Chandler Parsons doesn’t like Cavs’ chances in potential 1st-round playoff series vs. Heat

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David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Cavaliers may be headed toward a first-round series against the playoff-savvy Miami Heat, and one NBA personality doesn’t like that possibility for the Cavs very much at all.

The teams’ recent playoff histories could not be much more different. The Cavs finally reached the playoffs last season for the first time since the 2017-18 campaign, but their stay there was very brief. Cleveland was eliminated by the New York Knicks in five games in the first round.

On the other hand, the Heat last season emerged from the play-in round and made it all the way to the 2023 NBA Finals, which they lost to the Denver Nuggets. Miami has reached at least the Eastern Conference Finals in three of the past four seasons, including a trip to the 2020 NBA Finals, where it lost to the Los Angeles Lakers.

The teams are heading toward this season’s playoffs in opposite circumstances as well. After losing the the Lakers on Saturday afternoon, Cleveland is just 10-15 in its past 25 games and has lost seven of its past 10 outings.

As a result, Cleveland is clinging to third place in the Eastern Conference standings, holding just a half-game lead over both the Orlando Magic and Knicks. The team is 2.5 games ahead of the Heat, who are in the first play-in position of seventh place.

The Cavs, who are now 1.5 games behind the Milwaukee Bucks for second place, have four games remaining after the 116-97 loss to the Lakers.

Miami is 8-4 in its past 12 games and has won four of its past five. The Heat also got a big boost on Friday when Tyler Herro returned from a long injury absence and scored 17 points off the bench. Parsons mentioned that key development when analyzing their possible playoff fortunes.

After an injury-plagued season to date, Miami may be getting healthy at just the right time. It has five games remaining, starting with a crucial matchup Sunday at the Indiana Pacers, who are in sixth place in the East.

A series between the Cavaliers and Heat would be intriguing for many reasons, not the least of which is how two teams with very different recent levels of success will go forward in the 2024 NBA Playoffs.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. One of his favorite sports memories is the Cavaliers-Nets playoff series from 1993.