Cavs hover in top 5 in Eastern Conference playoff race


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The Cavs celebrate their victory against the Bulls on Jan. 2, in which Donovan Mitchell (center) scored a Cleveland record-breaking 71 points.

Jack Martin, Staff Writer

With the NBA All-Star break quickly approaching, the Cleveland Cavaliers are sitting comfortably with a 31-22 record as of Jan. 31. With only 29 games left in the regular season, the Cavs are No. 2 in the Central Division and No. 5 in the Eastern Conference.

All-Star starting guard Donovan Mitchell leads the team in scoring, averaging 27.6 points per game, in addition to 4.9 assists and 1.5 steals. Center Jarrett Allen leads the team with 9.7 rebounds per game, followed closely by forward Evan Mobley, who is averaging 8.9. Rising Star guard Darius Garland is averaging an impressive 21.8 points per game to go with a team-leading 8.1 assists per game.

In addition to the team’s impressive statistical performance so far, the Cavaliers have experienced several milestones as a team. On Jan. 2, fans watched as Mitchell scored a career-high 71 points in a 145-134 overtime win against the Chicago Bulls. It was the twelfth 70-point game in NBA history, as Mitchell joined a group of legends such as Kobe Bryant, David Robinson and Elgin Baylor.

On Jan. 10, fan-favorite center Kevin Love climbed to sixth on the Cavalier’s all-time rebounds list, surpassing Anderson Varejao and his 4,454 rebounds. At 34, Love is likely to pass Cavs’ legend John “Hot Rod” Williams (4,669) to move up to fifth place in the team records.

Also this past month, the team saw the long-awaited return of veteran guard Ricky Rubio, who in his nine games back has averaged 15.3 minutes per game and helped alleviate some of the depth issues that have plagued the team all season.

Although the team is in good shape to make the NBA playoffs, they still have some weaknesses to address. Recently, the team has lost several winnable games to inferior opponents such as the New York Knicks and Oklahoma City Thunder. Furthermore, the team has struggled on the road, sporting a 10-16 record at away games in stark contrast to their 21-6 record at home.

Injuries have also been an issue for the team. In addition to having gone without Ricky Rubio, the team has seen moderate injuries from players such as Darius Garland, Dean Wade and Kevin Love. These frequent injuries have resulted in healthy players needing to play longer minutes. Fortunately, there have not been any severe season-ending injuries.

The final few months of the season provide the Cavs with an opportunity to fix their glaring issues and prime themselves for a deep playoff run.