NBA Playoffs Possible 1st Round Match-ups for Cavaliers

Feb 22, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) shoots against Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond (0) in the third quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 22, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) shoots against Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond (0) in the third quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /

It’s that time of year again, the NBA Playoffs are less than three weeks away, and, of course, all the attention in the Eastern Conference is what are the Cleveland Cavaliers going to do.

It’s easy to anticipate that the Cavs will finish atop the East due to the overpowering talent compared to other organizations in the Eastern Conference. It’s almost like no one gives the Toronto Raptors, only 2.5 back from the Cavs, a chance to finish as the top-seeded team.

With only 7 games remaining of the Cavaliers’ schedule, it’s time to begin looking into the possible 1st Round NBA Playoff matchups:

Indiana Pacers

Currently, the Pacers sit one game ahead of the Chicago Bulls, and half a game behind the Detroit Pistons, the eighth seed in the East.

In years past, the Pacers would not have been a favorable matchup to face any team in the playoffs. As a talented team, driven by forward, Paul George, the Pacers seemed to give LeBron James‘ Miami Heat team trouble this time of year.

However, this season the Pacers haven’t really effected the Cavs. Already 3-o against the Pacers with one game remaining to play between the teams this season, it’s safe to say they haven’t caused much concern for the Cavs in 2016.

With a good chunk of their scoring coming from Paul George (23.4 PPG), the Pacers don’t pose much threat for this defensive savvy Cavaliers team.

Come April, this matchup may be one the Cavaliers hope to have in the first round of the 2015-2016 playoffs.

Detroit Pistons

Beating the Cavaliers two out of three so far this season, the Pistons do look to cause more trouble for the Cavs than the Pacers do.

Currently sitting as the seventh seed in the East, the Cavaliers may play them as either the seventh seed seeing, if the Cavs fall behind the Raptors, or as the eighth seed if the Pistons finish behind the Pacers. Either way, the Pistons are a much scarier matchup for the Cavaliers.

It isn’t the scoring or the sound defense that worries the Cavs, it is Pistons’ center, Andre Drummond. This 6’11” big man averages just about 15 boards per game and can easily score over 20 points on any given night. Besides him, there isn’t much worry on this team, but for the Cavaliers, battling down low can cause many problems.

In the three games these teams have played against each other this season, Drummond has averaged 13.6 rebounds per game.

This problem comes from the Cavaliers lack of solid big men. Besides Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson (both seriously undersized at the center spot), there isn’t a post player on the Cavaliers averaging above 5 rebounds per game. If these two players don’t step up against Drummond in the playoffs, this matchup could cause problems for Cleveland.

Timofey Mozgov playing like he did last year would be huge in this match-up, sadly there is little hope of that.

Chicago Bulls

Although the Bulls don’t seem to be the favorite team to get into the playoffs this season, it’s still a possibility they end up the eighth seed in the East. If so, it’s questionable as to whether or not they pose any kind of threat for the Cavaliers.

The Bulls are only 1 game behind the Pacers for 8th and 1.5 games behind the Pistons for 7th. They play Detroit tonight which could be a huge game.

Although they are currently 2-1 against the Cavs this season, the Bulls don’t seem to be the same team they were since 2016 began. This could be because of practically the entire starting five facing injuries as of late. But as all of Cleveland learned last season, late season injuries are just part of the game.

It is a stretch that the Bulls even make it into the playoffs, as they still have to face the Cavs, Heat, Pistons, and Rockets to finish the season. But if they do make it in, their chances of beating the Cavaliers aren’t very high.

Averaging less points per game (101.5) than they allow other teams to score (103.1) can be a major issue for Chicago considering the Cavaliers allow the third-fewest points per game in the NBA (98.0) and score the ninth most points per game (103.9).

If Chicago squeezes his way into the playoffs this season, they should be no threat for Cleveland. But of course, that depends on which Chicago Bulls team shows up.

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Washington Wizards

The Wizards are definitely a stretch to sneak their way into the playoffs this season. Currently two and a half games behind the Pacers for the eighth seed in the East, and having to play four playoff teams with only seven games remaining on their schedule, the Wizards have a hard road to say the least.

Finishing 2-2 against the Cavaliers this season may be as much of a surprise as any of these possible playoff opponents. However, the Cavaliers shouldn’t have much of a problem with this Wizards team. Yes, John Wall and Bradley Beal aren’t players to take lightly in the NBA, but besides these two there aren’t many threats on this Washington team.

The Wizards lackluster defense has allowed 104.5 points per game this season, which is hands down the biggest upside for the Cavaliers. With players like Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, and Tristan Thompson playing well as of late, scoring against this Washington team won’t seem to be an issue.

If this miracle happens, and the Wizards sneak into the playoffs. Look for Cleveland to breeze through the first round with ease.

Which team do you want the Cavs to face in the 1st Round of the NBA Playoffs? Which team would worry you the most?