Which ’22-23 games get ‘Red Pen Treatment,’ when Cavs schedule is out?

Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images
Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images /

It’s August, which means tipoff of the 2022-2023 NBA season is right around the corner, and it’s an exciting time for Cleveland Cavaliers fans after a promising last season. However, the schedule has not yet been released. When the 22-23 schedule does come out, which should be soon, there are certain opponents who will receive the “Red Pen Treatment” (RPT). The “Red Pen Treatment” is when someone, such as a fan, takes a red pen and circles certain games on a team’s schedule.

The games which receive the “Red Pen Treatment” stand out for a number of reasons. Those reasons could range from things like a playoff eliminator, a game that could have major ramifications on the standings, a nationally televised game, a rivalry game, a measuring stick game, a revenge game, etc.

So with that in mind, when the 2022-23 schedule is out, which games should get the “Red Pen Treatment?”

The Cavaliers were swept by the Philadelphia 76ers, 4-0, in the regular season series last year. But, the margins of victory for Philadelphia decreased in each game and the competitiveness ratcheted up. As a result, the 76ers are the newest rivals for the Cavaliers, I believe. Since this is the case, the 76ers are the first team to get the RPT.

Last season, the Cleveland Cavaliers made the play-in, but not the playoffs ultimately. The Cavaliers lost to Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and the Brooklyn Nets in the 8 vs. 7 play-in tournament game so the Nets should get the RPT; still, Brooklyn is not getting the RPT. Instead, it’s Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks who are getting that.

Due to the Cavs losing to the Nets, Cleveland was forced to play in the do-or-die 9 vs. 8 game against Trae Young and the Hawks at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. It was looking good early as the Cavaliers took a 10-point lead into the lockerroom at halftime and they held Trae Young to six points. Unfortunately, Young exploded for 32 points in the second half as he scored 16 points each in the third and fourth quarter. The Hawks would defeat the Cavaliers 107-101 and advance to play the Miami Heat in Round 1. Thus, the Atlanta Hawks get the “Red Pen Treatment”.

Lonzo Ball, Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic, and the Chicago Bulls won the season series against the Cleveland Cavaliers 3-1. Of the four games between the Bulls and Cavs, the game on March 26, 2022 gives Chicago the “Red Pen Treatment”. The 98-94 loss dropped Cleveland’s record to 41-33 while Chicago’s record increased to 43-31. At that point in the season, Chicago and Cleveland were neck-and-neck in the standings.

The Bulls weren’t the only team the Cavaliers were fighting with in the Eastern Conference. They were also fighting with the Toronto Raptors for playoff positioning. In fact, there was a key two-game stretch on March 24 and March 26 where the Cavs played both the Raptors and the Bulls. The Cavs went 0-2 and the loss against Raptors north of the border (117-104) on March 24 gave the Raptors the “Red Pen Treatment”.

The Boston Celtics are the defending Eastern Conference champions while the Golden State Warriors are the defending NBA champions. So, they’re both getting the RPT.

The Memphis Grizzlies are the next team to receive the “Red Pen Treatment” (RPT). Memphis won both regular season meetings against Cleveland last season. But more than that, the Grizzlies are the blueprint of what the Cavaliers should follow to make the jump from being a very good team to a great team with title aspirations.

The Grizzlies were able to qualify for the playoffs by making it out of the play-in tournament in 2021, granted they were eliminated by the Utah Jazz in Round 1. In 2022, Memphis climbed all the way up to the No. 2 seed and they might’ve gotten to the NBA Finals had they not had to deal with the injuries in Round 2 against Golden State. In 2022, the Cavaliers got into the play-in tournament. Will they “pull a Memphis” and climb all the way up the conference standings to the No.2 seed?

If they want to do that, they’ll have to get through the second to last team to get the RPT. The Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Phoenix Suns in six games to win the 2021 NBA Finals. But in the 2021-2022 season, the Cavaliers took three out of four against the Bucks. So you know Milwaukee will be fuming and wanting to show Cleveland that there are levels to this game.

The last team to receive the “Red Pen Treatment” (RPT) is the Detroit Pistons. The Cavaliers and Pistons split the season series last year as each team got two wins apiece. Detroit finished with a record of 23-59. This meant the Pistons would draft fifth overall in the 2022 NBA Draft, where they drafted Jaden Ivey (guard out of Purdue); Detroit will pair Ivey with Cade Cunningham in their starting backcourt and they could be a thorn in the side of the top Eastern Conference contenders.

Hopefully, some of the teams who received the “Red Pen Treatment” (RPT) will be matching up with the Cleveland Cavaliers on national television, ABC, ESPN, TNT, or NBA TV. The Cavs only had one nationally televised regular season game (both play-in games were on national TV) and that was a game against the Raptors on March 6.

The Cavs defeated the Raptors 104-96 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, however, that’s the game where All-Star center Jarrett Allen went down with an injury. He would miss the last 18 games of the regular season. If Allen had stayed healthy, maybe the Cavs would qualified for the actual playoffs and avoided the play-in tournament.

Any team that receives the “Red Pen Treatment” is getting it for a very specific reason, as we expressed above.

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It will be intriguing to see where the games are slotted in the 2022-23 schedule, which is set to be revealed soon.