Where were you in 1998?
That year has become rooted in Cavs history — an inescapable smudge that no one could erase. It was the last time the organization made the playoffs without LeBron James — the multi-time franchise savior whose presence single-handedly controlled the team’s destiny. With him, Cleveland was a pillar of stability and prosperity. Without him, rubble.
Until Sunday night.
The Cavs crushed Houston, 108-91, ending a five-year playoff drought and clinching a berth without LeBron for the first time in more than two decades. It’s their fourth straight win and sixth in the last seven games. The victory also pulls the Cavs closer to third-seeded Philadelphia who had an abundance of breathing room a few days ago.
“You want to appreciate every step along the way and it’s definitely a blessing,” All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell said. “I don’t want to downplay the moment. But in the same token, and I told the guys in there, this is what you come to expect. You made your first one, appreciate it, enjoy it, celebrate it for the city, for the organization, for your individual guys who have made it, but at the same token like, three seed is in play. That’s the goal. That’s the focus. We should come to a point now where that’s what is expected of us — making the playoffs and continuously pushing forward.”