The NBA schedule for 2016-17 was released on Wednesday, and many were quick to break down the important match-ups - opening night, the Christmas Day games, and when teams that signed marquee free agents face (the sometimes decrepit shell of) their former teams. It’s a fun exercise to analyze when the big games will be, and where the potential tough stretches in a team’s schedule are. After all, every team has them, even elite teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers. Finding the hard parts of the schedule helps you prepare for when your team could struggle.
However, we have to remember that these are the Cavs, and we have to frame things a bit differently. Some of us over the past few years have made a habit of overreacting to every single loss like it’s Game 7 of the Finals. It’s gone on for at least three years, since the #SeasonofHuh, but every time the Cavs take a loss, even on a back-to-back or when LeBron James is resting, Cavs Twitter collectively loses it.
*logs onto Twitter*— Ben Cox (@WFNYBen) March 28, 2016
hey #cavstwitter what's cracking- ah. uh huh. hmm
These tweets basically have summed up the "Cavs fans after a loss" ethos, and it's not helped by the fact that this team sometimes considers regular season games "optional." The Cavs coasted for 82 games last year, and won 50+, and the title. This year? The effort will be low, the takes will be hot, and the losses will be hilarious and still will not matter. However, that's not going to stop us from looking at the schedule and giving you a heads up as to exactly *when* you might plan to avoid Twitter in the postgame. You'll thank us later, when people are using the trade machine to unload Tristan Thompson for Rudy Gay after a loss on a back-to-back in February. Again.
Nov. 13- vs. Charlotte Hornets
Why: An unassuming Sunday matinee early in the season. It's not on TV, and it's against a Charlotte team that should be good, eager, hungry, and healthy. The Cavs will be shaking off the cobwebs still, and they're good for at least one early-season pantsing by a good East opponent. This could be that game.
#CavsTwitter Talking Point: "There's no way we are fit for another Finals run, the East got way better."
Nov. 27 - at the Philadelphia 76ers
Why? The Sixers might actually show slight improvement this year! Slight! And the Cavs are one team that actually might have a problem with the Sixers' all bigs lineup with just Tristan and Channing Frye at center. However, more importantly, this game starts at 1 p.m. Eastern. Living in the Pacific time zone, I might not even be awake when this game starts. More importantly, J.R. Smith definitely will not be awake when this game starts.
#CavsTwitter Talking Point: "HOW DID WE LOSE TO THE FREAKING SIXERS?????"
Dec. 14 - at the Memphis Grizzlies
Why: For some forsaken reason, the Cavs have to play Memphis twice in a row, on a back-to-back, with the second game IN MEMPHIS. If the Grizzlies make it to December with all of their starters' limbs attached, this will be a very challenging game that people will complain about losing, because "Why oh why did just leaving Tony Allen open not work?"
#CavsTwitter Talking Point: "This team lacks heart if they can't beat Grit-n-Grind twice in two days."
The Warriors Games
Why: DID YOU KNOW: The Cavs are 1-3 in regular season games against the Warriors since LeBron came back, which is the exact same number of losses they suffered in the 2016 NBA Finals, when the Warriors blew a 3-1 lead to lose to the Cavs. These games ABSOLUTELY DO NOT MATTER when it comes to beating the Warriors in June, can we please ignore them and not lose it when they drop both to a team trying to beat its own record for regular season schadenfreude.
#CavsTwitter Talking Point: "OMG WE'RE LOSING THE FINALS."
December 26th - at the Detroit Pistons
Why?: Back-to-back the day after Christmas in Detroit. Reggie Jackson will go for 40 or something and the Cavs will be on a two-game losing streak. This will of course mean that Tyronn Lue is losing the locker room, and someone will float a rumor that they threw this game in protest so that Damon Jones can get the head job. Traditions!
#CavsTwitter Talking Point: "Kyrie got torched, we need to trade him for a real defensive threat, like Rajon Rondo."
Jan. 13 - at the Sacramento Kings
Why?: It's the fifth game in a six-game West road swing that is sandwiched between an ESPN game against Portland and the second Warriors game. They are absolutely going to let DeMarcus Cousins drop a 20/20 in the dead of January on a Friday night at 10:30 p.m. on the east coast.
#CavsTwitter Talking Point: "We need like 18 centers at the trade deadline, I hear Greg Stiemsma is available"
Feb. 14 - at the Minnesota Timberwolves
Why?: Because I get to think nice things about the Timberwolves, which Bill Bohl hates, and I actually think the Wolves will be close to fully functional at this point. Also, WIGGINS-FOR-LOVE TAKES, ALIVE AND THRIVING.
#CavsTwitter Talking Point: "See THIS is why you don't trade Wiggins, who was ALWAYS this good, for Kevin Love."
March 6 - at the Miami Heat
Why?: March 3: at Atlanta. March 4: at Miami. The Monday after: Guaranteed hung over loss
#CavsTwitter Talking Point: "J.R. Smith looks like garbage, why did we give him [fraction of a gorillion dollars]?"
March 22 - at the Denver Nuggets
Why?: The average age of this roster is 30.4 years old. They are not about to go chasing a bunch of young guns around in altitude when they probably have a playoff spot locked up.
#CavsTwitter Talking Point: "We can't even hang with the West's eighth seed. How are we supposed to beat [I dunno, the Knicks or something] in a No. 1 vs. No. 8 matchup?"
April 5 - at the Boston Celtics
Why?: Because giving Celtics fans more material to go in with is gonna make that Eastern Conference Semifinals sweep even more delicious. Deal with the over-reactions from both fan bases here, and savor the sweet victory-that-actually-matters later.
#CavsTwitter Talking Point: "That Jae Crowder dude is awesome, we should trade Kevin Love for him"
Correction, 8/12: An earlier version of this post indicated that the Cavs are 0-4 against the Warriors in the regular season since LeBron returned. They are actually 1-3 against Golden State.