Yahoo! Second just fine for Cavs
For the first time since the early 1990s they won 50 games back to back.
CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Cavaliers don't need a spot in the NBA's draft lottery. They already hit the jackpot.
Thanks to the Chicago Bull's devastating loss to New Jersey on Wednesday, the Cavs earned the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference for the first time since 1976 and the first time since the NBA went to a 16-team playoff format.
It is the first time since the 1991-92 and '92-93 seasons the Cavs have won 50 games in back-to-back years.
After six consecutive losing seasons including a rock-bottom 2002-03 season in which they won just 17 games, the Cavs have put together four consecutive positive seasons as their attendance has gone from 30th in the NBA to third this year.
"I think it's an accomplishment that I think we can gain a lot of respect from," Larry Hughes said. "I think it's a springboard to what we want to be."
The Cavs did not finish the season as hot as they did last year, when they won 14 of the last 17 games, but they played their best basketball in the second half of the season.
Shaky early in year
After a shaky first three months, the Cavs finished the season 23-12 to match their record from last season. After going just 4-9 on the road in the first two months of the season, the Cavs went 16-12 away from home the rest of the way.
There was plenty of fire and brimstone from the fan base after losing games that were expected to be wins at New York, Boston, and Charlotte.
Yet the Cavs were 18-2 against teams under .500 at home and 12-3 against the Western Conference at home. They were also 10-5 in their division.
Inverse numbers could be provided, but they would perhaps fall on deaf ears in these glass-is-half-full days. And there's more.
Moved up in rankings
From last season to this season, the Cavs moved up 11 spots in the league rankings in points allowed and field-goal percentage defense. It was the highest jump in the league. They are the two most important categories in the Cavs' philosophy.
"We definitely proved that we are one of the better teams in the NBA," LeBron James said.
Of course, the lasting judgement and the memories of this season are yet to be determined in the coming weeks. Leave all that for later, though, no reason to think harsh thoughts now.
"I don't think any of us are satisfied, but we should all feel proud," Cavs coach Mike Brown said. "The sky's the limit for this group."
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