As the Canadian Hip Hop artist Drake might say, I believe the Cleveland Cavaliers are on one right now. They currently own three straight wins against the 6th, 1st, and 8th seeded playoff teams in the Western Conference, and picked up two of those W’s away from home here recently. The Rockets came into the Q last night struggling in their last handful of games, and the Cavs took advantage. Kyrie Irving was brilliant again in the 4th quarter, nobody’s even surprised about that anymore, and the playoffs, as Jim Mora would say, are an extremely real possibility for this team.
The Cavaliers looked last night like a team who’s effectively building a winning culture right now too, or maybe even a team that’s already built as much to a certain degree. Winning plays become contagious, and last night the entire Cavs bench was sick. That didn’t work did it, the contagious / sick thing I tried there? Anyways, the Cavaliers bench did outscore the Rockets reserves by 19 (49-30), and they got contributions from everybody in the process. Ramon Sessions dropped in with 15 points and 7 dimes, Samardo Samuels stepped up for 11 points and 5 rebounds, Daniel Gibson scored 11, and Omri Casspi finished with 8 points and 5 rebounds in 15 minutes too. This was all in assist of Antawn Jamison and Kyrie Irving who led the way with 28 and 21 points respectively, and the Cavs have now won three-straight for the first time in a while.
Over these last three games, the Cavs have kept their loss total minimized at 23 too. Meanwhile, in the Big Apple, Carmelo Anthony has infiltrated Linsanity and helped the Knicks loss total balloon to that same number. The Milwaukee Bucks have 24 losses, and it’s a three team race [NY, MIL, CLE] right now for that last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Cavaliers are in the driver’s seat for that spot right now too if you think about it. No pressure. If they lose, they pick in the Lottery. If they win, Kyrie Irving and company gain that playoff experience a season or two sooner than anybody thought possible. As I said before this season started, this continues to be a no-lose situation for the Cavaliers right now. Only good things can happen from here.
The only decision I hope the Cavs front office does not make is one where they would not pull the trigger on a potential deal that would return a first round draft pick to Cleveland in hopes to go all in on this playoff thing. The Cavs are a better team right now with Ramon Sessions on it, for example, there is no denying that. They cannot trade Sessions for a first round pick and help their chances this season of making the playoffs. They wouldn’t help their chances by dealing Jamison either, but that can’t be part of the thought process. The Cavaliers need to make moves for the future right now, I really think they will do as much here too, but that doesn’t also mean they can’t keep winning games they shouldn’t win on paper at the same time because Kyrie Irving’s just too good.
My best case scenario, since you didn’t ask, is one where the Cavaliers do acquire a first round pick in a package that includes Ramon and/or Antawn. They then make the playoffs anyways. A team from Florida overtakes the Bulls for the 1st overall seed, and the Cavaliers match-up with them at home for a couple nights of riveting NBA theatre. I’m going to hold off on all of that right now though. First things first, are the Cavaliers beating the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday to push that streak out to four. Maybe even after the New York Knicks lose to the Chicago Bulls tonight, all while the trade deadline rapidly approaches. The future is becoming tangible here, and things are looking pretty good.