Kyrie Irving insists the Cleveland Cavaliers are the team to beat right now

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While the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs have been creating history over in the Western Conference, the Cleveland Cavaliers have been making noise in the East for very different reasons.

Whether it has been LeBron James unfollowing the Cavs on social media, or persistent rumours about Kyrie Irving's happiness, it seems the media have been happy to put a microscope on the title challenging Ohio franchise.

Yet, in actual fact, they're sitting two-and-a-half games ahead of the chasing pack in the East.

Perhaps the astonishing form of their potential Finals rivals has seen the Cavaliers good form overlooked and, indeed, LeBron James would be in the running for the MVP award any other year.

Stephen Curry has almost made that a one-man conversation, but James and his Cavaliers should not be overlooked as a result. This is a team that was only two games away from winning the NBA Championship last season with Kevin Love and Irving on the shelf.

With both men firmly back in action now, the latter believes that contrary to the game-changing feats going on in the West right now, the Cavaliers are the top team people should be worried about.

"Everything surrounding our team, just crazy to think that we’re still in first place, and we’re still the team to beat, honestly," Irving said, according to's Chris Fedor.

"I feel like we're the team to beat. Honestly, it's open season until we get into the playoffs. I have a lot more confidence than I think anyone realises in our team and what's going on in our locker room."

The 24-year-old point guard has the talent and flair to light up the court at any given moment. His offensive gifts have never been questioned, but his ability to mesh those said attributes with James and Loves is constantly under scrutiny.

The Australian is averaging 19.5 points and 4.5 assists a night this term, both of which are career lows. Considering the wealth of frontcourt talent alongside him, one could argue that a Chris Paul or Rajon Rondo would thrive as a playmaker in a Cavaliers outfit.

Irving might not drop enough dimes, but his field goal percentage does consistently hover around the 45 percent mark, meaning he is a steady attacking contributor for the Eastern leaders.

If the Cavaliers met the Toronto Raptors in the playoffs, the Canadian franchise have the ability to push the wine and gold all the way. The Raptors know exactly who they are with their dynamic backcourt, whereas the Cavs are not always viewed as fluid.

Should they be fortunate enough to make the NBA Finals, they'll likely meet one of the Warriors or Spurs. Given their ground-breaking achievements this season, Irving might take a different view when all is said and done.

Eastern Conference
NBA Finals
Kyrie Irving
Cleveland Cavaliers
Central Division
LeBron James

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