After the Cleveland Cavaliers won their home opener against the Miami Heat, we made the bold statement (kidding) that this year’s wine and gold squad would not start off 19-20.
Today, the Cavs won their sixth straight with a 101-97 victory over the Indiana Pacers.
We feel pretty comfortable with that statement, although it would have been pretty safe to say that before the season started.
Yes, the Cavs do start slow on some nights, particularly against the lower echelon teams in the NBA, but LeBron James and James Jones are stressing to their teammates that this cannot continue to happen.
That shows how good this team is. They are concerned not only with winning, but the manner in which they triumph.
My guess is the Indians and Browns would love to have such worries.
While some people talked about the poor first quarter against the Knicks on Wednesday, you can look at it this way. Cleveland outscored New York by 27 points over the final three quarters.
Because the Cavs have seemed to turn it on whenever they want to, it has become easy to forget that David Blatt’s team is missing three key components.
Just think how the wine and gold will do when they get Kyrie Irving, Iman Shumpert, and J.R. Smith back on the floor.
Assuming Irving and Shumpert will reprise their roles as starters in the backcourt (the doubt is on Shumpert as Blatt may stay with Smith as the starter), this means the Cavaliers will have five solid guard at their disposal.
This is because Matthew Dellavedova has renewed confidence after his playoff performance and has improved his shooting and passing during the summer.
As for big guys, Anderson Varejao received a healthy DNP-CD today, as Blatt used Timofey Mozgov, Kevin Love, and Tristan Thompson at the four and five spots, used James at power forward at times as well.
Jefferson is everything that the Cavs wanted Shawn Marion to be last year and more.
He still has his legs as evidenced by his explosive dunks in the pre-season, and he’s a much better shooter than the recently retired Marion.
In fact, he’s kind of a combination of the two vets no longer here, Marion and Mike Miller.
This team is playing so well, the noted national critics of James and his team have nothing to conjure up.
The two biggest stories so far haven’t been stories at all. LeBron not helping up Kevin Love after he was knocked down against New York and that James was disappointed in Love being out of shape. Last season.
Correct, the media is dredging up stuff from last year to discredit this team.
Compare that to last year, when it was Irving, Love, and James couldn’t co-exist and that Blatt was in over his head as coach.
Blatt deserves some respect for using his bench. He clearly wasn’t confident in Marion and Miller as he has no problem using nine or ten players most nights, including giving minutes to free agent guard Jared Cunningham.
And James has not been used more than 36 minutes in any game this year.
We are sure that will come, particularly when Cleveland gets into a tougher part of the schedule, but it good to see the coach not giving into the competition involved with every game and needing to use his superstar too much.
So, if the slow starts are the biggest concern for fans of the Cavs, rest easy.
Just watch the fun as this NBA season unfolds.