It’s down to one game. Well, technically three but one will dictate if the others mean anything. The Cavs enter their final two games of the season .5 games back of the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls have one game left against the New Jersey Nets on Wednesday. If they win, they will be the second-seed in the playoffs. If they lose, and the Cavs win their last two games, then Cleveland gets the two slot. As discussed in great length before, the second-seed has a much clearer and easier path in the playoffs. No Miami and no Detroit, at least until the Conference Finals. Call me crazy but I’ll take me chances against New Jersey, Washington or Toronto over Miami and Detroit.
The Cavs play at Philadelphia tonight and home against Milwaukee tomorrow. The Cavs can end the anticipation by losing to the ‘Sixers. That would wrap up the fifth-seed. I don’t see that happening. The way things have been going — for example, a 85 point win over Atlanta on Saturday — the only way Cleveland will have a problem with Phily is if Allen Iverson makes a miraculous return. Phily is without their top two scores in Kyle Korver and Andre Iguodala. Anytime a team is without their two leading scores it can’t be good for them. Anytime a team’s two leading scores are Kyle Korver and Andre Iguodala, it’s never good.
Even if they were playing, would you be scared?
If the Cavs can’t beat a team like that, then they don’t deserve the No. 2 seed. I think they’ll handle the ‘Sixers easily and still be able to give LeBron and Z and Hughes plenty of rest. I’d play Sasha most of the game and make him the first option on offense if the Cavs have the game locked up. He is going to be key in the playoff and getting him to have one more big game, something like a 20-point, 7 rebound, three steals game would be nice to give him confidence heading in to the postseason.
The ‘Sixers, like the Hawks from Saturday and Bucks on Wednesday, have nothing to play for. Guys just won’t play as hard as they normally would because they just want to go home and end the season. The Cavs still do but they can’t take either team lightly. If they can jump out to an early lead, it will crush whatever spirit the ‘Sixers might have had and then the Cavs can cruise the rest of the way.
The Bulls play a team in New Jersey who will still be playing for playoff seeding. Right now they are in the seventh spot but could move up to the sixth. By doing that they would play Toronto in Round 1 instead of the Bulls. That’s a big move. That’s why there still a small glimmer of hope the Cavs can get to No. 2. I’ll have a full playoff preview on Thursday or Friday and the chances the Cavs have on making a run deep into the postseason.
Indians in New York tonight. Starting for the Yankees, Chase Wright. Who, you ask. Exactly. Wright makes his major-league debut thanks to the Yankees having three starting pitchers, and six overall, on the DL. I guess money can buy pitchers but not necessarily healthy pitchers.
If the Tribe can’t improve their offense tonight and break out of the 3-for-36 with runners in scoring position they hit in the White Sox series, something is seriously up. I expect an 8 run outing tonight for the Tribe. Also, Travis Hafner has to start breaking out of his slow start (batting only .212, 1 HR and 5 RBI) and what better time than against a rookie pitching making his first start ever and in Yankee Stadium. Hafner is batting just .196 with no home runs in his career at Yankee Stadium. Plus, you doesn’t just hate the Yankees.