NBA players and coaches are always saying things like, “We don’t care where we are in the standings we are taking things one game at a time. If we play well, things will work out for us. I’m very hungry and am thinking of stopping by the Pizza Hut buffet today if you want to come with. They’ll have two different dessert pizzas, so that’s the main reason I’m going.” But that’s a lie. They know exactly where they stand, what they need to do to make the playoffs and what’s happening with teams around them.
You want proof? Just ask the Cleveland Cavaliers. From the AP:
“You have to pay attention to the standings,” [Kyrie Irving] said. “I’m aware we’re a game out of the eighth spot.”
“I sit and look at it all the time,” Cavaliers coach Byron Scott said. “I know the teams in front of us and what they’re doing, I know the team that’s right behind us. So I know we have a golden opportunity.”
Apparently the Cavaliers know where they stand in the Eastern Conference and they very much want you to know about it. They have done a great job of making sure people are aware that they know what’s up. They know, you know, so now we’re all on the same playing field.
And guess what? These guys are right. Kyrie is right because he is presenting a simple fact that is accurate and Byron Scott is right because he is presenting an abstract concept that is hard to argue with. The Cavaliers do have a great chance of sneaking in to the playoffs, especially since they’re only a game out. These guys have done their homework.
But it’s not going to be easy. The Cavs have enjoyed a pretty easy schedule thus far — tied for 7th-easiest in the league — and 15 of their remaining 27 games are on the road, where they’ve only won 39 percent of their games. Furthermore, 14 of their remaining games are against playoff teams or the Knicks, who they’re trying to knock out of the postseason. It’s going to be tough, but at least they’ve already played their season’s allotment of games against the Heat and Thunder, while only having three combined games against the Bulls and Spurs. They’re playing some good teams from here on out, but they’ve also already dealt with some of the best teams. I think they’ll probably fall a hair short, but getting another lottery pick isn’t the worst thing in the world.
I’m sure the Cavs know all this. They are very plugged in to the whole NBA scene, which they’re more than happy to tell you about. In fact, if you ask them about it, I’m willing to bet they mention that, yes, they do know they’ve already won nearly as many games as they did last season. Just a guess, but I’d bet they know all about that.