After five years of waiting, the Cleveland Cavaliers have finally made it to this year’s playoffs, thanks to their dominant 108-91 victory over the Houston Rockets. Despite not having LeBron James, who used to be the driving force of the team, the Cavaliers, who are currently the Eastern Conference’s fourth seed, have emerged from the darkness and returned to prominence with a young, talented, and connected roster that continues to evolve. This win marks their fourth straight win and sixth in the last seven games, and they could further secure their spot by clinching the third seed.
The Cavs have been haunted by many non-LeBron James ghosts of the past, including Andre Miller, Chris Mihm, Trajan Langdon, and Anthony Bennett, who gave many players’ the impression that Cleveland was only prosperous because of James. Nonetheless, after five long years of rebuilding, enduring coaching changes, and in-house bickering, the Cavs proved all critics wrong.
Jarrett Allen, the linchpin of the turnaround, led the charge against the Houston Rockets with his career-high-tying 32nd double-double, while Donovan Mitchell, the few playoff-tested players on the inexperienced roster, poured in 22 points, pushing the team’s offense. Meanwhile, 21-year-old Evan Mobley had 19 points, seven rebounds, and three assists, and Darius Garland, the 22-year-old offensive maestro, chipped in 17 points and eight assists.
The Cavs’ top-ranked defense held the Rockets to 5 of 15 shooting and 0 of 6 from 3-point range in the fourth quarter, proving why their season won’t end with game No. 82 this year. After years of waiting and rebuilding, the Cavs are officially back, marking the dawn of a new era where young players and a connected roster lead the charges.