The NBA released its schedule last week, including the full 2023-24 slate for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Interwoven in the road trips and homestands and In-Season Tournament contests are a number of national television games, 17 in all.
The Cavs have a lot to prove after last season ended in disappointment. They won 51 games and had the second-best net rating in the league, but lost in five games in the playoffs. Ultimately it will be the playoff schedule release that means the most, but that won’t come for quite a while.
It’s true that the audience doesn’t get a complete picture of what a team is made up of in the regular season. Yet, the matchups below should show how much the Cleveland Cavaliers have improved and how far it has to go.
5. New York Knicks at Cleveland Cavaliers – Oct. 31- TNT
The New York Knicks decimated the Cleveland Cavaliers in five games in round one of the 2023 Playoffs. The difference was that Wine and Gold could not contain Mitchell Robinson on the glass, buying the Knicks extra possessions, and Donovan Mitchell was outplayed by Jalen Brunson.
Heading into the Halloween matchup, the Cavs have retooled with sharpshooters Max Strus and Georges Niang, presenting more off-ball options with a gravitational pull.
This matchup has value because it’s an early measuring stick for how much strength Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen have added or need to. They won’t just have to deal with Robinson throwing his weight around the block, but All-Star Julius Randle banging inside too. The Cleveland backline cannot allow New York to clobber it by double digits on the glass.