The Eastern Conference playoff picture is a mess. Three teams are above five-hundred. Cleveland, at 10 and 16, resides one-half game from the eighth seed. The Cavs look much stronger lately, winning six of ten, with two narrow losses against Miami and Portland. While Cleveland builds toward a better record than their current 31 win pace, several other Eastern Conference foes look poised to improve also. Many of the assumed contenders remain on the outside looking in; Chicago, New York and Brooklyn all face varied messes. Can the Gotham City teams stay this bad for 82 games? Can a Bulls squad paced by Noah, Deng and Boozer really miss the playoffs in the East? Other challengers for the final seeds in the East are hitting their stride. Toronto won 5 of 7 since trading Rudy Gay, including two straight road victories against Dallas and Oklahoma City. Washington emerged with three wins in a row, and sits amidst a 10 wins and 6 losses stretch.
And tonight’s opponent, Central Division rival Detroit, has won half their games since a dreadful 2 and 5 start. Many of these teams will move towards the middle over the course of 82 games. Tonight, at home, it would be delightful for the Cavs to build on recent successes, and forget the relatively awful outcomes of this past weekend. Piling up victories in games like tonight will go a long ways in determining if the Wine & Gold head to the second season, or back to the lottery.
That said, hopefully you weren’t gearing up for an extensive recap tonight. It’s a busy time of year. So, here is a quick and dirty look at tonight’s action.