Terry Pluto Predicts Cavs to Finish with 53 Wins and Lose in NBA Finals

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With the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 2015-16 season on the cusp of beginning, one veteran Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist is projecting a 53-win season that will match last season’s victory total, and a season that will once again end in defeat in the NBA Finals.

Terry Pluto, who once served as the beat writer for the team during his days with the Akron Beacon Journal, stated that the multiple injuries they’re currently dealing with would be the main issue that holds back the team during the regular season.

Pluto pointed out that when things tip off in Chicago on Tuesday night, both starting guards Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert, will be on the sidelines due to either injuries or rehabilitation. Neither is expected to return before January.

In addition, Kevin Love and Anderson Varejao are both coming off of season-ending injuries, while Timofey Mozgov has struggled to come back from offseason knee surgery.

Of course, perhaps the biggest issue is the status of LeBron James’ back. He recently received an anti-inflammatory shot for his ailing back, with head coach David Blatt undoubtedly reluctant to play James too much in the early going.

In attempting to determine what it will take for the Cavaliers to win, Pluto cites Love’s need to expand his offensive game, and that J.R. Smith must stay focused on defense and rein in any self-destructive impulses that he’s shown in the past.

Pluto also mentions the need for new arrivals Richard Jefferson and Mo Williams to outpace the meager contributions that the retired Shawn Marion and departed Mike Miller provided last season.

Finally, Pluto states that Varejao needs to stay healthy after battling though injuries for most of the last five seasons.

The path to the NBA Finals will be more difficult for the Cavs according to Pluto, and reluctantly adds that they will come up short again.

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Brad Sullivan is a lead writer for Cavaliers Nation. He has spent much of life in the Cleveland, Ohio area, and has remained a Cavalier fan from their 1970 beginnings through the return of LeBron James. While that fandom was sorely tested during the Reign of Error known simply by one word, Stepien, that overall historical perspective will be part of his writing for Cavaliers Nation in the months ahead.