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NBA Power Rankings: Best believe it's starting to happen for Cavs

by | NBA Writer

You can believe what you want about the Cavaliers. I don't mean that in a sarcastic or snide way. If you believe they were fine the whole time, their struggles were because of injuries or unfamiliarity with the roster, you can believe that. If you want to believe that they just needed Timofey Mozgov, Iman Shumpert, and -- gulp, J.R. Smith -- you can believe that, too.

But don't think there hasn't been a change. The Cavs are playing better since LeBron James returned, and Mozgov gives them the rim protector to cover up myriad problems on the perimeter. But they're also playing with more focus. They're defending with a cohesive strategy, having given up hedging hard on pick and rolls for a more conservative approach. They're playing the percentages now and it's paying dividends.

Cleveland coach David Blatt told reporters Sunday the difference for him simply has been finally having all his players. That's not accurate. The team is playing with better execution. Concerns remain, despite lofty offensive numbers, about how they produce those points. But the overall picture makes them seem more like a team rather than a collection of players.

And that makes them exponentially more dangerous, which is why you'll find them at No. 5 in these Power Rankings. Here's the rest:


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