Last Wednesday night the NBA released schedules for all 30 teams, putting to rest debates about which games would be played on Christmas, if the Cleveland Cavaliers were going to open with the San Antonio Spurs to start the season and when LeBron James would be making his return to Miami. Well, now we know that the Cavs will in fact be opening the NBA season on October 30 against the New York Knicks at home and that LeBron will be traveling back to Miami for the first time on Christmas Day. Important Cavs basketball is back, and it will definitely be a huge present for fans to be able to watch their team once again on the 25th.
But these are just two games that you need to pay very close attention to if you’re a Cleveland Cavaliers fan, or just a fan of basketball in general. The days of meaningless Cavs games are finally over, and that means that you can count on Quicken Loans Arena — and venues across the country and border — to be filled with 20,000+ fans on a game-to-game basis. The past four years of watching putrid basketball have come to a close, and with the release of the 2014-15 NBA schedule, it’s a guarantee that basketball junkies are already rushing to plan their days around when the Cavs will be playing in marquee matches; Cleveland is in fact tied for the most televised games this upcoming season with 25 already on the docket.
So, in addition to the home opener and LeBron’s Miami Homecoming, I took the time to browse the Cleveland Cavaliers 2014-15 schedule and decided on 10 games out of the 82-game regular season schedule that you just can’t miss. This list should be able to up your excitement leading up to LeBron’s official return to Cleveland in a Cavs uniform.
October 30 vs. New York Knicks — at 8 p.m. on TNT
As mentioned above, LeBron’s return to Cleveland as a Cavalier will go down as one of the best sports stories of the year without a doubt. And it’ll b against his draft class buddy Carmelo Anthony, who decided to stay with the team that he left Denver for. Yeah, even Anthony admitted that the Knicks aren’t in position to win a championship this year, but add Kyrie Irving’s heroics against the Knicks to the equation and you have a game that could potentially produce two 30-point scorers. With Kevin Love in the equation this night might possibly produce three 20-plus-points players. It will give fans a chance to welcome possibly the most talented roster ever assembled in Cleveland Cavaliers history.
November 19 vs. San Antonio Spurs — at 7 p.m. on ESPN
Basketball is a team sport, but a lot of these games compiled in this list have to do with LeBron James. And rightfully so. He’s the most popular athlete on the planet, but it took four years in Miami for Bron to find out how to win the big one; something that he couldn’t do alone in seven years in Cleveland. The biggest roadblock for LeBron throughout his whole entire career has been the San Antonio Spurs; they even stopped the Cleveland Cavaliers back in 2007 in the form of a four-game sweep. The team just wasn’t quite ready to match up against the veteran-led Spurs just yet. So November 19 will be an early-season gauge for the Cavaliers when they match up against their Western Conference rivals for the first time since LeBron’s return.
November 21 @ Washington Wizards — at 8 p.m. on ESPN
If you didn’t already know, Paul Pierce has been a Cavs killer for some time. It happened while he was in Boston and it continued throughout his short stint with the Brooklyn Nets. Now that he is a Washington Wizard he’s yet again in another great position to cause havoc against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Center Macin Gortat had a breakout year this season (but take into account that it was a contract year) and the backcourt duo of John Wall and Bradley Beal made big strides from their first season together to the second. Will Kyrie and Dion Waiters be able to make a comparable jump in their third season together? Can LeBron continue to prove that he is still over the Paul Pierce hump that he hurdled in his first season in Miami? Will the Cavs be able to contain Gortat down low? These are all questions that Cavs fan will be hoping to have answered when this game comes up in late November.
December 11 @ Oklahoma City Thunder — at 8 p.m. on TNT
I found this tidbit when I was on Reddit the other day: the Cleveland Cavaliers were 74-8 at Quicken Loans Arena between 2008 and 2010. Just wow. What does this have to do with the Cavs playing a road game against the Oklahoma City Thunder? Well, between the past two seasons the Thunder went 68-14, almost as impressive as Cleveland’s home run but not quite. And, once again if, the Cavs land Love it will be a “Big 3″ showdown of LeBron/Kyrie/Kevin vs. KD/Westbrook/Ibaka. We can finally talk about Big 3s in Cleveland!
