Scouting the Second Half
Some Things to Watch for in the Season's Second Stanza
The Cavaliers officially close out the 2020-21 season’s first half next Wednesday when they welcome the Pacers to town. Following that contest, the Wine & Gold don’t play at home again until St. Patrick’s Day against … appropriately … the Boston Celtics.
On Wednesday afternoon, the NBA announced the second half of the truncated slate, with the Cavaliers returning to action with three straight on the road and wrapping up with two away from home – with the season finale set for May 16 in Brooklyn.
As the Cavaliers close out the first half – traveling to Philadelphia and Houston before returning to face Indy next week – here’s a few tips to look for when J.B. Bickerstaff’s squad return to action for a date with Zion Williamson and the Pelicans on March 12 in New Orleans …
One Step Beyond -- The All-Star Break will give the young Cavaliers a chance to get healthy – especially at the power forward position. With even a relatively healthy roster, the Cavaliers were able to compete early in the first half. If they can get hot when squads return in mid-March, there are some dates to consider.
The first official Play-In Tournament is slated for May 18 through 21, with the Playoffs officially tipping off on May 22 (through July 22).
The Cavs have some work to do. As of this writing, Cleveland sits 3.5 games out of the 10th spot in the East – currently occupied by the Knicks (15-17). As of this writing on February 25, the East’s 7th through 10th seeds are: Charlotte (15-16), Miami (15-17), Boston (15-17) and New York.
Forward March -- The Cavaliers have an odd schedule in March – with a four-game homestand surrounded by roadies.
Cleveland begins the second half with a three-game trip that sends them to the Big Easy, Atlanta and South Beach before returning for home matchups against the Celtics, Spurs, Raptors and Kings.
The Wine & Gold close out the month with their second West Coast roadie of the season – beginning with their first meeting of the season against the Bulls in Chicago. From there, it’s a back-to-back against the Lakers and Kings, followed by a visit to Salt Lake City to wrap up the month against the heavyweight Jazz.
The Cavs didn’t face the Kings at all last season and missed them again in the first half this year.
Road Warriors -- In April, the Cavaliers have a pair of three-game trips – traveling to Miami, San Antonio and OKC early in the month and to Charlotte, Washington and Chicago near the end.
After Cleveland wraps up their second roadie of April, they’ll have an extremely heavy schedule at home as the second half closes. From an April 28 matchup with the Magic to a May 12 meeting with the Celtics, the Cavaliers will play eight of nine at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse before wrapping up with Washington and Brooklyn on the road.
First Look, Second Half -- Cleveland will get a look at some teams and marquee players it didn’t face at all in the first half.
The Cavaliers will face Luka Doncic and the Mavs in a road-home set on May 7 and 9, face the Kings twice in the same week in late March and take on the Wizards three times from April 25 through the end of the season.
The Wine & Gold make up the Spurs home contest on March 9 and travel to San Antonio on April 5, host the Raptors twice before traveling to Canada - er, Tampa Bay - in late April and face Zion Williamson and the Pelicans in the first game after the break in the Big Easy before welcoming them to Cleveland on April 11.
The Cavs squeeze in all three meetings with Chicago (3/24, 4/17, 4/21) in the second half along with three battles against the Eastern Conference Champion Miami Heat – the first two on South Beach before hosting Jimmy Butler and Co. on May 1 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.