Between January 4th and January 13th the Cleveland Cavaliers lost six consecutive games. Since January 15th the Cleveland Cavaliers are 18-2 and on one of the hottest streaks in the NBA this season. It all seems to be coming together for Cleveland after a rough start that saw them post a 19-20 record to begin the season. The memories of that lackluster beginning are being quickly erased and the Cavs now stand at 37-22 and are quickly moving up in the standing and positioning themselves for a playoff spot, the kind of performance fans expected when leBron james returned to town.
How did this revival come about? Well, it’s part chemistry and part lucrative trading. The Cavaliers seem to have gotten into a groove with James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love now becoming a seamless unit, as of old. The trio all work well together in their respective niches. Perhaps just as telling is the arrival of Timothy Mosgov in the center. Mozgov has limited opponents production on the rim, garnering 1.6 blocked shots per game and forcing opposing teams to rely more on outside shooting where Irving and Love are better suited to defend. J.R Smith and Iman Shumpert, both trade additions, have flourished in the Cavaliers system. Smith has regained his promise from the perimeter, and Shumpert is surprisingly leading the team in shooting percentage since his arrival.
Overall, this Cavaliers team now looks like the Cleveland team we all wanted to see when LeBron James came back. It’s also the team the NBA wants, one with their biggest superstar leading a charge into the post-season where NBA fans can love or hate him.Eric Drouant