Cleveland Cavaliers On A Roll
The All Star weekend done with, we are now all set for the stretch run in the NBA. There is little time left in the NBA regular season, and there are several teams fighting for playoff spots. Stranger things have happened of course, but that’s another topic altogether. For now, I want to focus my attention on the surging Cleveland Cavaliers.
Yes, the same Cavaliers that have stunk for a majority of the season, but are now the hottest team in the league. In my last article (‘What’s Wrong With The Cleveland Cavaliers?’), I had written about the mess that the Cavs had gotten themselves into by playing poor basketball. But now, things are looking much, much better.
Come mid-March in the Eastern Conference, there could be 4 teams that may well be fighting for the eighth playoff spot – the Bobcats, Pistons, Knicks, and Cavs. The trade deadline is tomorrow (20th), and by the time you all read this, the Cavs may have made a move or two. Ship Deng? Get rid of Jarrett Jack? Trade Waiters? Acquire a veteran forward? Trade for a shooting guard? Well, who knows. It’s sometimes said that never tinker with a winning combination. But for the Cavs, this 6 game win streak is not something that has happened often after 2010. It has been a rarity for Cavs fans to experience this joy, to be honest.
Some haters are saying that this streak has come against weak teams like Sacramento, Detroit, Orlando, and Philadelphia. Whatever man. A win is a win is a win. This is the NBA. Every game counts. What’s been so good to watch in the last 2 weeks is that the Cavs are winning while having a blast on the court, They are smiling, cracking jokes, and gelling incredibly well. Not something many had envisioned after hearing news about the apparent locker room fight between Waiters and a couple players. Not after watching Anthony Bennett shoot the ball in a way as if he had been told that for every bucket made he would have to pay a million bucks. Not after the fans started losing faith in Mike Brown. Not after the firing of Chris Grant. Not so long after that firing, acting GM David Griffin had said that one of his biggest goals was to keep the players happy. He mentioned he wanted to see them smile and enjoy the game. Which is precisely what’s happening at the moment.
There have been a few setbacks. Varejao, the double-double machine, has been banged up. Waiters hyperextended his knee against the 76ers on landing awkwardly after a monstrous dunk, and is day-to-day. CJ Miles went down hard under the basket tonight, and his status for the next few games is uncertain. Deng’s productivity has not been like it was in Chicago. Fortunately, Tristan Thompson, Tyler Zeller and Bennett (yes, that guy!) have been among the scorers. Waiters was playing like a stud until he got hurt. Kyrie Irving, MVP of the All Star game, has played like, well, Kyrie Irving.
The Cavs have been very good on both sides of the ball over these six games, but they’ve especially soared on offense. They have been stingy on D, too, and that must be making Mike Brown sleep like a baby at night. Simply put, they are just playing better, and sharing the ball more readily. But Cleveland has to be very careful overreacting to this win streak. The schedule doesn’t get any easier, and don’t forget, they are still 3 games behind Charlotte for the eighth playoff spot. So there’s still a long way to go.
The Cavs badly want to make the playoffs. It has been a demoralizing four years since LeBron left. They told everyone at the lottery last season, after winning it for the second time in four years, that there will be no more lottery bound seasons for the Cavs for a long time. Playoff games lift spirits of the team, the fan base, the city, the state. Playoff games give young players valuable experience. Playoff games bring in a lot of revenue.
For the Cavs, playoff games (fingers crossed) will do all of the above, plus bring a lot of smiles, which the franchise and the city of Cleveland fully deserve.
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Proud Cleveland Browns, Cavs, & Indians Fan.
Sports on my mind 24/7/365.