Photo: USA Today Sports

So far the Cleveland Cavaliers have breezed through the playoffs facing little resistance from their foes. With LeBron James literally carrying the team on his back, opponents haven’t taken advantage of injuries to Kevin Love or Kyrie Irving.

Add the fact that David Blatt isn’t making a name for himself as coach by calling timeouts when the team doesn’t have any and being overshadowed by James in crucial moments. Not only is LeBron James the primary ball handler, but he’s also their power forward, leader in assists and coach on the floor.

It’s not a knock on James as much of it is on the competition. Players like Timofey Mozgov, J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson have stepped up, but so far the Cavs have overachieved.

The other pretenders in the East have done just the opposite. Boston and Toronto got swept. Brooklyn shouldn’t even have been in the playoffs, yet still took the Hawks to six games which is more of an indictment on Atlanta. Milwaukee tried their best, but was overmatched by Chicago. The Wizards would have been more exciting to watch against the Cavs while the Bulls should have beaten the wounded Cavs, but terribly underachived. That leaves the Hawks who looked more disorganized on offense than any resemblance of the Spurs 2.0.

With that the Cavs seem predestined for the NBA Finals barring a miracle by the Atlanta Hawks. It doesn’t hurt the Cavs chances that James tends to get favorable calls and no one actually wants to see the Hawks in the Finals. In the West it’s been a Battle Royale with most series going deep and without a clear-cut favorite. Whomever the Cavs face in the Finals will be tough to overcome since the competition in the West is better and the injuries to Love and Irving will be exposed.

But for now what James is doing has only upgraded his legendary status. Somehow he’s gotten his healthy teammates to contribute at a high level while controlling the game even when he’s off. Maybe the most impressive feat is their lack of strategy is overpowered by their will to win. In sports, tactics go out the door when heart shows up.

In the Cavs case, the path to the NBA Finals is theirs to lose. If James pulls out his 3rd title with this bunch it will be the crowning moment so far in his illustrious career.

Will any challengers in the East please stand up?

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