Looking ahead - Cavaliers looking good for a March pull-away

Schadenfreude - "pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others"

Final score from Saturday - New Jersey Nets 104, Boston Celtics 96.  There....you just experienced schadenfreude.  Wasn't that lovely? 

OK, on to other topics of interest.  The Cleveland Cavaliers may have weathered the storm recently by breaking off a three-game win streak, and they may have done so at an opportune moment.  The nightmares of last week are now behind us and we're ready to begin March with an invigorated spirit.

Currently, the race for the top seed in the Eastern Conference looks like this;

Team Win Loss Pct GB
Cleveland 46 14 .767 --
Orlando 39 20 .661 6.5
Atlanta 36 21 .632 8.5
Boston 36 21 .632 8.5

 

A nice little run right now could put enough distance between us and the rest of the Conference, making April a formality for the east race.  So who do we have in March?  That's the fun part....

Here's the Cavaliers schedule for the next three weeks;

Date Opponent W/L Pct
March 1 New York 20-37 .351
March 3 @New Jersey 6-52 .103
March 5 Detroit 21-37 .362
March 6 @Milwaukee 30-28 .517
March 8 San Antonio 32-24 .571
March 12 @Philadelphia 22-36 .379
March 14 Boston 36-21 .632
March 16 @Detroit 21-37 .362
March 17 Indiana 19-39 .328
March 19 @Chicago 31-27 .534
March 21 Detroit 21-37 .362

That, my fellow Cavalier fans, is a good schedule for us. 

The AVERAGE record of those 11 opponents is 24-34.  That's the same record as the current Los Angeles Clippers.  Wouldn't you like to play the Clippers 11 times in a row in March?

Seven of the 11 opponents are out of the playoff picture.  Three others are holding down the 6th-8th positions (each only 2.5 games or less from being a lottery team).  The 11th opponent is Boston (see - "schadenfreude").

Monday night, we're at home to face the KnicksLeBron James' scoring average would sink by five points if he does sign with NY like every troll tells us he will.  Not being able to play against the Knickerbockers would be that devastating to his average.  The Cavaliers have wonthe last 7 meetings between the two teams.

Wednesday night, it's at New Jersey.  Careful, guys.  Seriously.  The Nets have played us tough thrice this year as we won by 10, 8, and 7 points.  However, I don't think we'll overlook the Nets this week, as we were all shown how embarrassing it was for Boston to lose to them. 

Friday night, the Q will be rocking when the Pistons come to town for Snuggie Night.  This used to be our biggest rival, but now they've become our doormat.  8 wins in a row have severely diminished the bad blood.

Saturday night, a trip to Milwaukee is dangerous for us.  We've won the last 6 meetings against the Bucks, but they have surged lately with John Salmons on the team.  They've won all five games since he was acquired in a trade.

Next Monday, we return home for a showdown with San Antonio.  The Spurs are not dominating this year like they have throughout this century, but they're still a damn good team and I would expect them to pull off an upset in the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs, against whoever is unlucky enough to draw them.  One upside to this game - it's the third game in four nights for the Spurs, which includes a tough game at Memphis.

After three full days of rest, we travel to Philadelphia, who appear to be a mess.  They are just 10-17 in the comforts of home, and are fading away from any semblance of playoff hope they had when they re-acquired Allen Iverson.  They're a full 6.5 games away from the 8-seed.

We return home on the 14th to face the Celtics.  It's going to be ABC's 330pm game, but if we really did ruin Boston like I think we did the other night, ABC might just opt to show Amish rake-fighting instead.

March 16th, it's back to playing the Pistons again, this time in Detroit.  We'll see if Detroit is just going through the motions by then, and we'll also see just how many seats are either empty or filled with people wearing LeBron jerseys.

The following night, St. Patrick's Day, the Indiana Pacers visit the Q.  The Pacers have dropped 14 of their last 19 games overall, and the Cavaliers have gone 12-1 against Indiana in their last 13 meetings.

On March 19th, it's off to Chicago, where we might find a little danger.  The Cavs just seem to struggle a little in the United Center, and the Bulls are looking for some revenge after they felt like we showed them up in the Q last month.  Chicago has won 8 of their last 10 games overall and are looking to climb up to the fifth spot and potentially face the Celtics in the first round of the playoffs.  Oh, they want 'em.  Bad.

Then we close out the 3-week span at home against Detroit.  Those guys are going to get tired of us.

Now is the time to pull away from the pack in the East.  Starting Monday night at The Q, it's time to secure our rightful place. 

Personally, I'm calling it for us at 9-2, but anything 8-3 or better will lock it down for the Cavaliers.  If we go 8-3 or better over that span, it will be nearly impossible for Orlando, Boston or Atlanta to gain any significant ground on us.

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