The Cleveland Cavaliers have a chance tonight against a Zach LaVine-less Chicago Bulls team to get into the thick of the Eastern Conference play-in tournament. The Cavs enter this game two games back of the Bulls in the standings. A win gets them a game back of the 10th spot with another matchup coming next Wednesday. The odds don’t favor the Cavs making the tournament, but a win tonight is a step towards having a real shot.
Now, is this full-on playoff hype? No. This is the Diet Coke version of a playoff race in that a play-in tournament isn’t quite the same thing. If the Cavs do make it, they’ll have to win twice against the No. 7 seed to actually get in the playoffs.
And look: All things considered, this is maybe the most high-stakes game the Cavs have played since 2018. Again, it’s not everything. But it’s something.