The victories haven't been impressive, but the Cleveland Cavaliers have found a way to start improving their record. Winners of four straight games, the Cavs are finding ways to overcome their injuries and not put themselves in an insurmountable hole to start games.
Even though the Cavs are winning, they still have a long way to go if they want to contend for another championship. Even after four straight wins the team is ranked dead last in defensive efficiency. With a lot of work remaining, it doesn’t leave a lot of time for the team to focus on their competition within the Eastern Conference.
When LeBron James was asked about the 14-game winning streak the Boston Celtics are on, he quickly deflected and put the focus on the Cavs.
Via ESPN’s Dave McMenamin:
"Huh?" James said after putting up 39 points, 14 rebounds, 6 assists and 6 turnovers in 46 minutes against the Clippers. "You want me to comment on that? Nah. I've got too much to worry about around here right now trying to get our ship going in the right direction. I watched the game [Thursday] night. It was an Eastern Conference game. There's not many times you see Golden State not going in the 120s. Boston just had a good tempo about the game. Neither team could really make those shots. It was a free throw game in the fourth quarter. But I'm not going to ... I don't pay attention to too much of what's going on besides their record and things they've been doing. But they're playing some good ball right now."
The Celtics have been playing good basketball, but they aren’t the clear-cut biggest threat to the Cavs in the East. The Milwaukee Bucks aren’t to be taken lightly now that they’ve acquired Eric Bledsoe, plus teams like the Toronto Raptors or Washington Wizards also have a realistic shot at making the Eastern Conference Finals.
For the Cavaliers, the most important thing is working things out in-house. If the Cavs are playing to their potential, there’s nothing anybody in the East can do to stop them from making the Finals for a fourth straight season. There’s going to be more changes to this team as they get healthy and a lot of work to do, but right now the most important streak in the East is the Cavs Finals streak.