Cavs open with 2 games vs. similar teams, then it’s mixed bag for good bit

The 2022-23 season is not right around the corner, but we’re getting there. The schedule for this upcoming season and for the Cleveland Cavaliers was recently released on Wednesday afternoon by the NBA, and from Cleveland’s standpoint for the schedule, this should be an entertaining time ahead.

Last season, the Cavaliers were the surprise club of the league, ending out with a 44-38 record, and several guys had their hands in the team turning a corner in a big way.

Cleveland stumbled down the stretch in 2021-22, and eventually would be bounced in the Eastern Conference Play-In Tournament after losses to the Brooklyn Nets and then Atlanta Hawks, but the Wine and Gold exceeded expectations. You’d have been hard-pressed to have picked anybody that realistically could’ve predicted the team to have 44 games coming into last year, and even more so with the injuries they had.

Now, as a Cavs fan, one hopes that the team can build on last year’s success, and keep moving along on the right path.

It’s time to turn the page, though, and in regards to this upcoming season, it’s worth noting that in the early portion of the schedule, the Cavaliers have their share of contests versus teams on the rise. Here’s the Cavs’ printable schedule below, for reference.

In the early part of the 2022-23 season, the Cavs open with two teams in a similar spot. Then it’s mixed for a good bit, relating to the first quarter or so of the year.

First off, the Cavaliers begin the 2022-23 campaign with road games at the Toronto Raptors and then Chicago Bulls on Oct. 19 and then Oct. 22, before the home opener is the second leg of a back-to-back versus the Washington Wizards on Oct. 23.

With the Toronto and Chicago games first off, the Cavaliers will be facing teams that were near their wavelength last season, as Toronto bounced back in 2021-22, and was finished fifth in the Eastern Conference. Chicago finished sixth. The Raptors would lose in the first round in six games to the Philadelphia 76ers and the Bulls lost in five to the Milwaukee Bucks in that round.

But in these meetings, both are games where Cleveland will be facing clubs that look to be jockeying with them for playoff position throughout this season ahead, and an Evan Mobley-Scottie Barnes first matchup of the season is juicy right off the bat. Then the Cavaliers facing Zach LaVine, Nikola Vucevic and a Central Division foe in the Bulls in the second game will be compelling also.

After those two matchups, there’s seemingly a mixed bag for the rest of the first quarter or so of the season, with the Wizards at home, and then Orlando Magic. Both of those, at first glance, should be ways for the Cavs to pick up early wins, but both clubs have several intriguing young pieces, and the Magic landing Paolo Banchero with the No. 1 overall pick nearly two months ago should be a boost offensively.

From there, here’s how the rest of the schedule shakes out, in the first quarter of the 2022-23 season in this sense:

  • A home and home versus the Boston Celtics, first on the road, and a game with the New York Knicks in between on Oct. 30
  • Then beginning on Nov. 4 at the Detroit Pistons, Cleveland has a five-game road trip. That’s then with games at the Los Angeles Lakers on Nov. 6, LA Clippers (second leg of a back-to-back), a national TV game on NBA TNT, Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors
  • Cleveland follows that up with home games in four of their next five, with the only road game then on Nov. 16 at the Milwaukee Bucks. They’ll face the Minnesota Timberwolves, Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat, Atlanta Hawks and Portland Trail Blazers at home in that stretch
  • Lastly, they’ll close out the first quarter of the season at Milwaukee on Nov. 25, and have a back-to-back at Detroit and Toronto again on Nov. 27 and 28

Glancing at the first quarter or so of the season after those first two outings, it’s a mixed bag to me in regards to Cleveland playing what looks to be contenders in the Bucks and Celtics on a couple occasions, and they play Golden State, the Clippers and Miami. One could potentially put Atlanta in that mold as well, with their offseason trade acquisition of Dejounte Murray also; that’s something to monitor, as is the Lakers’ situation.

The Cavaliers play contests against the Kings, and Pistons as well, conversely, who are teams with their share of young talent, but appear to be a year away from realistically vying for postseason action. The Kings could surprise people, however, their playoff drought has been there, and it’s not going to be easy in either conference to make the postseason.

And lastly, when it comes to Cleveland’s games against Minnesota, Charlotte and Portland, the Blazers could be retooling after their Jerami Grant offseason trade acquisition, Charlotte is still young but potent offensively, and Minnesota took the Memphis Grizzlies to six games as a seventh seed last year. Those clubs, at least for now, could be comparable to the Cavs, initially in this case, of course it’s tough to say what will play out right now.

As far as a few quick hits for the 2022-23 schedule overall, it’s noteworthy that the Cavaliers will be on national television nine times throughout the year, with games versus the Lakers on Dec. 6 on TNT at home, for example. Another few others to look forward to, especially, are games at home on Feb. 2 versus Memphis on TNT and at the New Orleans Pelicans on Feb. 10 on ESPN. It’s just nice to know that the Cavs will have their respect nationally this go-round.

Cleveland will have four games in March that will have national broadcasts in all, for what it’s worth, and then in April, should have four very winnable contests versus the Indiana Pacers, consecutive road games at Orlando and then wrap the regular season versus Charlotte on April 9.

It’s fun to be thinking about the Wine and Gold having game action again in a couple of months, anyway, and let’s hope they can continue on an upward trajectory.