THE SCHEDULE IS HERE, THE SCHEDULE IS HERE!!
The last time the Cleveland Cavaliers played an NBA game was a meaningless loss against the Bobcats on April 17, 2013. After an exciting Draft and a free agency period where the team was a main player for the first time in years, we finally know when our beloved franchise will take the floor to open a 2013-2014 campaign that has most observers very eager to find out what this team is made of. At StepienRules.com, we decided to look at the next 82 regular season games and highlight some of the most importants moments of the coming season.
WHAT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT STRETCH OF THE SEASON?
Things are going to get hard at some point. How will these guys respond? (David Richard, USA Today)
Jack - Easy. In March, when hopefully the Cavs will be down the stretch of trying to make the playoffs, they play between the 14 to 23 the following teams: First, finish up a road trip at Golden State, LA Clips, and then come home for Miami, Oklahoma City, Houston and finally go to New York and play the Knicks. Those are all good playoff teams in a 9 game stretch that will seriously test them. Can’t lose all 7 of those or the playoffs are probably not happening. I’d rather get those tough ones out of the way somewhere in the middle of the season or, even better in November when teams are still figuring things out. To have to deal with that at the end of the season is well, not good.
Brendan - This may be short-sighted, but I’m most concerned right now with having to play six of the first nine games on the road to open the season. While Mike Brown will certainly have a decisive advantage over Jason Kidd from a schematic standpoint, playing the first of those three home games against the playoff-bound Brooklyn Nets will be difficult. From there the Cavaliers will be away from the friendly confines of Quicken Loans Arena for games against the Indiana Pacers, Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Timberwolves--all tough games especially those first two. They Bobcats, Bucks and Sixers are all winnable road games, but they’re still road games. I’d much rather the home / road dates were reversed to start the season, with six home games instead.
Dave - 14th March right through until the final game of the season for me. We will have to travel to the Dubs, Clips, Knicks and Nets -- all certified playoff teams. We have some very tough home games against Miami, OKC, Houston, Indiana and the Nets again. The games in between are all against teams that are either a) Terrible, and ones we need to be beating at the business end of the season like Orlando, Toronto and Charlotte or b) Teams who are vying for the same thing as us - one of the non Miami, Chicago, Brooklyn, New York, Indiana playoff spots. It will be crucial that we come out of this stretch alive. Because there will be nothing more difficult than another lottery trip.
Alex - The second half of March is going to be full of bumps on the road. This ten game stretch includes games against eight teams that were in the playoffs last year, mainly the reception of two of the three last NBA finalists at The Q. Playing Golden State, the Clippers, Miami and OKC in a row seems absolutely awful, but it’s not over yet! The end of the month provides us with mettings against Houston, the Knicks, Indiana and Brooklyn, as well as two teams who will fight against us for one of the remaining playoff spots : Toronto and Detroit. These games will likely define the season. If the Cavs can win half of them, they the team on the rise everyone is hoping they are. Otherwise, we’ll likely be in the Lottery again...
WHAT IS THE EASIEST PART OF THE SCHEDULE?
Sometimes it's sooooo easy being a Cavalier. (ballislife.com)
Brendan - The five-game homestand from January 20-28 presents the biggest opportunity for the Cavaliers on paper. It’s the longest homestand of the year and comes before the All-Star break but also late enough to have the preseason kinks worked. Three of those games -- Dallas, Phoenix and New Orleans -- are all winnable. Chicago will be tough if Rose is healthy but Milwaukee I’ll take my chances with at home. By the end of January we’ll have a pretty good idea of who this Cavs team is and that homestand will be pivotal in determining as much.
Dave - Feb 11 - 25 is a period where, if we are fully healthy and playing the kind of basketball we should be capable of, could see us reel off 7 straight wins, something we haven’t done since he was around. The games in the stretch are home games v Sacramento, Orlando, Washington and Toronto, with road games against the Pistons, 76ers and Toronto once more.Outside of the PIstons and Wizards all these teams will be pretty awful, and teams we should be beating. You’d fancy our chances at the Q v John Wall and co., and who knows what way the PIstons will work out.
Alex - In the middle of January, the Cavs have a series of games that seems to be within reach. EVen though it starts with a trip out west, the team they’re facing are not too scary : after hosting Philly, they flight out at Utah, at Sacramento, at LA Lakers, at Portland at Denver, and finish it off by coming home against Dallas. If they can win the high altitude of the Colorado metropol, it looks to me they should be able to get a nice win streak going right when the team should be coming together nicely.
Jack - See I’m concerned that the first couple weeks of the season have so many winnable games that it’s going to set the Cavs up for unrealistic expectations. From that November 6 game in Milwaukee to the November 22 game in New Orleans, the Cavs draw the Sixers twice, and the Sixers are not good, then have two games that anything can happen in Chicago and Minnesota, then it’s Charlotte, the Wizards home and away. Not saying they’ll win all those games, particularly Chicago, but a hot start is possible.