With successful West trip, Cavs offer reasons for hope
The Cavaliers may get this thing turned around yet.
Following their 117-109 win at Denver on Friday, the Cavs completed their swing through the Western Conference with a record of 3-2.
Now, they get five straight at home.
How’s that for the idea that things are looking up?
Or how about this: Of the 22 teams who completed their games as of this post, the Cavs scored the most points.
So LOL at Mike Brown basketball.
That’s a joke, of course, but the Cavs’ output lately has to shock even the defensive-minded Brown. They also scored 120 in a win at the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday, then 96 in a loss the very next night at Portland.
And remember, we’re talking about road games, where your rhythm and energy are supposed to be significantly out of whack.
We’re talking about Brown, who would love it (perhaps prefer it) if the final score had been 79-78. In double overtime.
Anyway, the Cavs were indeed out of sorts at times against the Nuggets. But this team is starting to believe in itself, and you can see that unfolding on the floor, especially at winning time.
On Friday, it was clear: The Cavs weren’t going to lose this game. The Nuggets were gonna have to take it.
Could this be a turning point in the season?
You’d better believe it could.
But just like it was too early to judge all the struggles, it’s too early to say for sure which Cavs team we’ll get from night to night.
If it’s anything like the previous three games, it’s a team that shares the ball, does just about enough defensively, and is still improving in every area.
Those are the Cavs (15-25) we thought we were getting.
Interestingly, small forward Luol Deng started his Cavs career on this trip. He doesn’t deserve all the credit for the improved play, but he is undoubtedly a major reason.
And guess what?
So are old standbys such as Kyrie Irving (23 points, six assists), Anderson Varejao (16 rebounds) and the forever-underrated Tristan Thompson (20 points, 10 boards).
Not enough can be said how Thompson performed in the clutch, how he’s been a rock of stability for the Cavs even when things get tough. He doesn’t make any noise. He just smiles and does his doggone job.
Others such as C.J. Miles (19 points, 6-of-12 shooting) and Jarrett Jack (13 points on 5-of-7) also played their roles to near-perfection.
Meanwhile, Deng scored 18, and he did most of it so effortlessly you almost forgot.
Dion Waiters added nine points, and while he struggled shooting (3-of-14), he did enough well to overlook that. And hey, that’s what Brown wants. If you can’t make anything, it’s OK. Find ways to contribute.
The Cavs may be starting to grasp that. They look as if they trust each other more, and that’s resulting in high-scoring games. It’s resulting in wins.
All the Cavs need to do is keep this up. That’s it. They don’t need to make sweeping improvements. They just need to do this.
If that happens, this town will really have something about which to cheer.