Just Like That, Cavaliers are Streaking


While they are far from being a finished product, the Cleveland Cavaliers have managed to put together an eight game winning streak with impressive wins over some of the Eastern Conference’s powerhouses, Washington and Toronto (twice).

Now, it wasn’t always pretty – in fact, the case can be made that the team should have lost a couple of those games – but, nevertheless, they have come together as a unit and produced some very interesting wins.

Over the current winning streak, a few things have changed. Effort, for one, has been much, much better than it was early in the season. LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, and the rest of the Cleveland Cavaliers are starting to do the little things it takes to win ball games: diving on the floor for loose balls, coming up with key offensive rebounds late, passing up good shots to get great shots, and having each other’s back.

As a result of their improved effort, the team is getting timely stops at the defensive end of the court. The Cavaliers are now up to 9th in the NBA in opponents points per game at 98.3 per contest. That is a far cry from where they were to start the year. They’re still far from what you’d call a defensive juggernaut, but they’re respectable at that end and with their offensive prowess, that is enough for now.

In addition to effort and defensive improvement, player’s body language has vastly changed as well. There are no more looks of disgust and sulking. Players are keeping their heads held high and fighting regardless of how ugly the situations get. This was readily apparent in the team’s most recent 105-101 comeback win against the Toronto Raptors. 

Dec 9, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) looks to pass the ball between Toronto Raptors forward

Amir Johnson

(15) and forward

Terrence Ross

(31) in the third quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

In that game, the Cavaliers looked slower, less interested, and, to be honest, inferior to the Raptors most of the night. Tristan Thompson and the other bigs had no answer for Jonas Valanciunas inside. Point Guard, Kyle Lowry, was orchestrating one heck of a game. And Terrence Ross came out on fire. As a result of all of that, the Raptors found themselves in complete control for three quarters of basketball.

But, as they’ve managed to do quite often over their current streak, the Cavs flipped the switch in the fourth. They got timely stops, they out hustled the Raptors to what seemed like every 50-50 ball, and they hit big time baskets late. The energy, effort, and execution were taken to another level in the fourth and the Raptors couldn’t keep up.

The most amazing part of this current streak is that we’re less than one month removed from the Cavs being in the middle of a five game slide in which they couldn’t defend, share the ball, or bring consistent effort. The media and fans were spewing “hot takes,” calling for Blatt’s job, and questioning whether LeBron had lost it, if Kyrie could pass, and if Kevin Love was ever that good? Amazing what a month in the NBA can do, isn’t it?

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Now, here we are. December 11th and the Cavaliers are finding ways to win basketball games. LeBron is starting to show he’s the best basketball player in the world again. Kyrie Irving has been tremendous. Kevin Love is getting better looks. And while Head Coach David Blatt is still toying around with the rotation, he’s starting to get consistent bench production from Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters.

Are the Cavaliers a finished product? Absolutely not. Do they have a ton they can improve on? Most definitely. But that’s what is so impressive about this streak. This team is still figuring things out and they’re already beating the Eastern Conference’s best challengers. The Cavaliers are winners of eight straight and their best basketball is still ahead of them. The sky is the limit for this group and they’re just getting started.

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What are your expectations of the Cleveland Cavaliers after this 8 game winning streak?