Thomas Ondrey l The Plain Dealer

Though being labeled as a heavy favorite, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ road to the promised land will not be a walk in the park. Superstars have realigned their locations and perennial contenders retooled to further boost their already powerhouse lineups. These teams are poised to give Cleveland a good workout which will only serve the team well in the long run. The Cavaliers’ weakness will be exposed by these games but these will also be golden opportunities for the team to improve. On that note, Cavs Nation has handpicked the Wine and Gold’s ten toughest contests in the regular season.

10. Cleveland @ Chicago, October 27, 2015

The Cavs open the season against Eastern Conference rival Chicago, and will be without Kyrie Irving. All teams should be in good health in the beginning of the season, and for the injury-plagued Bulls this should be an advantage. New head coach Fred Hoiberg will get an early opportunity to show his stuff against LeBron James and the Cavs, so it will be a very competitive contest.

Click “Next” to see the Cavs’ ninth toughest game of the season!

Andy Cross l Getty Images

9. Cleveland @ Denver, December 29, 2015

The last game of the holiday road trip is in Denver; 4th in five nights. While the Nuggets aren’t projected as a playoff team, the altitude and the travel present enough of a challenge to make this one a tough win. Expect Coach Blatt to sit some key players during this stretch, and maybe play Denver with mostly bench players.

Click “Next” to see the Cavs’ eighth toughest game of the season!

Dennis Wierzbicki l USA TODAY Sports

8. Cleveland @ Chicago, April 9, 2016

With three games left in the season, the Bulls and Cavs meet in Chicago in a game that would likely have playoff seeding implications. While some teams may be monitoring minutes, these two may be in a situation where this game is a must-win in order to secure their seeds in the top half of the east. Throw in the fact that they really don’t like each other and this one is set up to be a good one.

Click “Next” to see the Cavs’ seventh toughest game of the season!

Steve Mitchell l USA TODAY Sports

7. Cleveland @ Miami, March 19, 2016

The Cavs play new-look Miami on the second night of back-to-back games, and also their third game in four nights. Miami is trying to cement itself in the top tier of the Eastern Conference and is a legitimate contender to meet the Cavs in the East Finals. LeBron James coming back to Miami will always be exciting, but the game itself should be more competitive than last year.

Click “Next” to see the Cavs’ sixth toughest game of the season!

Brandon Dill l Associated Press

6. Cleveland @ Memphis, October 28, 2015

The Cavs travel from Chicago to Memphis in two nights to start the season. Both are very physical playoff teams playing in their home openers so Cleveland will have their hands full in a hostile environment. Our front line will be tested against Memphis but hopefully the game can be played up tempo to increase the Cavs’ chances.

Click “Next” to see the Cavs’ fifth toughest game of the season!

Troy Taormina l USA TODAY Sports

5. Cleveland @ Houston January 15, 2016

James Harden proved himself last year as an elite scorer, and in one game he did so against LeBron James. Their budding rivalry will be renewed in January in the 6th consecutive road game for Cleveland. The scoring should be in the hundreds and it will be a very uptempo contest with Kyrie Irving and LeBron James attacking James Harden and Ty Lawson.

Click “Next” to see the Cavs’ fourth toughest game of the season!


4. Los Angeles @ Cleveland, January 21, 2016

The Clippers come to town in January on the second night of a back-to-back for the Cavs. After playing in Brooklyn the night before, the Cavs will have to prepare for Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and LeBron James’ old friend Paul Pierce.

Click “Next” to see the Cavs’ third toughest game of the season!

Getty Images

3. Cleveland @ Oklahoma City, February 21, 2016

Any game in Oklahoma City is a test. The crowd is raucous, the building is loud, and Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are in constant attack mode. New coach Billy Donovan should have the team firing on all cylinders near the midway point of the season, so this one should be a fun one to watch.

Click “Next” to see the Cavs’ second toughest game of the season!

Kyle Terada l USA TODAY Sports

2. Cleveland @ Golden State, December 25, 2015

Christmas Day games have become some of the most intense games of the year, and this year the NBA has set up a Finals rematch. The Cavs visit Golden State in the first of four road games in five nights between Christmas and New Year. Aside from the travel and the holiday, the Warriors are still very good. Hopefully, Kyrie Irving is back and healthy for the 1st of four games in five nights.

Click “Next” to see the Cavs’ toughest game of the season!

Soobum Im l USA TODAY Sports

1. Cleveland @ San Antonio January 14, 2016

Another difficult road test comes in January when the Cavs visit the Spurs. The team plays six consecutive road games, with San Antonio being the fifth. The Spurs are always a tough win, even if you have rest and home court advantage. For this 5th straight road game, the Cavs will have neither.