Al Iannazzone Newsday Knicks beat writer Al Iannazzone.

Al Iannazzone joined Newsday in January 2012 as the Knicks’ beat writer, after covering the NBA for 11 years for The Record. Al covered the Knicks and Nets in that time, and also reported on the U.S. Open tennis tournament and other major sporting events. Al appeared regularly on the YES Network’s Nets pregame show from 2005-2011.

Follow him on Twitter @Al_Iannazzone.
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The NBA playoffs have produced excitement and some unexpected results, but there have been way too many lopsided games.

This deep into the NBA postseason, the teams should be better matched and have the same sense of urgency. There should be more drama and intrigue, so home viewers aren’t reaching for the remote to find those things on other channels.

The Cavaliers crushed the Raptors, 116-78, in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals on Wednesday night in what was a must-win for each team. Cleveland played with the kind of determination and resolve needed in these moments, producing the kind of performance you would expect from LeBron James’ team. The Raptors played as if they were satisfied that they won two games.

Cleveland led by as many as 43 points and embarrassed the Raptors to take a 3-2 series lead. James is one win from leading his team to the NBA Finals for the sixth straight year. Let’s hope Game 6 in Toronto on Friday will be closer and more hotly contested - the way playoff games are supposed to be.

This series has opened some eyes because of Toronto’s wins in Games 3 and 4 when most expected the Cavaliers to sweep the Raptors. But this series also has put some to sleep. These games haven’t been competitive.

The Cavaliers won the first two games by 31 and 19, respectively. Toronto was up 18 in both of its games at home. Game 5 followed a similar script only it was the least competitive and entertaining of all unless you’re a Cavs fan or had money on the game. By the way, the Cavaliers were a safe bet.

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The Raptors played with no resistance, no fight. Their stars didn’t show up. After Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan combined for 67 points in Game 4, they were just 7-for-20 with 27 points total in Game 5.

“They kicked our butts,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. We knew they were going to come out like a freight train, they did. I don’t know if we were ready for the train that was about to come down the tracks on us.”

The Western Conference finals haven’t been much better. That series has more juice and interest, though, because the Oklahoma City Thunder has the NBA-champion Golden State Warriors on the ropes, down 3-1. But those games haven’t been close either.

Golden State won Game 2 by 27 points. Games 3 and 4 in Oklahoma City went to the home team by a total of 54 points. It would be surprising if Game 5 on Thursday night follows a similar script.

The Warriors will be a desperate team, and on their court. But the Thunder is hungry, has been to the Finals before, and has star players who know this is their best chance to win it all. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook will show up at Oracle Arena.

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There are no guarantees Durant will be back next season – although it’s hard to see him leaving Oklahoma City now. This is a special team and Durant is playing with a special player in Westbrook, who never stops attacking.

The Thunder is playing like a team that could win multiple championships if the nucleus can stay together. That was the expectation in Cleveland when James returned home to play with Kyrie Irving and recruited Kevin Love to join the party.

It hasn’t gone exactly how the Cavs had hoped, but here they are one win from back-to-back Finals’ trips. And this time they have a healthy Irving and Love. Last year, James had to do most of the heavy lifting himself against the better, deeper, more talented Warriors. He didn’t have to do that Wednesday night.

James had an efficient 23-point, eight-assist, six-rebound night. But Love showed up for the first time in three games. He sat out the fourth quarter for the third straight game but that’s because it was already decided and Love did enough to help the Cavaliers put it out of reach.

The oft-maligned third member of Cleveland’s Big Three made his first six shots, scored 19 by the half to help the Cavaliers build a 31-point advantage. Love finished 8-for-10 with 25 points in 24 minutes to lead the Cavaliers. In the prior two games, he was 5-for-23 with 13 total points.

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You could say the Cavs need Love, but Love’s not all they need.

What worked for Cleveland was a return to attacking the basket and not morphing into a three-point shooting team. They shot 41 three-pointers in each game in Toronto. The Cavs cut that number nearly in half, attempting 21 and knocking down 10.

James wasn’t bothered by the previous two losses to Toronto, not after all his playoff experiences. He never had a doubt the Cavaliers would win this game.

“I’ve been a part of some really adverse situations,” he said. “I just didn’t believe this was one of them. I’ve been really calm about the whole situation.”

Now James finds himself in a familiar position, playing in another close-out game in the Eastern Conference finals. James will show up, but Irving and Love have to also. More than anything, let’s hope the game will be tight and have the playoff-type intensity that has been missing in these series.