The Cleveland Cavaliers’ Disappointing Losing Streak Has Put Their Season in Serious Danger

The Cleveland Cavaliers are the NBA’s feel-good story this year. However, their season is in serious danger.

The Cavs have dealt with many injuries throughout the 2021-22 campaign, and it’s finally catching up to them.

Cleveland has been without All-Star big man Jarrett Allen the last couple of weeks, and it has resulted in a three-game skid that has put the team inside the NBA Play-In Tournament.

So, the Cavaliers must now fight for their playoff lives.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have dealt with injuries all season

While they have had a resurgent campaign that has seen them jump from 22 wins last year to over 40 this year, the LeBron James-less Cavs have been dealing injuries since essentially the opening tip-off.

Their leading scorer from the previous two seasons, Collin Sexton, only played 11 games before his year ended prematurely due to a knee injury. Backup guard Ricky Rubio also suffered a season-ending knee injury, while various other players have missed time throughout points of this season.

All-Star point guard Darius Garland dealt with a back injury, and forward Lauri Markkanen missed time with a hurt ankle. Rajon Rondo and Caris LeVert, two players the Cavs traded for in light of Rubio and Sexton’s injuries, have also had to sit out games.

This isn’t even considering the fact Cleveland was one of the teams most affected by COVID-19 earlier this season.

However, arguably their most consequential injury occurred on March 6 against the Toronto Raptors. All-Star center Jarrett Allen fractured his finger, and he has since missed the last 10 games.

Jarrett Allen’s injury has resulted in a considerable slide

Jarrett Allen earned All-Star honors for a reason. He has averaged 16.1 points and 10.8 rebounds this year, but he has also been huge on the defensive end for Cleveland. The Fro is recording 1.3 blocks per game and is second on the team with 3.1 defensive win shares.

So, his absence in the last 10 games has hurt the Cavs significantly.

Cleveland is 4-6 in those contests. It has allowed at least 110 points seven times despite giving up just 104.7 points per game this season. The team’s defensive rating is also 117.7 in the games Allen has missed, compared to its 108.0 rating throughout the entire year.

This past week, the Cavaliers dropped three straight, falling from 41-30 to 41-33. The losses took them from the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference to the seventh, which would have them in the NBA Play-In Tournament if the season ended today. The Raptors currently have a one-game advantage on them for sixth place.

If Cleveland has to compete in the play-in tourney, its spot in the playoffs isn’t guaranteed. So, it now must use its final eight games to fight for its season.

What does the Cavs’ remaining schedule look like?

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Darius Garland during a game in March 2022.
Darius Garland of the Cleveland Cavaliers dribbles during a game against the Indiana Pacers on March 8, 2022. | Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The Cavaliers are hoping that Jarrett Allen can return before the playoffs. If he does, they have a great chance to jump back up to the sixth seed and clinch a postseason spot.

But their road isn’t necessarily easy. Here’s a look at their remaining schedule.

  • March 28: Orlando Magic (20-55)
  • March 30: Dallas Mavericks (45-29)
  • March 31: Atlanta Hawks (37-37)
  • April 2: New York Knicks (32-42)
  • April 3: Philadelphia 76ers (46-27)
  • April 5: Orlando Magic (20-55)
  • April 8: Brooklyn Nets (39-35)
  • April 10: Milwaukee Bucks (46-28)

How does that compare to the sixth-seeded Raptors?

  • March 28: Boston Celtics (46-28)
  • March 30: Minnesota Timberwolves (43-32)
  • April 1: Orlando Magic (20-55)
  • April 3: Miami Heat (47-28)
  • April 5: Atlanta Hawks (37-37)
  • April 7: Philadelphia 76ers (46-27)
  • April 8: Houston Rockets (20-55)
  • April 10: New York Knicks (32-42)

So, they both have mild schedules in which they play tough and bad teams, and Basketball Reference predicts that they will both finish 5-3, which would give Toronto the edge for sixth place. However, there are two other teams to consider in this final stretch. The Chicago Bulls are just one game ahead of the Raptors and two of the Cavs, and the Nets are two games back of Cleveland and three of Toronto.

All in all, the Cleveland Cavaliers have had a tremendous season. But Jarrett Allen’s injury – combined with all their health problems this year – has put the Cavs in a position where they must fight for their lives these next two weeks.

Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference and NBA.com

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