Thursday night, the Cavaliers beat one of the hottest teams in hoops, a team that had won 11 of its' previous 12. And before you hit me with "yeah, but the Clippers were playing without Blake Griffin", remember..10 of those wins had come without their star forward.
This came on the heels of the Cavs beating a bad Brooklyn Nets team in easy and expected fashion on Wednesday night. In other words, while the basketball world was coming down hard on the Cavaliers following Monday's embarrassing loss to the Warriors, it didn't take 'em long to bounce back (every Cavs starter scored in double-figures against the Clippers, and the starting five accounted for 94 of their 115 points).
The point is, I guess we can ditch the talk that the Cavaliers can only thrive in the Eastern Conference. They can handle almost every team in the NBA. The reality is, there are the Warriors, and then there is everybody else. Two nights after beating the Cavs by 34, the defending champs beat the Chicago Bulls (probably the second-best team in the East) by 31. So yes, the gap between the best of the West and the beasts of the East is wide. Right now.
The next time the Cavaliers could see the Warriors is in the Finals. They've had two shots at 'em, and lost both. But who really believes this Cavs team is the one we'll see in June, assuming they get that far? They have three months to reach their peak, and then more time in the playoffs.
Expectations for the Cavs should be high. Anything less than an NBA title is failure. But for all the talk about the beating the Cavaliers took on Monday (and it was real, and there are concerns), let's remember that far more often it's the Cavs dishing out the abuse.
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