Looking Ahead to the Second Half

The city of Cleveland was still breathing a collective sigh of relief at this point last year, having hosted a blockbuster All-Star Weekend – with three Cavaliers reaching the midseason classic and the game itself decided by the franchise’s greatest player. 

The Wine & Gold were enjoying a rebirth, stunning the Association with a red-hot start and 35-23 – trailing the World Champion Bucks by less than a game in the East at the Break. But injuries knocked the Cavs off track down the stretch – going 9-15 the rest of the way and falling in back-to-back games to Brooklyn and Atlanta in the Play-In Tournament.  

The Cavaliers are determined to close the season strong this year, and now that the league’s wrapped up its annual midseason celebration in Salt Lake City, they head into the second half with a favorable schedule and a chance to host a Playoff game for the first time since 2018. 

With that in mind, here are some things that might shape the road ahead ...  


The Cavaliers won’t take anything lightly in the second half of the season, but they do have the East’s third-easiest slate the rest of the way. 

They have only two more back-to-backs the entire rest of the way – including Thursday against Denver and Friday in Atlanta and twofer against Charlotte on the road and Philly at home coming off a six-day roadie in mid-March. 

Cleveland faces the league’s bottom five teams (Charlotte, Detroit, Houston and San Antonio) and only two more Western Conference teams – Denver and Houston at home in late March. 

The Cavs have 11 more road games, but none in another time zone and eight as part of a two-game set – with two-games-in-four-days in Miami (March 8-10), Charlotte (12-14), Brooklyn, (21-23) and Orlando (April 4-6). 


The Cavaliers head into the second half pretty solidly in the 4th spot. 

They’re 2.5 games ahead of the Nets – who they fell to at home in late December and face twice over a four-day span in Brooklyn in late March – and 2.0 games behind the Sixers – who’ve they’ve split the season series against, winning by 28 at home and falling by six in Philly before the Break. 

The Sixers have the East’s toughest schedule in the second half, playing 25 games in the next 46 days, including a five-game trip and another five-games-in-seven-days stretch. The Nets play nine of their first 11 games of the second half on the road and 10 of their final 13 at home. 


It’ll be odd not seeing Kevin Love with the Wine & Gold when the second half tips off on Thursday night. 

During the break, the Cavaliers and Love reached a buyout agreement, ending the 15th-year man’s eight-and-a-half year run with the team. They won’t have long to wait to see him; Love inked a deal with Miami over All-Star Weekend and the Cavs head to South Beach in early March. 

Love – whose jersey number will one day hang in the rafters – played in 489 games with the Cavaliers, averaging 15.7 points and 9.2 rebounds over that stretch. He ranks 2nd in franchise history with 1,096 three-pointers made, 6th in total rebounds with 4,493, and 9th in total points with 7,663.

Last year, Love finished as the league’s runner-up in Sixth Man of the Year voting, averaging 13.6ppg and leading the team with 74 appearances, but after a slower start this year, fell completely out of J.B. Bickerstaff’s rotation in late January, stacking up 12 straight DNPs which precipitated the separation.  


The Cavaliers said goodbye to one old friend and hello to another around the Break – signing free agent veteran swingman Danny Green last week (and actually inserting him for limited action against his old squad in Philadelphia). 

If the Wine & Gold were seeking Playoff experience, they hit the motherlode. Only two other active players – LeBron James and Andre Iguodala – have played in more postseason contests than Green, whose 165 appearances are 13 more than the rest of the team’s young roster combined. 

Green is one of just four players to win titles with three different franchises – joining James, Robert Horry and John Salley – and comes back to Cleveland having averaged 8.7 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists per contest while connecting at a .399 clip from beyond the arc. 

The former Tar Heel – originally drafted by the Cavs with the 46th overall pick back in 2009 – has knocked down at least 100 triples in 11 of his 14 NBA seasons and his 1,466 three-pointers – including the one he drilled last Wednesday night in Philly – rank him 14th among active players. 


In any sport, one of the biggest keys to success is simple – good health. Injuries derailed the Cavaliers dream season one year ago. This season, they’d love to see how far they can go with a healthy roster. And they’re trending in that direction to start the second half. 

Last year, Ricky Rubio was sidelined in late December before being dealt at the Deadline, Jarrett Allen missed the final 18 games of the season, Dean Wade was sidelined for the final 15 and Evan Mobley missed five of the last seven.  

Rubio and Wade worked their way back into the rotation in January. Mobley and Allen have been iron men all year. A groin injury suffered in an MLK Day win slowed down Donovan Mitchell later in the month – but he went into the Break averaging 33.3 points per in the final four games and went off for 40 points with eight triples in the All-Star Game.   

The Cavs have gotten healthy heading into the home stretch. If they can stay that way, it could be an interesting run later this spring.