CLEVELAND -- Ask Tyronn Lue who is the best team in the Eastern Conference and he's going to inform you it is his Cleveland Cavaliers, regardless of how tough their fresh struggles had been.
He's referring, of direction, to LeBron James, the four-time MVP and three-time champion who is averaging 27.1 issues, eight.eight assists and 8 rebounds this season.
As Lue's pregame media convention persevered, in all probability the trainer had a second to replicate on the Cavs' present spot in the standings: 3rd in the East; seven video games again of No. 1 Boston and 4 video games again of No. 2 Toronto -- two groups that completely treated Cleveland on its fresh five-game highway shuttle in which it completed a paltry 1-Four.
He then adjusted his score of the Cavs.
"To answer your question in a better light, we're not right now, but we will be the best team in the East, yes," Lue stated. "Well, we're not playing the best right now, but we will be."
Warriors trainer Steve Kerr stated James' presence on the Cavs at all times makes them a danger in the longer term.
"I am very aware that they have LeBron," Kerr stated all through his pregame remarks. "Every year, every year. We've played them in the [NBA] Finals three straight years and I guarantee you there was a moment like this in all three seasons -- at least one, sometimes more. So we know. He's always going to get the ship righted and what happens now has nothing to do with what happens later."
Kerr added that James has improbably advanced from his already-elevated stage of play all through this 2nd stint with the Cleveland since returning in 2014.
"I know he's better now than he was four years ago," Kerr stated. "That's insane when you think about that because that should've been his prime -- four years ago. And he was already an MVP and a champion. But he's better. He's a better shooter, better player. He keeps getting better. I believe him."
Lue stated the Cavs' fresh struggles can also be related to Isaiah Thomas being built-in into the lineup after a 7½-month layoff from a hip harm, however Cleveland will organize that as Thomas will strengthen with extra alternatives.
"I think working I.T. back has been tough, because he had a minute restriction and then he's going back and playing with the second unit when they had a good rhythm going," Lue stated. "So now his minutes are starting to increase. It's just been a tough time to try and figure out the minutes and get him off the floor at the right time, and right timing and different combinations. But, you know, we'll figure it out."
Kerr stated that anytime the Warriors play the Cavs -- the team they have confronted in the NBA Finals for an NBA-record 3 instantly occasions -- it issues a bit of bit extra.
"It will be emotional no matter what," Kerr stated. "I'm sure it gives them more of a sense of urgency to come back and start playing better than they have. Sometimes this is the best thing for a team that's struggling is a rivalry game, get the blood going. I expect them to come out and play a lot better than they have been these last couple weeks."
And if the Warriors upload any other win to their present sizzling spell and the Cavs upload any other loss?
"There's an awareness that nothing is decided in January," Kerr stated. "Anybody who's been in the league knows that whatever happens now has nothing to do with what happens in June, but there's just a special feeling when you play against each other when you've got this kind of rivalry. There's 82 games, but certain games you circle and you get more excited for, and this is one of them."