Re: The Best and Worst of the Eastern Conference

Cleveland Cavaliers

Who has one of the worst records in the NBA? That would be the LeBronless Cleveland Cavaliers. Are we surprised? No. Not even a little. But here’s the thing—yes, they stink. And yes, they’re in a rebuilding phase. BUT! They don’t look like a team in a rebuilding mode. Meaning: they’re not half-assing it (pardon the language). They’re playing like a team on a mission to win. They’re not doing very well on that mission, but they’re fighting and it is a lot of  fun to watch. For example! Since the team lost Kevin Love for the rest of 2018 to a thumb injury in early November, Tristan Thompson has had a…rebirth of sorts. He’s  been filling in as a positive role model in the locker room for the younger players and walking his talk (so to speak) on the court by averaging 12 points and 12 rebounds per game. Unfortunately, the team just lost Thompson for two to four weeks with an ankle sprain. Good news-isa is that they still have Larry Nance, Jr. Yes, he’s still relatively young (currently in his fourth season) and he missed some time at the start of the season with a right ankle sprain, but he’s averaging 25 minutes, 9 points, and 7  rebounds and 3 rebounds per game. Even better, he’s playing with confidence. What this all means for their offseason and the future is…anyone’s guess. But isn’t it nice to see players play like professionals even when things are not going well for the team as a whole?

Toronto Raptors

Unlike the Cavs, the Raptors have the best record in the league, 23-8 to be specific. You don’t have to watch this team often to know that, like the Cavs, they play hard and they play well as a team. This was more than evident Wednesday night when they played the Warriors…in L.A. That game proved to be a rude awakening for the Warriors who never had a chance against the Raptors. In L.A. And don’t for a second think that maybe, just maybe, the Warriors just had a bad game. No. They were out played and out coached by a team that will most likely cause a major problem for them come playoffs. Oh, and the Raptors were without Kawhi Leonard, their star player…just saying…

Indiana Pacers

Admittedly, I have not paid too much attention to the Pacers this season. However, based on what I have heard and on the few games I’ve seen, I have this strange feeling that the Pacers are going to be a huge contender come playoffs. I know, the Pacers? Playoffs? Hear me out. They’re currently 3rd in the East. Behind them? The 76ers and the Celtics. Yes, the 76ers and Celtics are currently behind the Pacers. The Pacers are competitive with two teams who should be in the top three. How? Why? Thaddeus Young, that’s how and that’s why. Young, a veteran player, is not a super star, but he’s a leader on the court and can make things happen when the rest of the team is struggling. I’m going to end this here as I don’t know Young well enough to really do him justice, so keep your eye out for more on him later. And keep your eye on the Pacers. I have a feeling I just might be right.

 

Image Source: AP

Stats Source: NBA

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