The Cleveland Cavaliers Finish Another Playoff Sweep In Basketball

“It’s good for us, and it’s important we stay crisp on the floor,” forward Kevin Love said. “But we’ve been able to find a pretty good blueprint.”

By dismantling their first two opponents, the Cavaliers are conditioning themselves to be even more fearsome as the postseason marches on. They treated the Raptors and the Indiana Pacers, whom they defeated in the first round, like piñatas. Back at their training compound in the Cleveland suburbs, the restorative powers of the massage table and the cold tub await them.

Rest and recovery are James’s two best friends at this stage. On Sunday, he cluttered the box score of the 207th playoff game of his career with 35 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists. In four games against Toronto, James averaged 36 points, 8.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists while shooting 57.3 percent from the field. He is 32. Neither the Pacers nor the Raptors were capable of stopping him, or even slowing him. Up next for the Cavaliers: the Boston Celtics or the Washington Wizards, who are still slugging it out in the conference semifinals.

“I guarantee you, every team’s thought process is: Let’s figure out a way to get past LeBron, and we can play for a title,” said the Raptors’ DeMar DeRozan, who compared the challenge to the Sisyphean task facing opponents of the Michael Jordan-era Chicago Bulls. “As competitors, you want to be in these moments and measure yourself and be able to compete and see. It’s tough. It’s extremely tough. But I wouldn’t want to go against nobody else to make it easy.”

Several teams out west can commiserate with the Raptors. As the N.B.A. edges toward its conference finals, the playoffs are again shaping up as a glorified stage for the Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors, who have combined for 15 wins (and counting) without a loss. Everybody else has been background noise.

Nobody would be surprised to see the Cavaliers and the Warriors back in the N.B.A. finals for the third straight year. Both are doing what they can to eliminate wear and tear through the opening rounds.

Last season, the Warriors endured every challenge that the playoffs could deliver. Stephen Curry injured his knee in the first round. His team needed seven games to defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder in the conference finals. Facing the Cavaliers in the N.B.A. finals, the Warriors built a three-games-to-one series lead before collapsing. They looked spent by the end.

Golden State has experienced no such issues this time around. Even without the sideline presence of Coach Steve Kerr, who continues to receive treatment for the side effects of spinal surgery in 2015, the Warriors are one victory from sweeping the Jazz in their conference semifinal series. The Jazz outlasted the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round, and perhaps that seven-game series took a toll. Or maybe the Warriors are just too good. Their average margin of victory in the first two rounds has been 15.1 points.

More surprising, though, is the way the Cavaliers have coasted. Yes, the Cavaliers are the defending champions. Yes, the Cavaliers employ his eminence, LeBron Raymone James. But there were stretches of the regular season — long stretches, in fact — when they looked mortal. They lost 13 of their final 22 games — and the conference’s top seed, to the Celtics.

“We’re healthy,” James said. “We got more practice time during the playoffs than we did the whole month of March because of injuries and because we were on the road so much.”

At the same time, their struggles turned out to be irrelevant. At practice, Coach Tyronn Lue was developing defensive schemes that he would not reveal until the playoffs. He was also working to incorporate midseason acquisitions like Kyle Korver, who wound up demoralizing the Raptors from 3-point range. On Sunday, he scored 18 points off the bench.

“Guys got bored with the process because we never really used it a lot,” Lue said before Sunday’s game. “But now, you can see that we’re doing it: We’re on the right page; we’re clicking defensively. And that’s because of the work we put in throughout the regular season.”

James toyed with the Raptors. In the second half of Game 3, for example, he lofted a series of runners with his left hand — his off hand. It appeared as if he were doing it just to challenge and amuse himself, to make a lopsided series interesting. He was a big cat pawing at a mouse.

“He seems a lot faster and quicker this year from last year,” DeRozan said, adding, “It’s incredible for someone with that amount of mileage to be able to come back seeming faster and quicker.”

James has long been known as one of the game’s most durable players. Now, in the playoffs, he has made himself as dangerous as ever by playing as few games as possible. Just the way he wants it.