For the past few years, the final days of the season for the Cleveland Cavaliers have either been a hopeless attempt to chase down the eighth seed, or an opportunity to improve their lottery odds (or both). Not this year. The Cavs haven't played a playoff game in 1,779 days, but they will soon. Just as soon as they make it through these final nine games.
Tonight, it will actually be the other team that is desperately trying to chase down the eighth seed.
Who: Cavs (47-26) at Brooklyn Nets (30-40)
When: 7:30 pm in the East
Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York
TV: Fox Sports Ohio
Enemy Blog: NetsDaily
The Nets are currently in a battle with the Pacers, Celtics, and Hornets for the final playoff spot in the East. It seems likely that only one of those four teams can get it (the Heat are currently seventh, two games up on eighth). So this game is big for them.
The Cavs, on the other hand, don't have a ton left to play for. They certainly haven't clinched the second seed, but they have it pretty much under control. Brooklyn is mostly healthy (except for Thaddeus Young, who is out), and they've won five of their last seven games. It wouldn't be totally shocking if they won tonight.
Then again, the Cavs are playing great basketball right now. Wednesday night's win in Memphis was all kinds of impressive. Their ball movement was great, and the big three were basically unstoppable. If those guys all come to play tonight, they should be able to handle the Nets.
Oh, and remember the last time LeBron was in Brooklyn? One of my favorite Vines ever:
After tonight's game, the Cavs will be back home to host the 76ers on Sunday afternoon.