Have you seen the playoff schedule for the Eastern Conference semifinal series between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics starting Saturday at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland?
Take a look.
Game 1: Saturday at Cleveland, TBD (TNT)
Game 2: Monday at Cleveland, TBD (TNT)
Game 3: Friday, May 7 at Boston, TBD (ESPN)
Game 4: Sunday, May 9 at Boston, 3:30 p.m. (ABC)
*Game 5: Tuesday, May, 11 at Cleveland (TNT)
*Game 6: Thursday, May 13 at Boston, TBD (ESPN)
*Game 7: Sunday, May 16 at Cleveland, 3:30 p.m. (ABC).
Now I know many folks, including my guy, Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, have complained about the playoff schedule in terms of too much time between games. I’d love to spend this entire blog post doing the same, but the sun is out here in Erie, Pa., so I’m going to look at this differently.
When I look at that Cavs-Celtics schedule, three things come to mind.
1. Cleveland can’t afford to split those first two games. The obvious reason is it would lose home court advantage but it goes deeper than that. There are three days between Game 2 on Monday in Cleveland and Game 3 on Friday, May 7 in Boston. The Celtics have the older team overall and having that amount of time off is going to benefit them anyway, but if they return home with the series 1-1, they’ll be even more juiced to get Game 3 and 4.
2. Game 3 through 6 have just one day between each game. Games are on Friday, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. This favors the better and younger Cavaliers because the Celtics, as I said earlier, are older. Also the team that gets in the better rhythm during this stretch will have the upper hand. Coaches won’t have a lot of time to make adjustments so how teams handle that day off is going to be huge. Take the day off? Practice? Practice light?
3. LeBron James has this mysterious right elbow injury. The Cavaliers have time right now to figure it out. If they do, the schedule won’t matter in regards to him, but let’s say they don’t figure it out and he hurts it say Game 3 in Boston. With games 3 through 6 so close together, that would impact the series. This is going to be physical series, much more so than Chicago was for the Cavaliers. So James is going to get hit on that bow.