Cavs: In the first half of 2020-21, February is the toughest stretch

Cleveland Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff signals to his players in-game. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff signals to his players in-game. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Cavaliers’ return is getting closer and closer.

The 2020-21 NBA season is swiftly approaching. And, for the first time since March, the Cleveland Cavaliers will get to join the action and take the court as well. The NBA has released the first half of their upcoming season’s schedule, and there are plenty of interesting games for Cavaliers fans to highlights on their calendars.

The Cavaliers’ first game is set to take place on Dec. 23 against LaMelo Ball and the Charlotte Hornets, which should be a fun one. On Jan. 20, Kyrie Irving is set to return to Cleveland, this time as a member of the Brooklyn Nets. And on Jan. 25, the reigning champion Los Angeles Lakers will play in Cleveland in a homecoming game for LeBron James, albeit there’s not likely to be much of a crowd, given novel coronavirus restrictions.

The Cavaliers are hoping to be a competitive team after a solid finish to their 2019-20 campaign. Cavs guard Collin Sexton averaged 25.5 points per outing in 11 games after the All-Star break, leading into what would be the end of the past season. That was seemingly due to COVID-19 exposure reasons with the Cavs not having been an Orlando bubble team.

Plus, Larry Nance Jr. began to expand his role post All-Star break, playing some minutes at the small forward position and averaging 12.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and increasing his assist per game average to 3.2 in his 11 final outings. And after taking over for John Beilein, then-newly-promoted head coach J.B. Bickerstaff led the Cavaliers to a record of 5-6.

The Cavaliers seemed to be building momentum before their season came to an abrupt halt due to the coronavirus.

So what jumped out regarding the first half of this next season’s schedule, then, for the Cavs? One takeaway that I had when looking over that involved the entire month of February.

In the Cavs’ first half of 2020-21, February is the toughest stretch.

The Cavaliers play 14 games in the month of February, and it appears to be an absolutely grueling stretch. It will be especially difficult for a young Cavaliers team trying to rekindle some of the fire that they showed during the end of last season.

To begin the month the Cavaliers take on the Minnesota Timberwolves at home. That should be a winnable game for the Wine and Gold. Following that, the Cavaliers will face Kawhi Leonard and the LA Clippers at home on Feb. 3 before facing Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks on both Feb. 5 and Feb. 6.


Playing the Bucks is never fun. They were one of the best teams of the 2019-20 season, and they can wear your defense down physically with Giannis. There is a chance that the Cavaliers get blown out by the Bucks two times in two days.

How do the Cavaliers get to recover from their back-to-back matchup with Milwaukee? A five-game, West Coast road trip two days later.

From Feb. 8 to Feb. 15 the Cavaliers will play away games against the Phoenix Suns, Denver Nuggets, Portland Trail Blazers, Clippers and Golden State Warriors, all of whom are expected to be playoff contenders in the Western Conference.

West Coast road trips are always tough on the Cavaliers. But their February 2021 journey out West will likely be tougher than usual. The Cavaliers are a young team who will likely be dealing with injuries by the time the road trip occurs and to add to that it would not be shocking to see the Cavs go winless in that five-game stretch.

The games get a little bit lighter when the Cavs return to Cleveland. The Cavaliers will play four straight games at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse from Feb. 17 to Feb. 24. Those matchups are against the San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, Atlanta Hawks and Houston Rockets.

The Spurs will be a competitive team in 2021 because Gregg Popovich is still a top head coach in the league. But the Cavaliers beating the Spurs is not inconceivable.

From there, the Oklahoma City Thunder are going to be a bad basketball team, so the Cavaliers should have a chance to win that game. The Atlanta Hawks will be a tough matchup as they are looking to make a push towards the playoffs.

But the Rockets game may be a winnable one for the Cavaliers depending on how the James Harden situation unfolds, as he seemingly wants out. And per a report from ESPN’s Tim McMahon and Adrian Wojnarowski, it appears that his potential trade destinations list has expanded.

Circling back, the Cavaliers wrap up the month of February with a showdown against the Philadelphia 76ers on Feb. 27, who, though, are a squad Harden would be willing to go to via trade, per McMahon and Wojnarowski’s report. The Nets were the first destination reported.

As a further update, to go with Harden having the Nets and Sixers in that realm, Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported on Thursday (subscription required) how Harden included the Bucks and Miami Heat, now, too.

Overall, February is going to be a grueling month for the Cleveland Cavaliers. They will play numerous playoff contenders and a couple of true championship contenders in the Bucks and Clippers as well. I think that there is a chance that out of the fourteen games the Cavaliers play that month they will only be able to win three.

Next. Larry Nance Jr. will get off to a good start. dark

Every team is going to face tough months on their schedule. Hopefully, Bickerstaff is able to have his young team prepared to learn some lessons during their rigorous month of February.