The Cleveland Bearcats?
As Kyrie Irving has now returned to the team for the final five games the Cavaliers face a tough test in the battle to sneak their way into the top 3 positions in the NBA Lottery Ball Standings.
The remaining schedule is difficult besides a home game with the Washington Wizards, though. Take a peek at where the Cavaliers stand heading into the stretch run of the season after the jump.
2. Washington Wizards: 16-46
3. New Orleans Hornets: 20-43
4. Sacramento Kings: 20-42
5. Cleveland Cavaliers: 20-41
6/7. Toronto Raptors: 22-41
6/7. New Jersey Nets: 22-41
8. Golden State Warriors: 22-39 (HA!)
Good News: If the Raptors and Nets can each win a game from their final three then it is a 100% lock the Cavs won't finish worse than fifth. Also, the Warriors are still in eighth, although they have a great shot to move up.
Bad News: It's still likely the Cavaliers will end up fifth. Being so close to third (and also eighth) is a little bitter but with the pretty difficult schedules remaining for the Hornets and Kings plus the return of Kyrie and a cupcake game at home to Washington (although they've been decent lately) should set the Cavaliers into the fifth position. We have a really tough schedule other than that Wizards game though so I can't rule moving up out!
All in all, this is actually a pretty solid result for Cleveland since I think they have a better chance of moving up in these standings than they do of slipping. When I started writing this ten weeks ago, the Cavs were stuck in that eighth spot so I'm definitely on board with climbing to fifth.