After the Cavaliers 99-92 win over the Los Angeles Clippers at Quicken Loans Arena Wednesday night, Cleveland fans have more reason to be excited about hoops than any time since LeBron took his talents to South Beach. The Cavs are 10-14, a half game out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. While the eighth seed is the East is hardly synonymous with “great team,” for the Cavs it would mark a dramatic turnaround. Last February, the Cavs were mired in a 26 game losing streak. Wednesday night’s win marked the third time in six games that the Cavaliers had beaten a playoff caliber team, and it was done without the services of leading Rookie of the Year candidate Kyrie Irving, who missed the game due to a concussion.
The Cavaliers and “playoffs weren’t supposed to be used in the same sentence (and in the present tense) until 2013 or 2014, but let’s keep things in perspective. We’re talking about a team that is in the bottom third of Ratings on both sides of the ball. While it might be fun to dream about a postseason visit from the Miami Heat and a certain Akron native, the Cavs need to keep the long term in view. The team is already shopping guard Ramon Sessions, who filled in admirably for Irving on Wednesday with 24 points and 13 assists, and it should be looking to deal forward Antawn Jamison for expiring contracts, young players and draft picks. The talent from dealing those two, plus the additional playing time for Cleveland’s other first rounder, forward Tristan Thompson would put the Cavs on track for future seasons with something much higher in its sights than an eighth seed.
Still, this has to be a fun moment for Cavaliers fans, and they should savor it.