Can you believe it? Most fans thought that this years Cavaliers team would be a very good team but did you really think that just a little past the midway point of the season you would be saying that the Cavaliers are the best team record wise in the NBA?
Well, here they are at 35-8 and standing alone and above some of the best in the NBA including the Lakers 35-9 and the Celtics who have played a few more games then the cavs at this point, but have one more loss then the Cavs at 38-9.
This has been a very healthy thing for Cleveland sports fans who had to suffer through disappointments from both the Indians, and especially the Browns over the past year.
After experiencing what the Cleveland fans did with the Browns, the fans needed and were ready for something that they could believe in, and now in the darkest hour have come LeBron James and the Cavaliers with just that. Hope.
Here now are just a few random thoughts about the Cavaliers as they look to put a historic finish on what has already been a historic season.
What has been the biggest improvement
I think that there are two fronts to the answer to this question. Maybe even three.
1. The offense is finally understanding that it has to move the ball and rotate. No longer are we seeing this horrible offense where LeBron Brings the ball down the court, dribbles it between his legs and then tries to figure out a way to go to the hoop while everyone else just stands and watches. Well, I guess we still see it sometimes, but not nearly as often.
Mostly it is because of Mo Williams running the point, but it is also because guys are finally starting to understand the need to spread the floor as well. Plus, it helps that we have shooters that know their role on this team.
The guys on offense are actually setting picks, fighting for offensive rebounds and looking to get open for high percentage shots. It has been a beautiful thing to watch.
Speaking of beautiful to watch, the defense has been just as inspired as the offense has. We were all quick to get on Mike Brown about his coaching ability and lack of ability to get the team to play defense two years ago, but look at the team now!
I love that guys are all doing their part to get a turn over, or do whatever they can, blocked shots, defensive rebounds, they dive for balls, they are getting up in other peoples faces, it has been refreshing to watch.
Going back to offense, the outside shooting has improved. 37 percent from beyond the three point arc and they are ninth in the league in scoring averaging 101.2 points per game. I
love the way that Delonte West has grown into the shooting guard role where he has been averaging 12.3 points per game, he seems a little more fit for it and it seems like he can always be counted on to make a big shot when they need it.
I have also been very impressed with the play of Sasha Pavlovic in West's absence, and recently Terrence Kinsey has been making a big impact off the bench as well.
What have some of the disapointments been?
I would really hate to say it, but it looks like Daniel Gibson is not having his best season right now. It seems like he is missing some big shots, shots that he would normally make, and it looks like it frustrates him too. He is only averaging 8.6 points per game. Could it be that he is being used in somewhat of a reduced role? Maybe, but he is still playing plenty of minutes, perhaps his injury from the playoffs last season still bothers him.
Hickson proved me wrong
I'll be very honest, I was one that was not to happy with the selection of J J Hickson. I wanted Chris Douglas-Roberts or Mario Chalmers. However, Hickson has by far surpassed any expectation that I ever had. I love the fact that he can be another energy man coming off the bench, and his learning curve seems to be coming along as well.
Very gritty player not afraid to go up and fight for a rebound, and attack the basket. He really seems to learn from his mistakes as well. He has been a pleasant surprise.
What I have been most impressed with
Other then what I mentioned in improvements I have been most impressed with the unity on the team, you can see that these guys have resolve and that while this is clearly LeBron"s team, no one is looked at as being bigger then the other one. They have all come together with on vision in mind, and that is to win the NBA title.
They seem to learn from there mistakes and make adjustments. Sure there have been a couple games like the opener vs Boston, and the game last week against the Lakers, where it looked like they had the other team beat at half time, and then blew it in the second half, but the have done a better job adjustment wise.
This team is finding ways to win as we saw in the grind it out win on Saturday night against Utah, last Wednesday night when they took over in the second half at Portland, and the win on Friday night at Golden State.
The Long Winding Road
The Cavaliers will have a very difficult schedule awaiting them after the all- star break on February 15th. It includes a their first look at the San Antonio Spurs in a game scheduled to be televised on ESPN on Feb 27 after playing in the Rockets in Houston on the 28 of February. They Also have back to back road games in Atlanta and Miami on March 1 and 2, as well as trips to Phoenix, Boston, two trips to Orlando.
As well as home games against the aforementioned teams and a big match up with the Lakers on Feb 8. Not exactly a cake walk but that Cavs are perfectly capable of keeping the intensity up and handling the challenge, but no more injuries. It is good to see that Z wants to comeback and play against Orlando later this evening, but the team is getting banged up at the wrong time.
The Final Verdict
The Cavaliers have the city's fans that had their hearts ripped apart by the Browns this year reeved up and ready again. They are playing at an unprecedented level, and have all the tools that they need to make this a season of dreams so to say for the team and the fans. They have intensity, they have talent, skill, and dis-er.
The road a head of the is going to be a tough and difficult one. If the Cavs stay true to their course, and continue to keep up their pace, look out Cleveland, you just might have the wild celebration you have been waiting 48 years to have!