Hall of Famer says Cavs are playing best basketball in NBA

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Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Boston Celtics legend Paul Pierce thinks no team in the NBA is playing better basketball than the Cleveland Cavaliers right now.

The Cavs won 18 of 20 games going into the All-Star break, and although they dropped a matchup against the Orlando Magic on Thursday, they still own the No. 2 in the Eastern Conference with an overall record of 36-18.

“Cleveland is startin’ to separate themselves,” Pierce said. “… They lookin’ like they wanna be in that upper tier ’cause right now, ain’t nobody playin’ better than Cleveland. Nobody playin’ better than Cleveland in the whole league. … They tryna put theyself in that tier to where they like, ‘We wanna be in the conference finals versus the [Boston] Celtics if everybody’s healthy.'”

A run to the Eastern Conference Finals and possible matchup against the Celtics would undoubtedly pump tons of life into the Cavs franchise, especially with the team looking to prove that its playoff letdown last season was simply a fluke.

Cleveland won 51 games in the 2022-23 regular season before taking a disappointing exit in the first round of the playoffs against the New York Knicks.

The Cavs have battled through adversity this season, dealing with injuries and plenty of outside noise. They’ve done an admirable job of staying focused and producing wins, and they’re in a solid spot in the Eastern Conference as a result.

All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell is enjoying a fantastic season, averaging 28.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game. If he continues to play at a high level and gets some help from Cleveland’s supporting cast, the Cavs could be an extremely tough out in the playoffs this season.

Pierce’s former team, the Celtics, will likely be a major obstacle for the rest of the Eastern Conference in the playoffs. At 44-12, Boston has looked lethal at times. But the Cavs would undoubtedly love to get a shot at the Celtics, and that could be in the cards in the form of a No. 1 seed vs. No. 2 seed playoff matchup.

Cleveland’s next game will come on Friday against the Philadelphia 76ers. The Cavs are looking to avoid back-to-back losses, something they haven’t experienced since Dec. 29 and Jan. 1.

Mitchell’s squad is becoming one of the most intriguing teams in the NBA, and Pierce is clearly taking notice.

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Jason has covered the NBA for multiple years and is very excited about the future of the Cleveland Cavaliers.