Not that long ago, the Cleveland Cavaliers were 1-3 and not looking all that great. They weren't moving the ball on offense, and their defense was mostly terrible. Then they beat the Nuggets in Denver, and they haven't lost again since. The ball is moving much better on offense, and their defense... well their defense still hasn't been very good. But when an NBA team averages 119 points per game (which is what the Cavs have been averaging during their winning streak), it can get away with some defensive lapses.
Who: Nuggets (2-7) at Cavs (5-3)
When: 7 pm Eastern
Where: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio
Why: Because it's on the schedule
Television: Fox Sports Ohio and NBA TV
Music: I'm on top of the world/Waiting on this for a while now/Paying my dues to the dirt/I've been waiting to smile/Been holding it in for a while
It's pretty fun to be a Cavs fan right now, obviously. One big reason they're looking so much better: Kyrie Irving. Before the Cavs' current winning streak began, Irving had that game in which he didn't register a single assist. In the four games since, he's averaged 6.3 assists per game with just two total turnovers. And he's shot 52.6 percent from the floor. That's pretty good.
The Cavs have also been helped by the fact that LeBron James has been playing like LeBron James again. Here are his numbers during the four-game winning streak: 31.8 points, 8.5 assists, and seven rebounds per game, 56.1 percent shooting from the floor and 42.9 percent on threes. It appears that the rumors of his demise were a bit premature.
Conversely, things have not been going so well for the Nuggets. They've lost seven of their last eight games, including one yesterday afternoon in New York during which the Knicks held them to one field goal and eight points in the entire second quarter.
If anybody is going to stop the Cavs' red hot offense, it's probably not going to be Denver. They're 24th in the league in defensive efficiency. Unfortunately for the Nuggets, they haven't been much better on the other end, as they're 20th in offensive efficiency. It's just been a rough year for them up to this point, and there's no reason that the Cavs shouldn't be able to get their fifth win in a row tonight.
It's important that the Cavs do take care of business in this game, because the defending champions will be in town on Wednesday night to provide a much tougher test.