling over these reviews every time.
10:33 – We’ve made it to the end of the third quarter with the score Cleveland 95, Toronto 67. I do not regret picking the Cavs to sweep the Raptors.
10:36 – Matthew Dellavedova hits a short shot, and the Cavs score first in the fourth and build their lead up to 97-67.
10:38 – The worst thing about this is that it gives Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson free reign to just talk about whatever they want, which is almost always an excruciating experience.
10:43 – A time out with the score Cleveland 97, Toronto 70 with 9:10 left in the game. BORING!
10:52 – Down 29, Terrence Ross goes down the baseline and goes up for a big dunk…and he blows it! Just perfect.
10:53 – We’ve got a time out with the score Cleveland 105, Toronto 76 with 5:39 left in the ball game. We’ve reached the point of the game where such luminaries as Timofey Mozgov, Dahntay Jones and James Jones are in the game for the Cavs. Remember last year when Mozgov was a key component for the Cavs?
11:02 – Timofey Mozgov gets himself a put-back dunk, and it leads to what should be one more goddamn time out. The score’s Cleveland 115, Toronto 82 with 1:50 left in the game.
11:06 – We get a depressing live look at Jurassic Park in Toronto, where the fans assemble to watch the games. There’s still people there, so props to those guys for sticking this one out.
11:08 – This one finally comes to an end with the score Cleveland 115, Toronto 84. It’s the largest win in Cavaliers Playoff history, so at least we got to witness a historic moment.
Kyrie Irving once again led the Cavs in scoring, finishing with 27 to go along with 5 assists. LeBron scored 24 and grabbed 6 rebounds while shooting 11-13 from the field. Richard Jefferson came off the bench to contribute 9 points and 11 rebounds. DeMar DeRozan led an unfortunate Raptors effort with 18 points and 5 assists.
What is there to say? The Cavaliers continue to look unstoppable, mainly because they literally haven’t been stopped during these Playoffs. It’s hard not to look ahead and just pencil them into the Finals, but this was only one game. They still have to win three more, and, well, it’s quite likely they will. It’s just that those games still actually need to be played, we can’t just put the Cavs in the Finals without them happening, as much as we might want to. So, you know, stay tuned and whatnot.