5 Flaws that could crush Cleveland Cavaliers' playoff hopes

The Cavaliers could make a second straight early playoff exit if they cannot find ways to address these shortcomings.

Cleveland Cavaliers, Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland
Cleveland Cavaliers, Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland / Jason Miller/GettyImages
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4. Pace

The Cavaliers were dominated on the glass by the Knicks last year, but Cleveland is middle of the pack in rebounding. New York is better and used that advantage in the series. The Cavs will struggle on the boards against larger teams. Matchups matter in the playoffs, and Cleveland’s slow pace could haunt them in other matchups.

The Cavs are 24th in the NBA in pace this season. The Heat, Magic, Knicks, and defending champion Nuggets rank below them, but the Pacers and Bucks are in the top ten. Cleveland lost to Indiana in their only two meetings so far. They split their four contests against the Bucks, but Milwaukee could be a different team in the playoffs.

Can the Cavaliers slow down the Pacers if they draw them in the first round? Tyrese Haliburton will be making plays all over the floor, which could lead to a shocking upset. If Indiana comes out of the Play-In Tournament and takes out the second-seeded Cavs in the first round, there will be heartbreak in Cleveland. It would force some significant changes.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have a ton of talent but will be a matchup-dependent team in the playoffs. They must play to their strengths and not allow the opposition to exploit their weaknesses like their slow pace or lack of size in the backcourt.