2016 was an amazing year for the city of Cleveland. The Cleveland Cavaliers won the championship, the city successfully hosted the Republican National Convention in July and the Cleveland Indians went to game 7 in the World Series against the Chicago Cubs. For fans of the city, it was a great year. What will 2017 bring? Hopefully much of the same success for the city and its sports teams!
This season, the Cleveland Cavaliers have a lot to live up to. The world of sports is shining its spotlight even more on the Cavs since the championship win last year. But, how does the team look this year? Can they compare to the 2016 championship team?
2015-2016 Championship Year
In 2015/2016, the CAVS had a record of 57 wins and 25 losses. They finished first in the NBA Central Division and the Eastern Conference and won the NBA finals against the Golden State Warriors 4 games to 3 after being behind 3 games to one. The Cavs owned the playoffs with four game sweeps against the Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks and a series win against the Toronto Raptors. It was a golden year, with the exception of switching coaches mid-year. But, that change, to Tyronn Lue took the Cavs to the championship.
All in for 2016-2017 Season
So far, the 2016/2017 season hasn’t been as “pretty” as last year’s season, but they are getting the job done. The second half of the Cavs season began last week after the All-Star break. Since the break the team is 2 wins and one loss. The most recent win against the Milwaukee Bucks on February 27th gave the Cavs a 41 win to 17 loss record and first place in the Central Division and the Eastern Conference They have a four game lead in the East above Boston. Just like last year, the Golden State Warriors have the best record in basketball right now with a record of 50 wins and 9 losses. The Cavs have a much better record at home 26 wins to 6 losses compared to on the road with 15 wins to 11 losses. As of the end of February, LeBron James leads the team with an average of 25.7 points scored per game. Kevin Love has 11.1 rebounds per game (in the games he has played) and LeBron James leads the team in assists with 8.9
The 2016/2017 Cavs have a similar team roster as last year, apart from Mo Williams retiring and Matthew Dellavedova signing with the Milwaukee Bucks. Kyle Korver has been a welcome addition to the team this season as has Derrick Williams.
The new year has started out rough for the Cavs. They had a string of bad losses and a losing record for the month of January. The team seemed out of synch. Kevin Love got injured. LeBron James seemed very frustrated. Fans were beginning to wonder what was going on and what was the team going to do about it. There were reports that LeBron James and Coach Lue had a phone call at the end of January to discuss the team and a strategy going forward. The strategy would focus on a “simplified approach to defense.” Working on that strategy might take a bit of time, but the defense is slowly improving and not allowing opposing teams to score as many points. The hope is that focusing on defense will let the players play harder, cover their opponents and eventually score more offensive points.
Kevin Love will be sidelined for at least the next six to eight weeks while he recovers from knee surgery. His loss was a hit to the team as he was having his best season as a Cavalier up to the point of his injury. He recently told the press that he will be recovered from his injury for the playoffs in May. In his place, the Cavs have signed Deron Williams from the Dallas Mavericks. Williams is a backup point guard that will help with Love not being able to play for weeks. Williams is a five-time NBA All-Star in his 12th season in the NBA. He will join his new team this week. It was also just announced that the Cavs signed Andrew Bugot to the roster as long as he clears waivers.
It is still a long way to the end of the season. The Cavs need to keep up their current pace and stay on their strategy through the back part of the season, while making sure that the starting line-up doesn’t get too tired. That means some of the “stars” might be benched to get extra rest in some games before the playoff run starts. No matter what, Cleveland fans will support this team through the ups and down and look forward to the Cavs in the playoffs and making another run for the NBA Championship. Go Cavs!!