December 25 @ Miami Heat — at 5 p.m. on ABC
Cavs on Christmas? Cavs on Christmas. Cleveland fans can once again look forward to watching their team on the 25th since LeBron has come home, and this one will be a huge one. There’ll be boos, there’ll be NBA superstars, there’ll be monster slams once again on Christmas; it will be beautiful. In one of the most anticipated games of the NBA regular season overall, so much hype will be surrounding this game. The thing about LeBron’s return to Cleveland for the first time was that there weren’t a lot of relationships still left on that team after LeBron left. This time around, it’ll be different.
January 9, 2015 @ Golden State Warriors — at 10:30 p.m. on ESPN
This game will mark the beginning of Cleveland’s longest road trip of the 2014-15 season, and it’ll be one that will test the Cleveland Cavaliers for many reasons: 1. This team will have plenty of time by the start of 2015 to gel and start to show true signs of if they can make a run to the championship in their first season with LeBron back, 2. It will be Kyrie Irving’s first matchup against All-Star point guard Stephen Curry, a matchup/debate that many point guard fanatics look forward to and 3. It will really show the NBA if the Cavaliers are a serious championship contender. Following the Golden State contest, Cleveland will go on to face the Sacramento Kings, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers and end the West Coast trip against the Los Angeles Clippers.
January 31, 2015 @ Minnesota Timberwolves — at 8 p.m.
Although it’s not set in stone, this will be Kevin Love’s first game in Minnesota since being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and a 2015 first-round pick. By this time the Cavs will also be able to somewhat judge their decision to let Wiggins go and bring in the veteran double-double machine. Cleveland will start to be reaching their peak at this point, and a serious run at the championship will be fresh in the minds of Cavalier fans.
February 5, 2015 vs. Los Angeles Clippers — at 8 p.m. on TNT
Many are predicting the Clippers to make it out of the Western Conference this upcoming season. They’ve made leaps in the past two years, and they only have one more to hurdle in order to fulfill their dream of bringing back a championship to Los Angeles. The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Clippers may be the two most exciting teams during the 2014-15 campaign. Elite point guards? Irving and Chris Paul have that covered. Electric dunker? LeBron and Blake Griffin fill that void, and Kevin Love will be matched up against Griffin in a fierce battle. Lots of bodies will be flying in the air for this one. This is a spectacle you definitely won’t want to miss this upcoming season.
March 12, 2015 @ San Antonio Spurs — at 8 p.m. on TNT
This will be the second of two regular season match ups with the Spurs, and it will — like the couple of games before — take place during a time in which the Cleveland Cavaliers will have gone through enough battles to know if they got what it takes to claim the Eastern Conference. The Spurs will always exist — with Popovich and Duncan in the mix –as a great gauge for the Cavaliers’ toughness. Everyone witnessed what happened with LeBron during the heat of the Finals; this will be his first, and maybe only, time visiting the AT&T Center.
April 5, 2015 vs. Chicago Bulls — at 3:30 p.m. on ABC
One of my favorite things about the first LeBron-era Cleveland Cavaliers was the time slot this team got on Sundays. Having the late afternoon time gave me the opportunity to relax like it was an NFL Sunday.
This game is very late in the season, so make sure to remember this one. With Paul George out for this upcoming season after suffering an injury in a Team USA scrimmage, the Bulls will be the fiercest competitors in the Eastern Conference for the upcoming 2014-15 season. With the Cleveland Cavaliers sharing the Central Division with the Bulls, Cavs-Bulls games will be battles that will be circled on the calendar months ahead. At this point in the season we will really know if LeBron James is going to be able to work the current make of the Cavs 2014-15 roster. He has brought along some of his friends and is potentially landing Love come August 23. The Bulls also landed some great additions this off-season as well. With Pau Gasol and Doug McDermott adding help in areas of need, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year starting at center and Derrick Rose back at it again, the Bulls — just like the Cavs — look like they’re back.