Rivalry games for the NBA, and for sports in general, are one of the most fascinating things that professional sports has to offer a fan. For instance, the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers have a rivalry, especially considering the Magic Johnson and Larry Bird rivalry in the 1980s. Yes, the Lakers and Celtics do not have those players anymore, but the rivalry is still there.
Every NBA team has at least one rival, and the Cleveland Cavaliers are no different. Playing against an opponent that the fans dislike makes the game that much more entertaining. That’s just the beauty of sports, it is so fun to watch a rivalry game, no matter what sport it is.
Back in the era when Michael Jordan was playing, the Cavaliers were rivals against the Chicago Bulls. Jordan eliminated Cleveland from the playoffs more than once, and that gave the Cleveland fans a team to root against.
There are 82 games this season, and not each game is as good as the other. Most likely, the Cavaliers will have a few nationally televised games, games that should be tough matchups for the Cavaliers. The Cavs do have a few rivals, so without further ado, here are Cleveland’s three biggest rivals for next season.
Rival No. 1: New York Knicks
The meetings between the New York Knicks and the Cleveland Cavaliers should be tense, especially considering how New York dominated Cleveland in the playoffs. The Cavs’ squad definitely wants some revenge, so these games should have a bit more riding than just a win.
Also, considering Donovan Mitchell might want to leave to the Knicks in a few offseasons once he is a free agent, given the connection there, and apparently he won’t even think about signing an extension with Cleveland, believes ESPN’s Tim Bontemps, but that’s just speculation. That’s just icing on the cake at this point.
The Cavaliers have a record of 104-119 against the New York Knicks all-time, which is actually super close, considering how many games have been played in total between the two teams. Yes, the Knicks do have a better record, but the last time the Knicks won an NBA championship was literally 50 years ago in 1973, whereas Cleveland won in 2016.
In four regular season games against the Knicks, Donovan Mitchell averaged 31.8 points, 7.5 assists, and 4.8 rebounds. He also shot 50.6 percent from the field and 46.8 percent from distance, both incredible percentages overall.
Jalen Brunson averaged 25.3 points, 6.0 assists, and 3.0 rebounds in the four regular season games against the Cavaliers this season, and also shot 45.5 percent from beyond the arc. It seems like Brunson and Mitchell both show up to play when they go up against eachother, and will probably do the same when it comes to the 2023-24 season.