When your 31-7 it's hard to think there are questions that need answered. With nearly half of the regular season already in the book, the Cavs have already proven to be on the of NBA's best. As they head out west for a 4 game stretch against the Lakers, Trailblazers, Warriors and Jazz, there are questions that need answered. IN a week from now we should have a good idea just how deep the Wine and Gold is, and whether or not the team should look to make a move before the February trade deadline.
Here's waht I'm looking for this week --
1. Who is going to step up? The Cavs have played relatively well without Zydrunas Ilgauskas. It will be tougher for the Wine and Gold to make up for the injured Delonte West. West was having a huge season and was a difference maker on the floor every night. Some nights with scoring, others with defense, West was as consistent as anyone on the team. With Delonte gone for the next 6 weeks, the Cavs are going to have to find that production somewhere. First up is Sasha Pavlovic. Sasha is a great enigma. The is another, in a long line of opportunities for Sasha to prove to everyone that he deserves big minutes. Friday night against New Orleans, Sasha was confident with his shot and played solid defense. He has demonstrated that ability, in short spurts. The Cavs will need Sasha to show that over an extedned period - 10 to 15 games - if the Cavs are to stay near the #1 Seed in the East.
2. Will the Cavs revert to the 'Old Cavs'? Remember the days when it was the 'Watch LeBron' show for 48 minutes? The Cavaliers looked alot like that team down the stretch against the Bulls. Case in point was the final 17 seconds of a tie game that netted the Cavs exactly 1 shot from 20 feet. Sure, LeBron gets the ball in those situations and makes the call, but there was quite a bit of it on Friday night as well. The Cavs shot the ball well and weere able to beat the Hornets, but the Cavs can't fall into the trap of getting into shootouts with the Lakers or Warriors. They won't win. The Cavs need to keep doing what they were doing with everyone healthy -- displaying a dynamic, creative offense that had someone other than #23 holding the ball, allowing James to move without the basketball. Mo Williams is the Point Guard and should be the primary fascilitator, even in the 4th quarter.
3. Can the Cavs take everyone's best shot? The Cavaliers are going to be heading to some hostile arenas where fans are simply sick of hearing about them. Each night the Cavs will be playing a team that wants to beat the NBA's best. This is new territory for the Cavs. Stopping LeBron isn't enough for opponents anymore. Now the prize is to beat the Cavs. Orlando faced the same scrutiny and came through it with flying colors. Can the Cavs meet the challenge, short-handed as they are?
4. What kills you will only make you stronger -- This is going to be a tough trip, in among a tough stretch of 10 games the Cavs have coming up. Road trips to Orlando and Detroit will also greet the Cavs. Look for the team to really come together as a unit during the time away. I look for LeBron to really revel in the fact that both he and his team are now a target and because of that James will once again raise his game to another level.