Yes, this is a day late. Many apologies for that, but in some ways I'm still recovering from being out West for 10 days - in and out of two time zones. The Cavs went 3-2 on that trip. They should have gone 4-1, but opened up the trip by stinking it up against the Denver Nuggets. First up ESPN's Marc Stein:
Thursday's Lakers-Cavs rematch in Cleveland would have been a big deal anyway, but the gap these teams have opened on the rest of the league only adds to the occasion. It's also the first game of an eight-game trip for the Lakers that will keep them on the road for 13 consecutive nights.Stein keeps the Cavs at No. 1 in his rankings for the fourth consecutive week. Given the fact that Boston hasn't been able to take advantage of any Cavs loss and the Orlando Magic have lost 7-of-9 is quite clear that the Cavs are - for now - the cream of the crop.
Looking for a dissenting opinion? John Schuhmann of NBA.com offers this view:They finished 3-2 on their Western road trip, and LeBron averaged 36.2 points on 55.5 percent shooting from the field. James leads the league in scoring on the road at 31.4 points, which is 4.4 more than he averages at home. The Cavs play their next three at Quicken Loans Arena, including Thursday's showdown with the Lakers.
The Cavs could only watch buzzer-beaters that could have altered the outcome in each of their three games this week. Two of the three went their way, but their defense is getting progressively worse as they head into their rematch with the Lakers.Schuhmann ranks the Lakers at No. 1 ahead of the Cavs.