A lot of teams in the NBA are looking to pile up wins as the regular season nears its end. Some squads, one of which are the Cleveland Cavaliers, are trying to better position themselves with the postseason coming up in a couple of days.
The Cavs registered a 123-109 win over the New York Knicks in Madison Square Garden on Monday (Tuesday in Manila) which gave them their 50th win of the season, at the same time clinching the Central Division title.
LeBron James had 26 points, six rebounds and 11 assists, while to help Cleveland get the win -- their sixth in seven games -- after losing to the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday. The Cavaliers waxed hot from beyond the arc, making 19 three-pointers. Four of those 19 triples came from Filipino-American Jordan Clarkson, who finished the game with 16 points and three assists in 22 minutes of action.
Clarkson has been a steady contributor for Cleveland since he was traded from the Lakers in February. As a member of the Cavs, he's been averaging 12.9 points on 46-percent shooting, 39 percent from the three-point area.
Coming from Los Angeles, Clarkson had to find a way to fit in with his new team and build chemistry with a great player in James. But the Fil-Am guard said it's all about knowing what he can do and contribute to the team.
"It has been an adjustment for me," he said in a post-game interview on NBATV. "But knowing every time I step on the floor, you're going to be put in different situations to take a couple of shots and make plays. (So) it's just having confidence in yourself, come in every night and perform."
Since he entered the league in 2014, Clarkson will see action in the postseason for the first time in his career. As much as he is excited about the opportunity, he said the team is focused on entering the playoffs on a strong note.
"It's been a long year. It's my first time going to the playoffs," he said. "But we're all locking in right now and trying to find our rhythm going into this."
With the win, Cleveland can somehow breathe a sigh of relief after a rollercoaster regular season as they move within a half-game of the Sixers for the third spot in the East. Depending on the results of the last few games, the Cavs will face either the Indiana Pacers, Milwaukee Bucks or Miami Heat in the first round.
The Cavaliers play their last regular season game on their home floor against the Knicks on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila).