As the Cleveland Cavaliers begin their quest to defend the NBA Championship, the next part of their schedule has them up against a couple of teams that could be potential playoffs opponents from the Eastern Conference, as confirmed by ESPN. Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, and Kevin Love also will be facing one of the best teams in the Western Conference next.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Houston Rockets
A shootout between James Harden and LeBron James is something that network executives would love to see this week. While Harden has been moved to the point guard position by Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni, there should still be plenty of possessions where James is guarding him. Kevin Love should be featured a bit more offensively because he is going up against Ryan Anderson.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Boston Celtics
Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge has made it his goal to build a team that can overcome the Cleveland Cavaliers. That is a big reason why they are paying Al Horford approximately $26.5 million this season. He should have his hands full with Kevin Love, while Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas do battle. LeBron James should carry the offensive workload, even though he is up against a good defender in Jae Crowder.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Philadelphia 76ers
It is going to be a couple of years before the Philadelphia 76ers can compete with the Cleveland Cavaliers in a seven-game series in the NBA Playoffs. However, this game should still be interesting, as Joel Embiid gets to try out his skills against one of the best teams around. Embiid has shown some potential during his rookie season, even drawing comparisons to Houston Rockets great Hakeem Olajuwon. This could be his breakout game.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Atlanta Hawks
The Atlanta Hawks might no longer have Jeff Teague and Al Horford, but they can still be a dangerous team in the Eastern Conference. It would be wise for the Cleveland Cavaliers to not overlook them. Thanks to his versatility, Paul Millsap is one of the hardest players to defend in the NBA, even for a great defender like LeBron James. If motivated and focused, Dennis Schroder and Dwight Howard could cause problems for the Cavaliers.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Washington Wizards
When they are on the same page, John Wall and Bradley Beal can cause problems for any NBA team. It should be fun watching Wall duel with Kyrie Irving. The Washington Wizards are not particularly strong at the forward positions, so LeBron James and Kevin Love should be featured heavily on offense. Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue may also utilize Love a bit more at the center position in an attempt to draw out Marcin Gortat.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Charlotte Hornets
The Charlotte Hornets are a well-coached team that is off to a hot start. Even with the loss of Jeremy Lin, they still have a chance to make it back to the NBA Playoffs again this season. The Hornets will more than likely use this game as a test to see if they can keep up with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Roy Hibbert looks rejuvenated after signing with Charlotte as a free agent. If he keeps that up, then he can force Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson to work.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Toronto Raptors
The Toronto Raptors were already given a chance to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers this season. They failed to do so. The rematch takes place soon. The Raptors would love to have Jared Sullinger back in the lineup for the second battle. Sullinger was signed to replace Bismack Biyombo in the rotation, but he missed the first game. Rookie power forward Piascal Siakam is probably better coming off the bench at this point in his NBA career.
[Featured Image by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images]