The Cavs pulled out all the stops to romp back from 19 points down to defeat the high-flying Boston Celtics in an epic 91-89 encounter at the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. The win continues the progress made by J.B Bickerstaff’s side this season and has many talking of the possibility that the Cleveland Cavaliers could make it to the postseason for the first time in four years.
A rejuvenated Celtics were 72-53 up with 3:05 left in the third quarter, but the Cavaliers, thanks chiefly to Darius Garland, fought back to pick up their sixth win in seven games and leaves them handily placed in the Central Division.
The Cavaliers took part in four straight NBA Finals between 2015 and 2018, albeit losing three of those to the Golden State Warriors, but the last three seasons have been losing ones, and Bickerstaff has been tasked with turning things around. If you take a look at the Cleveland Cavaliers betting odds today, you’ll see he’s doing a pretty good job of it.
Clearly, their odds are still long to go all the way to the finals but now at 9-6 for the season; they are sitting in a decent spot to make it to the postseason. As well as seeing Garland put in some manful efforts this season, the Cavs have also got to see just how much potential rookie Evan Mobley possesses.
The power forward has been in fine form in his debut season and is now a smart outside bet for Rookie of the Year. The USC graduate is averaging 15.6 points a game and 7.9 rebounds and has formed a good partnership with Jarret Allen. Many are said to be jealous that Bickerstaff gets to coach such a supremely talented youngster.
Bickerstaff has been full of praise for the 20-year-old, stating;
“I don’t know if I’ve seen it, to be honest with you, or been around it,”
“Normally, young guys are so consumed with figuring the game out for themselves that they struggle to impact winning. I’m not getting ahead of myself here, but he’s shown these first games that’s the impact he can have. Because one, his skill set, but two, his intent. He does not care about anything else. There’s no agenda; there’s no motive. His sole focus is how do I help the Cleveland Cavaliers win basketball games? He just goes out and does that. When you play the game with that purity of heart and then throw his skill set on top of it and intellect, you’ve got a guy that impacts winning. He can do it in so many different ways. Any given night, he can help you in any way.”
It goes without saying that the Cavaliers won’t want to put too much pressure on such a young player, even if he is incredibly mature, but the signs are that Cleveland is more than just a work in progress and that there is a decent chance of the team moving back in the right direction.
The departure of LeBron James in 2018 was always going to leave a massive hole at the Cavaliers, and efforts to patch things up haven’t worked as well as they’d hoped, but now they certainly look in much better shape than at any point in the past three seasons.