Game of the Week
Cleveland at Boston, Wednesday, 8 p.m., ESPN
The Cleveland Cavaliers enter Monday’s night game with the Bucks having lost only two games in February, one at the end of an exhausting road trip and the other without LeBron James. The team has dominated in the conference and is cruising into the last month and a half of the season in great shape — and it appears the Cavaliers’ roster will only continue to improve.
Deron Williams, the former Mavericks point guard, said on Monday that he would sign with the Cavaliers. And reports indicate that Andrew Bogut, the former Warriors center who played poorly in Dallas this season before being traded to Philadelphia last week, is likely to sign with Cleveland. That’s provided the Sixers release Bogut by Wednesday, the latest point in the season that waived players can compete in the playoffs after signing with a new team.
If Williams and Bogut both join the Cavaliers, they will shore up the second unit of a team that has no major weaknesses outside of its bench. It’s difficult to imagine the second-tier teams in the Eastern Conference beating Cleveland in a seven-game series. New acquisitions — which would meet James’s request last month for a personnel makeover — could make it that much harder.
And while the Toronto Raptors took steps to improve their position relative to the Cavaliers this month, other teams in the East refused to bow to the pressure of the trade deadline. The Wizards neglected to tinker with their starting lineup, instead bolstering their bench by acquiring Bojan Bogdanovic from the Nets. (It’s worth noting that Bogdanovic scored 21 points when Washington visited the Barclays Center in February.) A lot of noise came out of Indiana about possible destinations for Paul George, but the Pacers declined to make a move. And the second-seeded Boston Celtics, who many expected to try to improve, also stayed put.