This seems as good a time as any to break down the teams in lottery contention with the Cavs and their upcoming schedule. Five teams are clustered with between 42 and 44 losses, which will determine the third through eighth spots in the lottery. That should make for an interesting final week at the bottom of the standings.
Just as the loss column is the most important for teams trying to make the playoffs, the win column is all that matters for teams trying to pile up losses. The Cavs will enter Monday in a virtual tie with Sacramento for the league’s fourth-worst record, but there are plenty of games left. Here are the contenders:
Schedule: Tuesday at Golden State (23-41), Thursday at Houston (33-32)
The Hornets were a lock to finish with one of the league’s three worst records most of the season, but have screwed that up lately by winning five of their last seven. Tuesday’s game against the Warriors has big lottery implications.
Schedule: Monday at Memphis (39-25), Wednesday vs. Washington (17-46), Thursday at Chicago (48-16)
The Wizards have suddenly won three straight and five of their last seven, increasing the odds the Cavs can lose out to close the season. But Thursday’s finale could be tricky, assuming the Bulls have everything clinched by then. Good chance they rest anyone of relevance, meaning the Cavs could accidentally run into a victory when they least need it.
Schedule: Tuesday at Oklahoma City (46-18), Thursday vs. L.A. Lakers (41-24)
The best the Cavs can hope for is probably a tie with the Kings for the fourth-worst record, since it’s unlikely Sacramento loses another game. The Kings are 3-9 in April and face two of the best three teams in the West to close the regular season.
Schedule: Monday vs. Philadelphia (33-30), Thursday at Toronto (22-42)
The Nets have lost four straight and five of six and will likely make that five straight and six of seven on Monday night. But the finale against the Raptors has dramatic lottery implications.
Schedule: Monday at Milwaukee (30-33), Thursday vs. New Jersey (22-42)
The Raptors have lost three straight and seven of their last nine. If the cards fall the right way, both the Nets and Raptors could wind up with better records than the Cavs.