It’s where the Arena Football team is more fun to watch than the NFL team happens. It’s where “oh, we had a hockey team?” happens. It’s where baseball was once good happens. It’s where spanked by the Spurs happened. Cleveland sports has had its ups, but the downs have outweighed them.
Now suddenly, the Cavs are on the rise. At 27-5, they are sitting atop the East, as well as the whole NBA on the ESPN Power Rankings. Their point differencial is +12.25, best in the NBA. With an offensive efficiency of 110.8, they are above all other teams, and with a defencive effeciency of 96.5, they are second to only Boston.
What makes them so good?
1. LeBron James has always been the only player on this team. Now, it doesn’t seem like a one-man show anymore, although King James has basically been locked in for MVP.
2. We all know that Defense is what wins championships. The Cavaliers usually excel at defense, yet this year they have actually improved. The inside prescence of Ilgauskas and Wallace have been very solid, but nothing special. Their perimeter defense is the key. LeBron and the guards, including Mo Williams, have shown a ton of improvement. Even Daniel Gibson is starting to play defense now.
3. The chemistry of this team is definitely there. They share the ball with a lot of unselfishness. Although they are only 10th in the NBA in assists, you can tell that they know how to play together.
4. They don’t lose consecutive games. They know how to win, and they have a determination reminiscent of the Boston Celtics last year. Because of this, the Cavs tend to play much better in the postseason than the regular season.
5. Great screens, along with some flawless pick ‘n’ rolls, have made their offense run like a well-tuned machine. Z has been great providing his big 7’2″ body to stop defenders and give Mo Williams some space. Their guards are not physically advantaged, but they are all threats from the outside, which allows some easy inside penetration for James and the two frontcourt guys. This can also be reversed, making the Cavaliers a very versatile team that can play Inside-Out or Outside-In. They are also a quick and agile team. Fast-paced usually results in better offense.
6. The Cavs serve up some very nice stats to go along with the entree. They offer masses of blocks, a very nice turnover ratio, and 3rd in the NBA rebounding.
There will be many tests for the rising Cavs, such as the game against Boston this Friday (January 9th), but top to bottom, the Cavaliers definitely have what it takes to win a championship.