NBA Playoff Odds: Are The Cavs Still The Favorites In The East?

The Cavaliers took three of four regular-season meetings with IN, which has been the streakiest team IN the league this season.

From holding out for his $57 million contract during the preseason to breaking his thumb and missing half of Cleveland's games, it's been a fairly miserable season for J.R. Smith.

The Cavs were also without Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson, and fell a game behind Boston in the race for No. 1 in the Eastern Conference.

For Lue, regardless of how bad the team has looked at times, health is the number one priority. "My fault. I think we underestimated the amount that really mattered".

The Spurs have regained the services of starting shooting guard Danny Green, who missed five late-season games with a quad injury. We played through it and our guys got through it. "It's just time to get it rolling".

"We have a good chance to win it all", James said after Thursday's team practice.

However, when asked if he felt this 2016-17 version of the Cavs was better than the team that won a championship in 2016, he wouldn't quite go that far.

"Yeah, we were watching a little bit of it", said Celtics guard Marcus Smart, who scored 13 points against the Nets. The Cavs' front office considers it one of Lue's greatest strengths as a coach. The bench goes 11-deep, with midseason acquisitions Deron Williams, Derrick Williams and Kyle Korver adding punch to the reserve corps.

"What's insane is that this season seemed like it went by faster than the one previous year", Lue said.

Some good news for the Pacers is that Cleveland has been struggling in the final two months of the regular season. This season went by fast. "In many ways that's a real blessing for us because it's how we like it".

For the Miami Heat, the season is going down to the final night. "He nearly views me as an inspiration by coming back, really, and I've leaned on him to get back to this level". Toronto has gotten better. Those are they types of plays we have to take away. Same thing with Milwaukee...

Paul George will need to play extremely well if the Indiana Pacers are going to upset the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs.

But after losing 23 of their last 46, winning just 51 games overall and failing to sustain any kind of rhythm in March or April - all with the highest payroll in National Basketball Association history - the Cavs must prove they are who we thought they were.

The Cavs were without LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. So it seems like Cleveland can indeed turn it on and get back to the NBA Finals. Every team is different. The one thing for Cavs fans to worry about, I suppose, is if the Bulls snatch the seven seed and set themselves up for a first-round matchup with Cleveland.

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