As predictions go, it was only slightly more daring than "the sun will rise in the east tomorrow" or "Lady GaGa will dress like a tramp at the Grammys." But it turned out to be right on the money. The Cavs destroyed Minnesota (109-95), Indiana (95-73), and the L.A. Clippers (114-89), in games that were not as close as the final scores would have you believe.
The Wine and Gold are now working on an eight-game winning streak, have won 23 of their last 27, and are now only one game off last year's 66-win pace. They went an NBA-best 12-3 in the month of January, and lost those three games by a combined total of six points.
If you're the rest of the NBA, the scary thing is that the Cavs are dominating without their starting backcourt from last season, and with Shaquille O'Neal only now rounding into form. In other words, they may have a little more room to get better. Maybe even a bit more than that, if they can pry a quality player loose from a team looking for nothing more than salary relief (more on that later).
A few weeks ago, I stopped mentioning the Cavs' lead over the rest of the Central Division, as that race had entered Secretariat territory. (But now that I've brought it up: the Cavs lead Chicago by a comfortable 13 games - and that's with the Bulls winning eight of their last ten.) Ultimately, the more important races are the ones for the best record in the conference and in the entire Association, and the Cavs have the advantage in both of those as well (a 5.5 game lead over second-place Orlando in the conference, and a game over the Lakers).
Choose your measuring stick, any measuring stick, and they all say the same thing: this is one damn good team.
Maybe Matt Groening Can Take Over For A Column Or Two: I am not sure which Simpsons exchange applies more to the current Cavs. Either this one:
Lawyer: Ladies and gentlemen of the jury: Who do you find more attractive? Tom Cruise or Mel Gibson?
Judge: What is the point of all this?
Lawyer: I feel so confident of Marge Simpson's guilt, I can waste this court's time by ranking the super-hunks.
Or this one:
Homer (referring to "Reader's Digest"): My favorite section is "How to Increase Your Word Power." That thing is really, really, really ... good.
In other words, I've run out of superlatives. After watching a season and a half of the Cavs playing ball at a roughly .800 clip, I don't know how else to praise them. Of course, LeBron is LeBron; we will likely never see another player like him wearing a uniform with "Cleveland" written on the front. We're also being treated to another all-time top 50 player in O'Neal, even if his career needle is closer to "main stage at the Golden Nugget" and further from "singing