In early January, the Cleveland Cavaliers were on pace to start the playoffs on the road and LeBron James was taking a two-week break to rest his injured knees and back. Over the course of 48 hours, the Cavs took a gamble in shaking up their roster with two significant trades that brought them J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, and Timofey Mozgov. James returned to the team a week later they have been on fire ever since.
In fact, since the mid-point of the season, a point that roughly coincides with the trades and the return of LeBron to the lineup, the Cavs have been just as dominant as their Finals opponent, the Golden State Warriors, a team regarded by some as one of the most dominant teams in recent NBA history.
During the regular season, the Warriors outscored their opponents by 828 points (10.1 points per game) while the Cavs outscored their opponents by just 367 points (4.5 points per game). However, since game 42, including the playoffs, the Cavs have outscored their opponents by 490 points (8.9 per game), 36 points more than the Warriors (454, 8.1 per game).
Of course, the Cavs had Kevin Love and a healthy Kyrie Irving for most of this run. But this does show that the gap between the Warriors and the Cavs may not be as big as many assume it to be.
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