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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The Philadelphia 76ers would be a tough match for the Cavaliers

The Philadelphia 76ers are currently the seventh seed with a record of 45-35, but they have won six games in a row since Joel Embiid's return and could end the season with a higher seed. This is another opponent the Cavaliers have a decent likelihood of playing in the first round.

The 76ers are definitely not a team the Cavaliers would want to see early in the playoffs. The 76ers were a high seed before losing Joel Embiid to a torn meniscus in his left knee. However, Joel Embiid is back just in time for the playoffs and has already had some good performances early in his return.

Playing the 2023 NBA MVP in the first round is something the Cavaliers would like to avoid. With so many injuries this season, the Cavs would not cheer for a star-studded roster such as Philly. On top of that, the likely Most Improved Player Tyrese Maxey is having a fantastic season averaging 25.9 points and 6.3 assists per game. Embiid and Maxey could give the Cavaliers some serious problems on the defensive end.

The Sixers are not an impossible opponent for the Cavaliers, but they pose a legitimate threat to cut Cleveland's run short. Embiid is looking better than ever at the tail end of a historic season hampered by injuries. Cleveland will be pushed to their limits by Philly, likely pushing the series to six or seven games if the Cavaliers pull through. This would leave the Cavs burnt out by the time they reach the next round as they likely face a true contender in the East.

Overall, the Cleveland Cavaliers enter this postseason with more hope and ability win than the last. Everything will be proven on the hardwood. Any team can be a theoretical good or bad matchup, but the Cavs will control their own destiny. With an MVP-caliber star in Donovan Mitchell leading the way, Cleveland has all the tools to make a deep run if they can consistent match their opponent's intensity.

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