Good news for Cavs? Start of year means little

BY foxsports • November 23, 2014

Last season, the Indiana Pacers looked like champions in November. Everything was going great and the Pacers were winning -- a lot.

The same held true in December, for most of January, and part of February. Everyone who followed the NBA said it: If anyone can unseat the mighty Miami Heat, it's the Pacers.

Then came March, April and May, and the Pacers fell apart. Who knows what really happened in the locker room and on the court? All that really mattered was the Pacers weren't the same.

They escaped a first-round playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks, then scooted past the Washington Wizards in the second round. Then it was the Eastern Conference finals against LeBron James and the Heat. Everyone who followed the NBA said it: The Pacers stood no chance. And they didn't. The Heat easily won the series and advanced to their fourth straight Finals.

What does any of this have to do with the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers?

Yes, the Cavs of James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving are struggling. Yes, they're a miserable 5-7 after losing four straight. Yes, three of those losses have come at home. And yes, they also opened the season by losing to the laughable New York Knicks.

So the Cavs have already lost four home games. Some folks didn't think they'd lose that many all year. They managed to do it in three weeks.

Right now, first-year coach David Blatt and the Cavs are a mess.

But back to the question at hand: What did we learn about last year's Pacers and how does it apply to this year's Cavs?

The answer is simple, and it is this: No one ever wins or loses an NBA championship in November. No one. Ever. In the history of the game.

A lot of fans ask, Can I panic about the Cavs yet?

Here's my most honest answer: I don't care what you do. I mean, why would I care how a bunch of absolute strangers react to the goings-on of a pro basketball team? And I sure hope that my telling you to panic (or not panic) would have little influence on your actual behavior. If you want to panic, by all means -- be my guest.

But perhaps before you panic, you may want a little history lesson. Or a large history lesson, to be more accurate. Year after year, the NBA is littered with teams that started fabulously, then went on to last a round, maybe two, in the playoffs.

Others started lousy then went on to do great things. The 1991 Chicago Bulls began 5-6 and won the title. The 1999 San Antonio Spurs did the same after stumbling to 6-8.

And as three-time champion and former Boston Celtics great Kevin McHale once said: "All that matters is to play well in April and May." McHale is currently the coach of the Houston Rockets, and it's a message he stresses to his team on a regular basis.

And it's a good reminder to the Cavs. An impressive beginning, or a disappointing start, mean very little. As much as you'd like to either fret or get excited about all of this, truth is, there are 70 games left in the Cavs' season.

Every night is a chance to sink to a new low, or turn the corner to a 12-game winning streak. Every night something can happen to change the course of your season.

The Cavs need to defend better. They need to move the ball better. They need to figure out how to win better.

But here's all you need to know: They don't need to do any of it better today. Just in April and May. That's really the bottom line on all of this.