Tough stretch #2: March 3-March 13
March 3rd vs New York Knicks
March 5th vs Boston Celtics
March 6th @ Atlanta Hawks
March 8th vs Minnesota Timberwolves
March 10th vs Brooklyn Nets
March 11th vs Phoenix Suns
March 13th @ New Orleans Pelicans
This stretch in March includes teams that either made the playoffs or Play-In last year. A date with the New York Knicks starts off this stretch, and they ended the Cavaliers’ season last year. This will be their final regular season matchup, so this game could have seeding implications.
The Cavaliers then have a date with the Boston Celtics, and when these two play, expect to be on the edge of your seat. The Cavs won the season series last year 3-1, but all three wins came in overtime. This is another game that could have seeding implications, as both the Celtics and Cavs are expected to be near the top of the East this season. The Celtics game is followed by a back to back in Atlanta, and last season when the Cavs faced the Hawks on a back end of a back-to-back in Atlanta, they lost by 17. That gave the Cavs a six-game losing streak in Atlanta, and they have to break that.
After the Hawks, they play three Western Conference teams over their next four games, with the Nets sandwiched in between. The Cavs play the Timberwolves, Suns, and Pelicans. The Wolves swept the two-game series with the Cavs last season, and they have won five of the last eight meetings.
As for the Suns, they built a superteam this offseason by trading for Bradley Beal, adding to a core that features Devin Booker, Kevin Durant, and DeAndre Ayton. This team is lethal offensively and the Cavaliers defense will be tested. Finally, the Cavs close out this stretch with the Pelicans, who will be better with a healthy Zion Williamson. The Pelicans were the number one seed during the early portions of last season when they were healthy, and then injuries to Williamson and Brandon Ingram led to their demise. Expect them to be largely improved.
All in all, these two stretches are by far the toughest on the Cavs’ schedule. The rest of the schedule is pretty manageable and with that said, they have no excuse to not perform well this season. Last season they got a pass due to their flaws. Now, they don’t have any.
It is time to take the next step in the Land.