Most people are not expecting much from the Cleveland Cavaliers at this point. They are a young, inexperienced team and they are playing without their All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving. Most teams see the Cavs on the upcoming schedule and think it is going to be an easy win.
But that has not been the case lately.
Cleveland is not just rolling over and riding out another lottery season. They are playing tough and pushing their opponents for all 48 minutes.
If you look at the last eight games for the Cavs, they either won or were within striking distance in the second half. Most games were tight all the way until the fourth quarter.
Playing on the road against the team with the best record in the Western Conference, the San Antonio Spurs, the Cavs were actually leading 101-100 with six minutes left before eventually losing the game 119-113.
Some people say there is no such thing as a “good loss” but Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson is trying to look on the bright side.
"It's a positive that we're up in the fourth quarter and not being down by 20,” Thompson told ProjectSpurs.com after the loss. “It's a positive that we're competing, playing hard ad we're in games. We've just got to learn how to put fourth quarters together, play hard for four quarters and go out there and take care of wins."
If the Miami Heat take care of the Boston Celtics, the Cavaliers are next in line to try and derail the Heat’s impressive win streak. Can you imagine how hyped that crowd is going to be when LeBron James returns home to Cleveland? Maybe the Cavs can ride that momentum to a big win.
OK, that is a lot to ask and I would not bet on it, but with the way this team has been playing lately, maybe they can at least give Miami a decent game.
The Cavaliers are a team looking toward the future. With all the young, talented players on the roster, they are going to eventually be a very solid group. All this effort to keep these games close even when they don’t really matter is going to pay off down the road.