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Cavs: 5 must-watch games on Cleveland’s 2022-23 NBA schedule

NBA, 2022 NBA season, Cleveland Cavaliers, Darius Garland

There are many reasons to be optimistic about the Cleveland Cavaliers for the 2022-23 season.

After all, they enjoyed their first winning season since LeBron James departed to join the Los Angeles Lakers following the 2017–18 campaign. In 2021-22, they ended with a 44-38 record.

Even though the Cavs were defeated by the Brooklyn Nets and Atlanta Hawks in the 2022 play-in tournament, they made a lot of improvement.

With the nucleus of Darius Garland, Evan Mobley, Jarrett Allen, Caris LeVert, and Lauri Markkanen all returning to play, that growth may yet continue in 2022–23. That’s true even if they may be in what appears to be a tough Eastern Conference.

Here is a look at the Cavs’ 2022-23 regular season schedule, which will hopefully bring them to the postseason.

Must-Watch Games on the Cavs’ Schedule

at Raptors, Oct. 19

On October 19, the Cavs will play their road season opener against the Toronto Raptors. Cleveland will actually begin the current campaign on the road for the second straight year.

Given that both teams anticipate competing for an Eastern Conference playoff spot, it will be an early test for each team. In addition, Scottie Barnes and Evan Mobley, the top two finishers in the 2022 NBA Rookie of the Year race, will face off against one other.

The Raptors are one of four teams, along with the Celtics, Heat, and Jazz, that have finished in the top 10 defensively in four of the previous five seasons, making this a difficult challenge for the Cavs.

Despite that, the Cavs are expected to come in with an intact roster (assuming Collin Sexton is still around), and when they’re complete, they’re among the most dangerous teams in the East.

at Bulls, Oct. 22

Following the season opener, the Cavs will play the Bulls at the United Center on October 22 as part of a two-game road trip to start the year.

The Cavs will probably need to leapfrog past one of the top six seeds in the Eastern Conference if they want to move up from a play-in team to a true playoff squad.

Given that the Bulls were the No. 6 seed in 2021-2022, it makes sense for the Cavs to target them this year. After losing to the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the playoffs, the Bulls signed Andre Drummond and Goran Dragic as role players, but they didn’t make any significant upgrades this offseason.

Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, and Nikola Vucevic will continue to be the center of attention for Chicago. Meanwhile, Alex Caruso and Lonzo Ball will serve as crucial cogs in the backcourt. Ayo Dosunmu and Patrick Williams, two young players, might help as well.

Cleveland’s ability to compete with its Central Division foe is likely to be crucial in its quest to make a quantum leap this coming season. More importantly, the head-to-head games may decide tiebreakers and seeding. That will be even more important as the Cavs try to avoid the East’s top teams and likely title contenders.

vs. Hawks, Nov. 21

The Cavs likely will have to hold off the other teams who were in its situation a season ago. That’s in addition to passing at least one playoff club to escape the play-in tournament.

The Hawks are one of those teams. They actually defeated the Cavs in the play-in tournament last year. Afterward, they fell to the Miami Heat in the opening round.

When they made it to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2021 with Trae Young as their main cog, the Hawks appeared poised for long-term competitiveness. They, however, fell off the pace the last season.

It will be a new-look Hawks squad this coming season, too, after they acquired Dejounte Murray. He earned an All-Star spot after averaging a career-high 21.1 points per game. That’s also on top of 9.2 assists, 8.3 rebounds, and a league-best 2.0 steals per outing. His presence in the backcourt with Young will make it more challenging for opponents. That’s because they won’t be able to concentrate only on one or the other.

An intriguing backcourt duel between Murray and Young on one side and Garland and LeVert on the other will be featured in this Cavs vs. Hawks matchup.

vs. Lakers, Dec. 6

On December 6 at 7:30 p.m., LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers will be at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. It will be one of the Cavs numerous nationally-televised games this season. That is significant after they have been noticeably absent from the national spotlight in recent years.

The main attraction, of course, is LeBron. The King’s return to his home state creates a lot of buzz and excitement each time it happens. The Lakers’ own turbulence and instability might also be on full display. As such, the Cavs have a strong chance of getting one over their former superstar leader.

It will certainly be very interesting to see if Jarrett Allen can hold down Anthony Davis. For their part, the Lakers will try to slow Darius Garland down. Heck, it will also be interesting to check out who actually leads the Lakers’ backcourt. Will Russell Westbrook still be in purple & gold when the Lakers travel to Cleveland, or will it be someone else matching up against Garland?

at Heat, Mar. 10

By March 2023, most marquee teams will likely battle for playoff positioning. Again, the Cavs want to avoid getting knocked out of the play-in. Consequently, that means they want to earn an outright playoff berth.

Beating a Miami Heat squad in mid-March will help them do that. And to do it on the road will also be a confidence-boosting element if they succeed.

That will be much easier said than done, though. Miami is among the league’s top defensive teams. They also still have a potent big three featuring Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, and Kyle Lowry.

On the other hand, if the Cavs manage to upset the Heat at this point in the season, it would do wonders for their playoff positioning and for their stock as a team on the rise.

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