Bill Parcells has a saying when talking about the NFL Schedule. He never looked at the standings until Thanksgiving. That was when things got serious.
For the NBA, at least for me, it is March 1st. Sure, there are great games during the first 4 months of the season, but March 1st is really the time to look at where you are and where you need to get to in order to have success in the playoffs. When it comes to the Cleveland Cavaliers, I think where they are, where they are going and success in the playoffs are looking to be an exciting probability.
Now 2-0 in March, in 2 road games, against 2 Eastern Conference playoff teams that beat the Cavaliers earlier in the year, the Cavs seem to have caught their second wind, buoyed by the health status of the roster and the possibility that help could be coming in the shape of Joe Smith.
Last night's win, against Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat was just the latest example of how far the Cavaliers have come, and how serious their championship chances really are.
LeBron James scored 42 points, effectively putting to an end any 'Wade-for-MVP' talk that had begun to permeate. In fact, Wade, who scored 41, found out what it was like to be LeBron James the past 5 years when the Cavaliers began to double team Wade every time he touched the ball in the 4th quarter. Down 11 points after Wade's 7th dunk of the game, the Cavaliers decided enough was enough. With 7:42 to go in the game, down 91-80, the Cavaliers showed the Heat, just like the Hawks the night before, that they are a team on a mission.
Outscoring the Heat 27-10 the rest of the way, Mo Williams scored 15 points and Lebron added 10 to bring the Cavaliers back and over the Heat. Kudos have to be given to Mike Brown for changing up the defensive look on the young Heat, showing at Dwyane Wade every time he touched the ball, essentially forcing the Heat to rely on someone else to put the game away. Jemario Moon, Mario Chalmers, Michael Beasley - all three missed multiple open looks.
For the Cavaliers, the win gives them a 3-1 record on a daunting 4 game road trip. Factor in the team didn't arrive in Miami until 6AM on game day and you truly get a sense how mentally tough this team really is. We can now look forward to Wednesday Morning, when it is exptected that Joe Smith will clear waivers and be free to sign with anyone. Drew Gooden is also available. Stay tuned!