Have the Cleveland Cavaliers Turned it Around?


Dec 4, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers small forward Shawn Marion (31) and small forward LeBron James (23) and point guard Kyrie Irving (2) and power forward Kevin Love (0) react after Irving

The last two weeks have been interesting for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Lebron James takes a two-week vacation in Miami to rehab his body, Kevin Love is playing good offensively but  is still a defensive liability. Dion Waiters gets traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder, while the Cavaliers gain J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert from the abysmal New York Knicks along with Timofey Mozgov from the Denver Nuggets. Most of all, David Blatt’s future was questioned even though he got the dreaded ” vote of confidence” from GM David Griffin.

The reason this was such an issue is because of the Cavaliers losing seven of nine while Lebron was out. The team looked lost and it did not seem like they were responding to Blatt and his schemes. It was being said that players were more responsive to assistant coach Tyronn Lue and that some of them would tell opposing players how they were planning on getting Blatt fired. However most of this was alleged and nothing has came of it. It has been a sad state of affairs for a team that was projected to be alot better and setup with the talent to destroy other teams.

Although it has been a struggle, could Thursday and Fridays win in Los Angeles be the start of a turn around for the Cavaliers?

The Cavs beat the Lakers by seven points on Thursday but it was a struggle the whole game. A team with this talent should of beaten a mediocre Lakers team by 20 and not give up career assist highs to Kobe Bryant and let Jordan Hill and Ed Davis get anything they wanted inside. The deficiency on defense is still a problem with the interior and on the wings but the team seems like they are coming along offensively and getting better ball movement  with each game. They are averaging 14.5 assists within the last nine games but are averaging 10.3 turnovers in that span as well. They are tied for fourth with the New Orleans Pelicans at 106.7 with defensive efficiency. That is because of the inability to play interior defense and guard the pick and roll/pop.

January 16, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) moves the ball up court against the Los Angeles Clippers during the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

They followed up the win against the Lakers by beating the Clippers by five. They struggled down the stretch and with seconds left to put them away but they got the huge win in the end. Tristan Thompson had a great game in place of Love and and Kyrie Irving played lights out as he bettered the performance of Chris Paul offensively.

While the team has played a better overall brand of basketball, the biggest factor is the improvement and restored motivation of Lebron. He is the leader of the team and as he goes, so does everybody else. He has been more aggressive penetrating to the hole and he’s not making as many erratic passes or taking bad shots as he was earlier in the season. Once Love finds his place on the team the Cavs should start rolling and potentially go on a deep run.

Their biggest challenge in the East this year is surprisingly the white hot Atlanta Hawks or “San Antonio East.” Besides both teams blowing each other out by 20+ points, they matchup well with the Cavs. They don’t have a super team or big names but run the offense perfectly. The Cavs play the division leading Chicago Bulls on Monday in one of the most important games of the month thus far.

If they can play consistently and win comfortably against a tough Bulls team led by Derrick Rose, it could be the start of something great. This team has been Jekyll and Hyde for most of the season but things are potentially starting to look up for them and it should be a crazy finish.

Next: David Blatt Says LeBron James 'Can Be Stubborn'