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The news that keeps us Onward On!
Since 1925
The news that keeps us Onward On!

The Carroll News

The news that keeps us Onward On!

The Carroll News

Cavs showcase potential for deep run in the NBA playoffs

Rob Masefield, Flickr
The No. 2 Cavs look to maintain a high spot in the Eastern Conference.

Up to this point, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ season has been a story of resilience and success. The Cavs started the season slow, as their record sat around .500 in December. The team then suffered two huge setbacks, losing both guard Darius Garland and forward Evan Mobley for an extended period due to injury.

However, The Cavs’ star player and leader, Donovan Mitchell, was not deterred by these pitfalls. In turn, The Cavs won the next game immediately after losing Mobley and Garland. In an interview after the game, Donovan Mitchell said “We lost two of our dawgs, and this run we’re about to go on is for them.”

To say that Mitchell has lived up to his word would be an understatement. In January, Mitchell averaged around 28 points per game and the Cavs have now managed to win 17 of their last 18 games. He is just one of many reasons for the Cavs’ success this season.

The squad has gathered significant contributions from players who were added to the team, such as Max Strus and Sam Merill. Both players have been reliable from three, which has helped the Cavs to be a long-range threat, with Merill shooting 43% from the three and Strus shooting 35% from the same distance.

Mobley and Garland have since returned to the lineup and impacted the team’s winning. 22-year-old Mobley has continued to develop his game, improving his ability to rebound and defend, adding the three-point shot to his game. Garland’s ability to handle the ball well and create opportunities for others has also helped the Cavs to be more successful offensively.

While the players ultimately make the defining plays on the court, the Cavs’ success cannot be discussed without crediting their coach, JB Bickerstaff. Early on in the season, Bickerstaff was publicly criticized for the team’s lack of success following a disappointing first-round exit in the playoffs last spring.

In November, ESPN NBA Insider Brian Windhorst said that Bickerstaff’s job was safe for the time being, but if the Cavs “are one game over .500 in three weeks, we’re going to be talking about [Bickerstaff being fired] more”.

However, as the season went on, the criticism turned into success for Bickerstaff. He has his team playing tough, physical basketball and has found a way to get the most out of any player who steps out onto the floor. Bickerstaff has also allowed his team to have fun and enjoy their current run, saying, “You have fun because of the results, and you can enjoy it because of the results.” He also acknowledged that enjoying success comes with a responsibility to compete and be selfless when it is time to go out onto the court.

While the Cavs have found triumph during the regular season, it remains to be seen whether that will translate to the postseason. If the playoffs started today, the Cavs would be the second seed in the Eastern Conference, as they currently sit four and a half games behind the Boston Celtics. The Celtics, the Bucks, the Knicks and the 76ers could all present a formidable challenge to the Cavs during a potential playoff run.

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