For the majority of this season, the Cleveland Cavaliers have been seated atop the Eastern Conference standings. This much is hardly a surprise. However, the way this first place team had been playing as of late was more than a little unexpected.
Cleveland, as a whole, hasn’t looked all that impressive in the past few weeks. Wins have been unconvincing, losses have come as a result of sloppy play and defense wasn’t exactly there to be seen. LeBron James has felt the need to call out the effort of his teammates on numerous occasions, but it didn’t seem to have much of an impact.
One caveat many fans and pundits kept highlighting was the fact the Cavs weren’t playing at full strength. Up to this point in the season, the team has been without star point guard Kyrie Irving and swingman Iman Shumpert. Sure, it was a valid excuse, but the team assuming the return of these two players would spark a complete turnaround was a bit concerning.
However, after last night, there might be some validity to that assumption.