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Eastern Notes: Cavs, Knicks, Sixers

Cavs first-year coach David Blatt believes that finishing second in the Eastern Division is a worthy goal the remainder of the regular season, according to Chris Fedor of Northeast Ohio Media Group. Cleveland’s relative lack of playoff experience, other than LeBron James, makes homecourt advantage even more essential, the story continues. The Cavs have not lost a home game since January 7th. Blatt may still rest some of his top players at times but not if it costs the team in seeding, Fedor adds. “I’d like us to finish as high as possible because there’s value in that,” Blatt said to the team’s beat reporters. “We’re going to come out and try to win every game regardless of who we are putting on the floor. If we see the need and we have the ability to rest someone we may do that too. We’re not going to lose sight of the fact that we’re going to compete every single game and not give anything away.”

In other news around the Eastern Conference:

  • Knicks first-year coach Derek Fisher says the most frustration he’s experienced this season is trying to instruct and lead players from the sidelines rather than on the court, Fred Kerber of the New York Post reports. “A lot of times, you see things in them that they’re still trying to discover in themselves,” Fisher said. “Being a guy that was just in that position a year ago at this date, there are a lot of things I can relate to and I can offer.”
  • The Sixers are winning too much for their own good and need to stay among the top four in the draft to get an impact player, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer opines. Philadelphia, which currently owns the third-worst record in the league, has won three of its last six. It plays the Knicks, who are tied for the worst record, and Lakers, who have the fourth-worst record, this weekend. Pompey notes that Jahlil Okafor, Emmanuel Mudiay, Karl Anthony-Towns and D’Angelo Russell are generally considered by most NBA scouts as the only sure things in the draft. You can track all of the teams in the hunt for the No. 1 overall pick by visiting our Reverse Standings page.
  • Miles Plumlee is making the most of his extended playing time with the Bucks, writes Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel.  The team likes what the 6’11” center has brought to the court since coming to Milwaukee in a deal with the Suns at the deadline. “I think his athletic ability, his ability to set screens and run the floor [was impressive],” coach Jason Kidd said. “The big thing is rebounding the ball, and he had 11 rebounds in 18 minutes. We have to get him more time on the floor.”

Chris Crouse contributed to this post.

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