By SAMEER KUMAR
The Cleveland Cavaliers have been absolutely rolling ever since LeBron James posted that Arthur fist meme to his Instagram account last month. Since then, Cleveland has won 12 straight games, and have only lost one game since and that was to the hands of the Houston Rockets.
Cleveland struggled out of the gates as they started off their season 4-6. At the start of the season, Kyrie Irving‘s presence was noticeably missing, Dwyane Wade looked like age was finally catching up to him, and it just seemed like LeBron’s second departure from his hometown state of Ohio was inevitable.
Since that point, however, Cleveland is looking like the powerhouse team that they were expected to be all along, as they’ve averaged a hot 114 points per game while allowing 105.4 points per game throughout this stretch.
LeBron has also been on an absolute tear this season, averaging 28.3 points per game on a career-high 58.4 percent shooting from the floor to go along with 8.7 assists per game and 7.9 rebounds per game. The last time LeBron averaged 28+ points per game was the ’09-’10 season; his last season during his first stint in Cleveland. There was much talk about all the wear and tear taking its toll on LeBron this season, but if anything, he looks rejuvenated and seems to want to prove that he doesn’t need Kyrie to help his team win.
One thing to note about Cleveland’s recent streak is that their strength of schedule hasn’t been impressive. Philadelphia and Detroit are the only two teams they’ve beaten during this run that are considered good teams. Their one loss came to the Houston Rockets, who are currently first in the Western Conference.
It’s still very encouraging to see LeBron continue to play at an MVP level and Wade find his niche in the Cleveland offense. Another thing working in Cleveland’s favor is that Isaiah Thomas, who was in the MVP race last year while with Boston, hasn’t returned to the court yet! If Thomas can come in and give at least half of what he gave Boston last season, then that’ll significantly bolster Cleveland’s offense. IT can get hot in a hurry and really take a load off of LeBron’s shoulders scoring the ball; especially in the fourth quarter as Thomas lead the NBA in fourth quarter scoring last season.
The Cavs still needs to work out some kinks defensively and rebounding the ball, but right now they look like a strong bet to reach the NBA Finals for the fourth consecutive year. It’s still early, but if they can reach the Finals once again, then they may not be as big of a pushover as they were last year.