LeBron: Cavs still have 'good chance to win it all' despite struggles
Many NBA observers believe that the Cleveland Cavaliers' 10-13 finish to the regular season wasn't a bad omen, and that the defending champions will now right the ship in the playoffs.
Unsurprisingly, LeBron James agrees.
"We have a good chance to win it all," James said after practice Friday, according to ESPN's Dave McMenamin. "But it starts with baby steps first, and we understand that. It starts with our opponent in two days. We have to be very determined, but we also have to be very smart about our game plan and how we execute that game plan."
The Cavs host the Indiana Pacers on Saturday in Game 1 of their first-round series.
"I think through everything that went on with our team, we're in a position where we can do something special still," James said. "At the end of the day, I'm not going to harp on what happened in the regular season through injuries, through bad losses, through good wins, through whatever the case may be. We have a good club going into the postseason. That's all you can ask for."
He's right. Given that they still have the best player of his generation in James, few are betting against the Cavs not to come out of the East. Still, the most glaring issue for Cleveland down the stretch was defense, or a lack thereof. Only the lowly Los Angeles Lakers had a worse defensive rating after the All-Star break.
While some of that can be rectified to some degree with simply crisper effort from an experienced team, historical odds are against the Cavs: No team outside of the top 10 in defensive rating has won an NBA title since the 2000-01 Lakers.
But betting against James hasn't been wise throughout his career, and he's never been one to lack confidence. He said he knows why he feels good about Cleveland's chances this spring, but he wouldn't share it.
"I've got the answer," James said. "I'm not giving it to you. But I've got the answer why I feel like we've got a great chance."
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