Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Run for 50

Fifty wins isn't a magical number. But for the Cavaliers, it would be a significant accomplishment.
With a win in tonight's regular season finale against Atlanta, the Cavs would finish the season 50-32. It would be an eight-game improvement over last year, and would clinch just the fourth 50-win season in franchise history.
The Mark Price-Brad Daugherty led Cavs netted three 50-win seasons in five years from 1988 to 1993. The 1988-89 club, eliminated in the first round by Michael Jordan's famous (or infamous) shot, set a franchise record that still stands with 57 wins. The 1991-92 club duplicated the mark, losing to the Bulls in the Eastern Conference finals.
The 1992-93 club won 54, and lost once again to the Bulls, this time in the second round.
Some of LeBron James' teammates seem to think that 50 wins would increase his legitimacy as an MVP candidate. I don't buy that. I think most of the writers have made up their minds already and won't be casting their first-place votes for LeBron.
Let's face it -- LeBron inspires equal parts awe and resentment in sportswriting circles. Some writers thoroughly enjoy watching his breathtaking talent manifest itself in every game. Some think a vote for LeBron is equal to climbing on the King James bandwagon and selling out. Some are just jealous of the fact that a 21-year-old is superlatively talented and filthy rich, and will try to tear LeBron down under the guise of "journalistic objectivity."
But I digress.
Fifty wins won't get LeBron an MVP award this year, but it will give the Cavs a valuable toehold on the outskirts of elite status. Winning a playoff series would do even more, but a lot of that depends on who the Cavs face in the first round.
After the last buzzer sounds this season, whenever that is, the focus shifts back onto owner Dan Gilbert and GM Danny Ferry, and what they can do to add the few pieces this team is missing. If they manage 50 wins and a playoff series win this season, the ability to challenge Detroit as the top dog in the East will be a requirement for next season.

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