NBA Playoffs: Now That They've Swept the Raptors, Is It Time to Admit the Cavs Are Better Than We All Thought?

The Cleveland Cavaliers have reached their fourth consecutive Eastern Conference Finals after sweeping the Toronto Raptors 4-0.

The Cavs have now eliminated Toronto in the last three seasons–sweeping them in the last two years–and in the process looked a much better team than the one who needed seven games to beat the Indiana Pacers last round.

GettyImages-955785448 (1)
LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrates after the Toronto Raptors called a timeout during the first half of Game 4 of the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on May 7, 2018 in Cleveland. Jason Miller/Getty Images

Whether the win over Toronto means the Cavs have been grossly underestimated, or whether it was more of a case of the Raptors buckling under pressure again, remains to be seen, but here's four things we learnt from the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

LeBron remains untouchable

Betting against LeBron James remains an incredibly risky option. The three-time NBA champion single-handedly dragged the Cavs past the Pacers in the first round and was at his best again against Toronto.

In four games against the Raptors, LeBron averaged 34 points, 8.3 rebounds and 11.3 assists on 55 percent shooting from the field. With the Raptors looking to level the series in Game Two, LeBron scored 43 points, before nailing the buzzer-beater that gave Cleveland a win on home court in Game Three.

Toronto was supposed to trouble Cleveland, but it couldn't even come close to limiting LeBron.

Love is all around

In the last three games of the series against the Raptors, Kevin Love averaged 25 points and 11 rebounds while shooting 54.6 percent from the field.

In the previous five games in the playoffs, the Cavs' forward averaged 8.8 points and 9.4 points with 26 percent from the field. With Kyrie Irving out of the picture, Love is now firmly the Cavs' second-best player, and the series against the Pacers showed how much Cleveland struggles if its All-Star forward doesn't perform.

Love, however, is back. And that could spell trouble for whichever team faces the Cavs in the Eastern Conference Finals.

GettyImages-955817866
Head coach Tyronn Lue of the Cleveland Cavaliers talks with Kevin Love #0 during the second half of Game 4 of the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs against the Toronto Raptors at Quicken Loans Arena on May 7, 2018 in Cleveland. Jason Miller/Getty Images

Every star needs a supporting cast

In the series against the Pacers, LeBron averaged 34.4 points, 10 rebounds and 7.7 assists, but Cleveland struggled because the four-time MVP lacked support.

The matchup was LeBron's 42nd playoff series and the first he has ever won without having a single teammate contributing 20 or more points in a single game.

Against the Raptors, however, the tide turned and it wasn't just Love who contributed as LeBron went from scoring over 36 percent of his team's points against Indiana to 28.7 percent against Toronto.

Tristan Thompson registered 14 points and 12 rebounds, while J.R. Smith and Kyle Korver scored 20 and 19 points respectively in Game One.

Smith, George Hill and Jeff Green combined for 42 points in Game Two, while in Game Four Korver went four-out-of-five from long range, while Smith made all his first five shots in the first quarter.

With a supporting cast firing on all cylinders, the Cavs are an altogether more dangerous teams than when they rely exclusively on LeBron.

Are the Cavs peaking at the right time?

All the above factors combined to give the Cavs a much easier than expected run to the Conference Finals. From getting outscored by 40 points in seven games against Indiana, the Cavs outscored Toronto by 56 in the series.

While that speaks volume for how poor the Raptors were in large parts of the series–it would have been legitimate to expect a lot more from the team that topped the Eastern Conference in the regular season–the Cavs appear to be hitting their stride at the right time and they will fancy their chances against either Boston or the Philadelphia in the conference finals.

The Cavs went 2-1 against the Celtics and 2-2 against the Sixers in the regular season, but their prospects look a lot rosier than they did a week ago.

NBA Playoffs: Now That They've Swept the Raptors, Is It Time to Admit the Cavs Are Better Than We All Thought? | Sports