Cleveland Cavaliers Win Again, Now At .500 For 2013

By Nick Claussen
Eric P. Mull – USA TODAY Sports

The suddenly resurgent Cleveland Cavaliers just keep on winning, and now actually have a .500 record for 2013.

Overall this season, the Cavaliers have record of just 16 – 34, but they are a solid 9 -9 in January and February. The Cavaliers have also won three games in a row now, and six of their last eight games after Friday night’s 119 to 108 win over the Orlando Magic.

The Cavaliers can point to several reasons for suddenly becoming a much better team, but the biggest reason is the improved play of the bench. The bench players were key to the win over the Magic, as the Cleveland reserves outscored the Orlando reserves by a huge margin, 51 to 15.

The bench players are averaging 49.3 points per game in their last four games, and they have had at least two players score in double figures in the last seven games. On Friday night, reserve forward/center Marreese Speights scored 18 points off the bench, and was a perfect 12-for-12 from the free throw line. Reserve guard Wayne Ellington, meanwhile, scored 14 points and shot three-for-five from behind the three-point line. In addition to hitting big shots, Ellington also played very good defense.

Star guard Kyrie Irving led the Cavaliers once again, as he scored 24 points while passing out eight assists and pulling down six rebounds.

And while Irving is the star of this team and the starting unit leads the way, the bench players continue to play a huge role for the Cavaliers. They have also come together as a unit fairly quickly. Ellington, Speights and Shaun Livingston all joined the Cavaliers during the season, and they have all fit in well with the rest of the team and helped the team improve.

The Cavaliers are in the midst of a seven-game homestand, and have won the first three games. If they can pick up a few more wins in Cleveland before heading back out onto the road, the Cavaliers can start making their overall record much more respectable and climb a little closer toward .500 for the season.

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