Going into Friday nights game against the New York Knicks, the Cleveland Cavaliers were riding a 7 game winning streak after losing the season opener to the Chicago Bulls. The Cavaliers improved their winning streak to 8 with a 90-84 win against the Knicks. It’s still early, but this has been an impressive start for the Cavs.
Lead by LeBron James’ 31 points and 6 assists on 12 of 21 shooting, the Cavaliers put away the oddly impressive young Knicks. Mo Williams contributed with 20 points on 7 of 13 shooting and made 4 clutch free throws to seal the game in the last seconds. Carmelo Anthony lead the Knicks in scoring with 26, but only had 4 points in the second half.
The Knicks held a lead late in the fourth but things started to change once LeBron flipped his switch and took the game over. LeBron picked up Anthony on defense and shut him down, while getting to the basket on offense and scoring or getting fouled and going to the free throw line. LeBron’s intensity late in games trickles down to his Cavs teammates as over the last few games they’ve buckled down on defense late in games and have forced opponents to take difficult shots on offense, which leads to easy transition buckets for the Cavs.
With no Kyrie Irving, and no Iman Shumpert to start the season, the Cavs have managed to start off 8-1, yet nobody is talking about them. All the talk is surrounding the defending Champion Golden State Warriors and MVP Stephen Curry. Although the hype over the Warriors is well deserved as they’ve started the season 10-0 and Stephen Curry is playing out of this world, but my question is, what about the Cavs?
The Cavaliers haven’t exactly been blowing teams out and playing flashy basketball like the Warriors have, but they have quietly been taking care of business without two starters, one of them being all-star Kyrie Irving. And I think its time that some recognition comes their way.
LeBron James has led his team to eight straight wins and the top seed in the Eastern Conference early in the season with a few quality wins, so why is there no talk about the Cavs? Mo Williams has played at an all-star level so far this season and once Irving comes back from injury he’ll go back to the bench and electrify an already solid bench. The same goes for JR Smith once Iman Shumpert gets healthy.
This team is 8-1 and playing pretty good basketball, but they haven’t even touched their potential for this season yet, and that deserves to be recognized. Everyone talks about the Warriors potentially winning 70 games this season, but I believe that the Cavaliers have just as good of a chance at accomplishing the same impressive feat, especially with their start so far this season.
LeBron isn’t oblivious, he hears the critics talking about Stephen Curry being the NBA’s best player and I’m sure the King isn’t yet ready to just relinquish the title that he has held for years now. Curry is looking to repeat as MVP this season but LeBron will have something to say about that as he also deserves consideration when it comes to winning the prestigious award with his play so far this season.
Simply put, the Cavaliers are already playing well, but once they’re 100% healthy this will be an extremely dangerous team, and the rest of the NBA should take notice.
The Cavaliers will look to make it 9 straight wins when they face the young Milwaukee Bucks and head coach Jason Kidd in Milwaukee on Saturday night at 8:30pm.
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