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Cup of Cavs: Cleveland Cavaliers news and links for Wednesday, February 23

It’s time for the Cavs to rise to the occasion.

2022 NBA All-Star - Taco Bell Skills Challenge Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Good morning! Your Cleveland Cavaliers will be playing basketball again tomorrow. The wait is almost over.

The first sip

The Cavs needed a break. They seemed to have hit a wall in February as they posted a 0.4 net rating and a 109.6 defensive rating in their last 7 games. Somehow, the Cavs were able to pull out 4 wins despite pretty mediocre performances.

They don’t have the luxury of continuing to play like that if they want to maintain homecourt in the first round or at least avoid the play in tournament. They enter action Thursday 2.5 games out of the top spot in the East but are also just 2.5 games away from being in the play in tournament. Things are tight in the Eastern Conference and they can’t afford any lapses down the stretch.

It’s important for the Cavs to come out of the break swinging. Three of their next four games are against teams currently under .500 in the Detroit Pistons, Washington Wizards and Charlotte Hornets. They need to handle business in those games before the schedule gets tough with games against the Philadelphia 76ers, Toronto Raptors, Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls in the following weeks.

The Cavs are a young team that has never been in this position before. The city of Cleveland and the Cavaliers took center stage this past weekend with the All-Star game. The basketball world will be watching to see how this team responds to the expectations that the game and everything around it has put on them.

We should be in for a wild ride over final two months of the regular season.

The second sip

It’s 2022 and the Dwyane Wade Cavalier lifer jokes have no end in sight. Please send this picture to the Heat fan in your life.

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Links of the day

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NBA third-quarter awards

JJ Redick calls Zion Williamson ‘a detached teammate’

LeBron James used All-Star weekend to put the Los Angeles Lakers on notice

Richard Jefferson responds to Gilbert Arenas’s NBA draft criticism