Lowe — Red-hot Cavs and the flourishing Luka-Kyrie pairing

This week, we highlight the red-hot Cleveland Cavaliers and the state of a wild Eastern Conference, Zion Williamson’s peculiar pick-and-rolls, the unguardable Luka Doncic-Kyrie Irving duo in Dallas and a blaring bright spot in Atlanta.

Jump to Lowe’s Things:
Red-hot Cavs | The uncertain Pels rotations
The Kings cut | Bag this shot, Jalen Green
Collins may need to bag this shot | Johnson shining in Atlanta
Luka-Kyrie flourishing | Bol Bol!

1. The speed of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ offense and the state of the East

As of this moment, the East looks to be there for the Boston Celtics more than at any time in the Jayson TatumJaylen Brown era. If we get to April and the conference looks anything like it does today, Boston falling short of the Finals will be a catastrophe.

That could change. Injuries could strike at the wrong time. The Celtics are a different team with Kristaps Porzingis, and Porzingis has been fragile before. The New York Knicks — perhaps the team best positioned to push Boston — could get healthier sooner than expected. Joel Embiid‘s recovery timetable could flip everything. The Miami Heat are never to be taken lightly, even if they have to machete through the play-in tournament again.

The Milwaukee Bucks are the single most important story in the league over the next two months. They have a top-three player in his absolute prime and have not put together even a two-week stretch in which they looked complete on both ends at the same time. The clock ticks.

The forgotten team has been the best one in 2024: the Cleveland Cavaliers, 18-3 in their past 21 games even after a loss to the Orlando Magic on Thursday without Donovan Mitchell, with the No. 1 defense and No. 4 offense in that stretch. The schedule was soft — eight wins against the Washington Wizards, San Antonio Spurs, Brooklyn Nets and Detroit Pistons — but the Cavs upended the Bucks and LA Clippers. They are three games up in the loss column on Milwaukee for the No. 2 seed, which would postpone any date with Boston until the conference finals and give Cleveland home-court advantage until then.

The first half of that run came with Evan Mobley and Darius Garland injured. The media vultures were circling: Was the Cavs’ season toast? What would that mean for Donovan Mitchell?

First appeared on www.espn.com

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