The Cleveland Cavaliers finally figured it out.
Not that anyone should be surprised the team with the best player in the world managed to pull out of a 4-7 slump. LeBron James shook off all the criticism from earlier in the season and willed his team to a franchise-record 13 consecutive wins. This is more than a comeback. We could legitimately be looking at the best Cavalier team James has ever been a part of.
James’ average of 28.2 points per game is the most he’s averaged in nearly a decade. He is also getting more help from Kevin Love, Dwyane Wade, Jae Crowder and Kyle Korver. Even 31-year-old Jeff Green is offering quality minutes off the bench, averaging 10.5 points per game. This team has improved by leaps and bounds… without Isaiah Thomas, Tristan Thompson and Derrick Rose. Imagine the depth when those players return.
Thomas especially could spark the team in many of the same ways Kyrie Irving was able to do last season, and Thompson is always a force defensively and on the boards. Rose could also provide some depth as a two-way player, working into the rotation with Thomas and Jose Calderon.
The Cavaliers are built to not only beat the Boston Celtics, but the defending champion Golden State Warriors. Make no mistake, the Warriors are still the favorites to win their third NBA title in four years, but a third consecutive meeting with the Cavaliers may not be the cakewalk it was last season.
This is a different team spearheaded by a different King James.
“I think (he’s) as good as he’s ever been,” Chicago Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg said about James on Monday. “What LeBron is doing right now is unbelievable, shooting 42 percent from the three-point line. When you have to go over LeBron’s screens, it just puts you in such a difficult position. He’s as good a passer, on-time, on-target passer as there’s ever been in this game. The minutes he’s playing and the production that he’s putting up, it’s unbelievable, then you look at him after the game and it doesn’t even look like he’s breathing hard.”
James is shooting 3-pointers at a career-high percentage. Good luck stopping the Cavaliers if he’s somehow able to sustain that shot.
We are witnessing an unfinished product of a team that already looks like it’s ready to sprint towards the finish line, setting up what could potentially be one of the most exciting postseason runs in years.