CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – A year ago, with the Cavs cruising along head coach Tyronn Lue set his team’s sights on the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.
A year later, Lue is just hoping his team can regain their health and recapture the rhythm that ultimately led to them winning their first NBA championship rather than focusing on the conference’s top seed.
“It’s a fine line,” Lue said prior to Tuesday night’s 122-102 win over Orlando, “Because you want to make sure we go into the playoffs healthy and guys are rested but if you can get home court you want to get that too so it’s a fine line and were great at home. During the playoffs we didn’t lose any games in the playoffs until the finals so we know when we play at home in the playoffs we’re very tough.
“We just got to make sure our guys are healthy, that’s the most important thing to me but also still trying to chase the No. 1 spot if you can get it.”
Since Feb. 25, the Cavs have won back-to-back games just twice and are 9-11 making establishing consistency and figuring out rotations a priority over focusing on seeding. They’ve now won their last 3 to climb into a tie with the Boston Celtics atop the Eastern Conference.
The 2 teams square off Wednesday night in Boston.
“It’s more important just to try and get our rhythm going down the stretch,” Lue said. “You want to establish some kind of rhythm going into the playoffs and the guys now that.”
Lue has a point.
If the playoffs were to begin today, the Cavs would face the seventh-seeded Chicago Bulls as the No. 2 seed. Toronto and Atlanta would square off as the Nos. 3 and 6 seeds respectively and Cleveland would get the winner of that series in the conference semifinals. Meanwhile in the top end of the bracket, Boston, who holds a half game lead on the Cavs entering play Tuesday night, would take on eighth-seeded Miami while No. 4 Washington and 5 Milwaukee play each other setting up a potential Celtics-Wizards conference semifinal.
The current standings would keep the Cavs from having to go through both Boston and Washington to try and three-peat as conference champions, which would be an ideal scenario rather being the top seed and having to go through both of those teams.
Moving On – Lue said that the Cavs have moved past Sundays flare-up between LeBron James and Tristan Thompson during a timeout in the final minute of the second overtime of their 135-130 win against Indiana.
“We addressed it Sunday and it’s over. We’ve moved past that. We’ve moved forward,” Lue said. “Sometimes it’s good, just to show the passion we have.”
Lue doesn’t feel that the chemistry or camaraderie within the locker room has taken a hit over the last few weeks.
“I don’t think so,” Lue said. “I just think we’re passionate and we’re trying to win every game. When you hit a tough patch like this, sometimes it happens. It’s not where guys are going to fight or not speak to each other.”
After the game, James said he apologized to Thompson for showing him up, which was not his intent but the vibe in the locker room seemed even more tense than it had become in recent weeks.
Korver Returns – Kyle Korver returned against Orlando Tuesday night and he scored 11 points in just under 12 minutes Tuesday night.
“You always want to help. [I] definitely didn’t come here to sit. I had to wear the same sport coat, I don’t know how many times. I only brought 1 suit. I didn’t expect to have to wear it. It’s been a frustrating month on a lot of levels for all of us here.”
Korver, who had missed 11 of the previous 14 games, had been sidelined due to soreness in his left foot but changed his shoes to a Kyrie sneaker.
“If I were to create a shoe for me, if I were to do that, it would be something similar to what he already has,” Korver said.
Korver hit his first shot – a 3 in the third quarter – and finished 4 of 6 from the field including 3 of 5 from beyond the arc.