The Numbers Game: How Far Away Are Streaking Cavs from West’s Best?

January 18th, 2016 by Adam Fromal Leave a reply »

Since Kyrie Irving's return from rehabbing his injured knee on Dec. 20, the Cleveland Cavaliers are once again streaking toward the top of the NBA. Heading into Monday night's marquee matchup against the Golden State Warriors, they've won nine of their last 10 games while outscoring opponents by 12.2 points per 100 possessions.

If the strength of the team's Big Three is any indication, Cleveland is drawing closer to the three premier Western Conference powers (keep in mind that the league-average net rating is always zero): 

The Cavs' three-man wrecking crew doesn't quite match up against the Warriors' super troika, but it's almost keeping pace with the Thunder trio.

That gap is also starting to close.

Behind Irving, LeBron James and Kevin Love, Cleveland has actually produced a better net rating over its last 10 games than two of the three Western leaders. The San Antonio Spurs are the only exception, thrashing opponents during their current 11-game winning streak and boosting their season-long net rating to an all-time-best 15.1.

But even if the Cavs aren' ...

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