Last month, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ locker room was filled with hope and positive energy. This was due to the Cavaliers reeling off a six game win streak. The talk in the city was that the Cavaliers were finally going to make the playoffs.
Sixteen days since the Cavaliers ended their six game win streak in Toronto, the positive outlooks have dwindled in Cleveland. Kyrie Irving and company have lost seven of their last nine games and fallen to the eleventh spot in the Eastern conference.
The Cavaliers have not just lost games they have been beaten down. Since February 21, the Cavaliers have played 36 total quarters. Yet, they have only been the team on top at the end of eight of those quarters.
In Cleveland’s defense they have only played one team with a worse record than their own, the Utah Jazz. The Cavs led by point guard Irving’s first career triple double blew out the Jazz by 20. Besides the Jazz, they have faced six playoff teams and two teams in contention for a final playoff spot.
Cleveland’s only other win during this skid came against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Cavs were losing the entire game until they outscored the Thunder, 42 to 28 in the fourth. They delivered the Thunder their third straight lost with a 114-104 win. Powered once again behind a stellar Irving performance of 31 points and nine assists. Impressive win, right? Not so fast.
The Thunder was adjusting to the return of point guard Russell Westbrook. All-Star Kevin Durant and Westbrook, who had returned just two games earlier, were figuring out how to play comfortably with each other once again.
This inconsistent play from Cleveland has left many fans puzzled. The Cavs should be a playoff team. They might not have the roster to compete for a championship but a playoff spot should not be a hard task. Irving along with guard Dion Waiters, forward Luol Deng, and center Spencer Hawes can all individually create their own shot.
The Cavs have so much individual talent but no one seems to be able to click together on the same night. Every night it seems as though only one player shows up to play. Very rarely do two Cavaliers have a stellar game on the same night.
Luckily for Cleveland, the Atlanta Hawks who hold the eighth and final playoff spot in the East have lost six straight games. Leaving the Cavs only three and a half games out of the playoffs. The Cavs would need an improbable end of season winning streak to jump over the Hawks, New York Knicks and Detroit Pistons.
As a Cleveland fan it is hard to figure out how to feel about this current roster and the outlook for the future. One moment the team finally seems to be clicking and playoff talks do not seem like too far of a reach. The next moment the playoffs seem as likely as finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.