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Can the Cavaliers’ doubles hit a deep play-off round?


TORONTO, OP – 5 NOVEMBER: Evan Mobley # 4 and Jarrett Allen # 31 of the Cleveland Cavaliers watch the Toronto Raptors during the first half of their basketball game at the Scotiabank Arena on November 5, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and / or using this photo, NOTE TO USER: User agrees to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mark Blinch / Getty Images)

When the Cleveland Cavaliers rolled out a starting lineup with three near-seven-footers at the start of the season, many saw it as a cunning experiment with little chance of significant success.

Yet, just over three months into a rather challenging season, the Cavaliers have defied all sorts of expectations placed on them. They even earned another impressive performance Wednesday against defending champion Milwaukee Bucks, who overcame a backlog in the first quarter to secure a formidable 16-point victory.

With the win over the Bucks, which elevates Cleveland to a record 30-19 and third in the Eastern Conference, are the Cavs ready for a deep playoff game?

Can the Cavaliers’ doubles hit a deep play-off round?

Many rightly look at the rise of third-year guard Darius Garland. His 19.7 points and 8.2 assists per game will likely give him an All-Star pick for the first time, as well as discuss him in the Most Improved Player talk.

Cleveland will not be content with just a playoff spot, and as good as Garland was, their twin towers in the forecourt may be the most important element to potential playoff success.

The defensive point this season was Cleveland’s business card, as they sit third in that area behind the league’s two best teams (Phoenix and Golden State). Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley are the pillars behind it, offering a unique combination of inside size and impressive defensive IQ.

Mobley is already becoming one of the elite big men in the league and is a rare example for a first-year player due to his size. The ability to be a more than capable perimeter presence, both offensively and defensively, is ultimately what makes Cleveland’s great range not only viable, but a productive, dynamic unit.

Allen has always been a shot-blocking presence during his time in Brooklyn, but even the Nets may be surprised by the rapid development that made him a potential first-time All-Star.

Together, Mobley and Allen led the Cavaliers to the best defensive field goal percentage in the league for shots within six feet. For context, the gap between them and the second seeded team (San Antonio Spurs) is larger than the gap between the Spurs and the fifth seeded Memphis Grizzlies.

With Kevin Durant currently out injured, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid hold the mantle as the most dominant players in the East. They are two of the most dominant infielders in the league, for that matter, proven by the fact that they are one and two in free throw attempts per game.

Given the reasonable chance that Cleveland will encounter at least one, if not both of them come into playoff time, the combination of Mobley and Allen could be even more important and more impactful. The idea that Antetokounmpo or Embiid will fight the best domestic duo in the league over a series of seven matches is enticing.

Although the Cavaliers will undoubtedly learn and grow from playing experience, it is not hard to imagine that this team, on the back of Mobley and Allen, is more than capable of delivering a surprising play-off round.



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