The Cleveland Cavaliers’ long, strange 2016-17 regular season will come to an end tomorrow night. This season has been a weird journey for the defending champs. I think we are all ready for the playoffs to start, and I really do mean all of us: the fans, the media, the players, the coaches. Everyone.
Who: Raptors (50-31) at Cavs (51-30)
When: Wednesday, 8:00 pm Eastern
Where: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio
Where to watch: Fox Sports Ohio
This is not a typical, meaningless regular season finale for the Cavs; it actually could have huge implications for seeding. If Boston loses to Milwaukee, and the Cavs win, the Cavs will claim the top seed in the East. If the Cavs lose (or if Boston wins), then they will be the second seed. The Raptors are locked in at three no matter what happens.
LeBron James will not play in this one, as he continues to rest and get ready for the postseason. However, word is that Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love might play, meaning the Cavs may actually still want a shot at catching the Celtics. With Toronto already set, they might rest their guys. So even without LeBron, this game could be very winnable. It must be noted, however, that the Cavs are 0-7 this season when LeBon does not play.
How much should the number one seed really matter to the Cavs? It would only come into play if they were to meet the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals. I don’t think the Cavs would really be all that scared of Boston, even without homecourt advantage. But, if the Raptors are going to punt on this game, the Cavs might as well see if they can get lucky (i.e. get some help from the Bucks).
These two teams, of course, met last season in the Eastern Conference Finals. This year, if the Cavs finish second, they would likely end up meeting in the second round of the playoffs. So far this season, the Cavs are 3-0 against the Raptors, but all three wins have come by four points or less. And they were all early in the season (the most recent meeting was on December 5th), before the Raptors acquired Serge Ibaka and PJ Tucker.
So that’s the setup for this game.
The Bucks/Celtics game, by the way, will start at the same time in Boston.