After an up-and-down season for the Cleveland Cavaliers, complete with drama and heavy roster turnover, they finally seem to be firing on all cylinders just in time for a championship run.
"“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.” -Charles Dickens on the 2017-18 Cleveland Cavaliers"
Dickens wrote that in 1859 as the masterful opening paragraph for A Tale of Two Cities, a book about socio-political dualities in London and Paris during the French Revolution. Unbeknownst to Dickens, that quote never resonated or was more germane than right now, doubling as a perfect depiction of this season’s Cavaliers.
Whether due to injuries, fatigue or because they tilled their roster like post-winter garden dirt, Cleveland’s primary issue this year was inconsistency. Any time they took two steps forward, they’d take one back. Fortunately, they deploy one of the best players ever to steady a ship that appeared to be sinking a half dozen different times.
Everything’s come together for Cleveland over the stretch run of the regular season and their odds of parading the Larry O’Brien trophy down East 9th Street are looking up. Here are the top-5 reasons why the Cavs could raise their second championship banner in three years.
5. Their probable Finals opposition is flawed
Unlike in recent season’s past, the unstoppable march of the Golden State Warriors toward another title is no longer inevitable. With Steph Curry out until the second round (at least) with an MCL sprain, the Warriors find themselves at their most vulnerable point since their mini-dynasty started.
The Rockets own the league’s best record and highest point differential. However, they lack deep playoff experience. The three-headed monster of Mike D’Antoni, James Harden, and Chris Paul have extensive histories of postseason shortcomings. Even in the middle of an outstanding campaign, pundits and blog boys alike quickly bring up their demons as the main doubt shadowing Houston’s title contention legitimacy.
The Western field is open to parity striking and the top seeds are ripe for upsets. It all works in Cleveland’s favor if they can make it out of the East’s gauntlet.