2 best, 2 worst matchups for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs

As the Cleveland Cavaliers' playoff matchup chances linger, their best chance to win in the first round may be heavily influenced by the last couple games of the regular season.
Cleveland Cavaliers v Indiana Pacers
Cleveland Cavaliers v Indiana Pacers / Justin Casterline/GettyImages
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Cleveland should avoid the Miami Heat just like everyone else

The Miami Heat are currently in the eight seed with a record of 44-36. With every team so close together in the seeding, there are still multiple scenarios where the Cavs could meet the Heat, including in the Play-In Tournament.

As displayed over the last few seasons, Miami is a team that everyone in the East should fear. Last year the Heat looked like a mediocre team with a limited offense. They had to win in the Play-In Tournament just to make the playoffs. But, then they showed their true ceiling. Miami would go on to upset the one-seeded Milwaukee Bucks and advance all the way to the NBA Finals. Their best player and leader, Jimmy Butler, seems to have moved to a stage in his career where he takes it easier in the regular season before shifting to another gear in the playoffs.

Last year Butler only averaged 22.9 points a game in the regular season. He then elevated that number to 26.9 in the postseason. Jimmy’s playoff gear along with having one of the best coaches in the NBA Erik Spoelstra makes their playoff seeding very misleading and creating problematic first round matchups.

Last summer, the Cavaliers brought Max Strus to the Land from Miami via sign-and-trade, bolstering their wing depth and building upon the culture and hustle the Heat instilled in Strus. If Cleveland hopes to overthrow the reigning conference champs, they will have to lean on their depth and defensive mentality to throw the Heat off their game. Otherwise, they could be facing another quick spring exit.