Before the start of the 2022-2023 NBA season, most analysts and predictions showed the Cleveland Cavaliers competing for the sixth seed or for a Play-In spot. With the regular season finished, the Cavs became one of only six NBA teams to achieve 50 regular season wins with a record of 51-31.
As the chaos of the NBA Playoffs approaches, we can take a look at what brought Cleveland to this point and defined their success. With Donovan Mitchell at the helm, how has this Cavs team formed their destiny? These are the top five games that defined the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 2022-2023 regular season campaign.
5. LeVert and Mitchell’s overtime masterclass vs. Boston
The Cavaliers struggled mightily with poor injury luck throughout all of last season. This year, while it was better, started out with a Darius Garland eye injury that sidelined him for a few weeks. In his place, Caris LeVert and Donovan Mitchell shouldered the scoring load, especially in their many overtime performances.
This overtime victory, along with another in this list, stands out as a cornerstone for Cleveland going forward. Up against the reigning Eastern Conference Champions Boston Celtics Caris LeVert and Donovan Mitchell provided 41 points each in a blow-for-blow brawl, ending in a 132-123 victory for the Believeland squad.
Cleveland’s starting roster rotated often for most of the season due to injury and a lack of true 3-and-D presence. In this game, Caris LeVert shined and solidified his place as a critical piece for Cleveland. Eventually, LeVert became the role as second unit leader and can now be described as an X-Factor for Cleveland.
While LeVert has had ups and downs this season, his performance in TD Garden gave Cleveland hope for the roster’s depth. More importantly, it gave Cleveland a reason to believe that injuries to Garland or key players would not be so heart breaking as they were the year before.