Cleveland Cavaliers Must-See 2017-18 Games
The NBA released its full regular-season schedule this week, and believe it or not the 2017-18 campaign begins in only two months. Here we look at some must-see games for the three-time defending Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers. They are +300 favorites according to the NBA future betting lines listed at MyBookie, second to the current champion, the Golden State Warriors, to win it all next season.
A Closer Look at the Cleveland Cavaliers Must-See 2017-18 Games
Oct. 17 vs. Boston Celtics
The Cavs have a wins total of 52.5 for next season, but that’s only second-best in the East to the Celtics, who have a total of 54.5. Of course Boston was the East’s No. 1 seed last season after Cleveland struggled down the stretch. The Cleveland Cavaliers basically conceded the East’s top seed to the Celtics at the end of the regular season by opting to rest their starters in advance of the playoffs.
It didn’t matter in the playoffs as the Cavs ousted the Celtics in five games. In that fifth game, the Cavs set an NBA record by winning their 13th consecutive series closeout opportunity. Boston was without leading scorer and All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas for the final three games of the series after he injured his hip. The Celtics look much better on paper this season with the addition of free-agent Utah Jazz All-Star Gordon Hayward. Plus they added good-looking rookie Jayson Tatum at No. 3 overall in this year’s draft.
The Cavaliers have struggled on opening night lately – going 1-2 over the past three seasons. The franchise has traditionally gotten out of the gate slowly in compiling a 14-33 record in openers dating back to the inaugural 1970-71 season.
Oct. 29 vs. New York Knicks
Could the Cleveland Cavaliers trade All-Star guard Kyrie Irving to the Knicks and Irving plays against the Cavs here? Cleveland is determined to get an elite young player for Irving and they are asking New York for Kristaps Porzingis. However, that’s a conversation that can occur only with Cleveland’s willingness to unburden the Knicks of the three years and $55 million left on Joakim Noah’s contract. For now, the conversation is a nonstarter for the Knicks.
New York would be happy to trade Carmelo Anthony for Irving, but Melo has a no-trade clause that he reportedly will only waive for Houston. Teams believe that the Cavaliers expect more aggressive conversations in September, closer to the start of training camps.
Dec. 25 at Golden State Warriors
These two have met in the past three NBA Finals and are favored to make it a fourth. It’s also the third time these two have met on Christmas. Last year, the Cavs beat the Warriors 109-108 on a game-winning shot from Irving. Two Christmases ago, the foes locked up in a defensive struggle at Oracle Arena won by the Warriors. Golden State visits Cleveland on January 15.
This should be a shootout. We know how good the Warriors are on offense. The Cleveland Cavaliers averaged 110.3 points per game in 2016-17, which ranked 1st in the East and 4th in the NBA. It was also the second-highest scoring average in franchise history, behind only the 1979-80 season (114.1). Cleveland had never led the Eastern Conference in scoring prior to this past season.
Feb. 13 at Oklahoma City Thunder
LeBron against reigning NBA MVP Russell Westbrook and his new sidekick Paul George. In the 2016-17 campaign, James became the first player in NBA history to average at least 26.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 8.0 assists while shooting .540 or better from the field in a single season. James set career highs in RPG (8.6), APG (8.7), double-doubles (42) and triple-doubles (13). Yet James wasn’t even in the MVP conversation.
He and George had a great duel in the playoffs, although the Cavs swept George’s former Pacers team. James averaged a team-high 32.8 points (2nd among all 2017 Playoff players) in the 2017 postseason on .565 shooting from the field (career-high .411 3FG%), 9.1 rebounds, 7.8 assists, 1.94 steals and 1.28 blocks in 41.3 minutes per game. He became the first player to play in seven straight NBA Finals since the 1960s Celtics, while also passing Michael Jordan (5,987 PTS) as the NBA’s all-time playoff leader in scoring with 6,163 points.
March 11 at LA Lakers
OK, the Lakers might stink again but they will at least be interesting with Lonzo Ball, and the next time LeBron plays at Staples Center after this game, it could be as a member of the Lakers next season. Lakers fans will surely pull out all the stops to show their love for James to try to recruit him for the summer of 2018.
This is also interesting because the Lakers were Cleveland’s top competition to sign free agent Derrick Rose, who would have served as a veteran mentor to Ball.
This year, the Cleveland Cavaliers make a pair of trips out West – a short one beginning on Christmas Day in Oakland and an extended six-game junket in early March. In most previous years, the big trip west of the Mississippi began and ended in early January.
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