Led by reigning Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving, the Cleveland Cavaliers are a very young team. Cleveland's roster, aside from Daniel Gibson, C.J. Miles, Anderson Varejao, and Luke Walton, is made up of players with fewer than five years of NBA experience.
Irving, the new face of the franchise, is expected to lead the Cavaliers back to Eastern Conference relevance in the coming years. In his rookie season, the 20-year old point guard proved that he can be a game changer in the NBA. With another year or two of seasoning, he will likely lead Cleveland back to the playoffs.
Although Irving is Cleveland's future, the current heart and soul of this Cavaliers team is veteran center Anderson Varejao. Varejao, who has played in just 56 of a possible 148 games over the last two seasons, is Cleveland's defensive anchor. With Varejao missing most of the last two seasons, the Cavaliers have struggled mightily on the defensive end of the floor. Last season, they ranked 26th in defensive efficiency and two seasons ago they were the second-least efficient defense in the entire league.
Unfortunately, the Cavaliers were equally inefficient on the offensive end (ranked 27th in offensive efficiency last season and 29th in 2011). Over the last two seasons, Cleveland's relative inefficiency resulted in an NBA-low 40 wins.
This season, with a full training camp, Varejao's presence on the floor and a not-quite-as-young-as-he-was-last-season Kyrie Irving running the show, the Cleveland Cavaliers hope to improve their efficiency on both sides of the ball. How this season's efficiency level will affect this season's win total remains to be seen.
Here are game-by-game predictions for the 2012-2013 Cleveland Cavaliers:
Game 1, Tuesday, October 30 versus Washington Wizards- Cavaliers open the 2012-2013 NBA season with a victory over the Wizards (Record 1-0).
Game 2, Friday, November 2 versus Chicago Bulls- Cavaliers lose the first half of a back-to-back to the Derrick Rose-less Bulls (Record 1-1).
Game 3, Saturday, November 3 at Milwaukee Bucks- Cavaliers fall to the Bucks for the eighth consecutive time (Record 1-2).
Game 4, Monday, November 5 at Los Angeles Clippers- Cavaliers play for the third time in four nights and drop a road game to Chris Paul and the Clippers (Record 1-3).
Game 5, Wednesday, November 7 at Golden State Warriors- Cavaliers lose to the Warriors at Oracle Arena (Record 1-4).
Game 6, Friday, November 9 at Phoenix Suns- Cavaliers drop a close game to the Suns at the US Airways Center (Record 1-5).
Game 7, Sunday, November 11 at Oklahoma City Thunder- Cavaliers fall to Russell Westbrook and the Thunder (Record 1-6).
Game 8, Tuesday, November 13 at Brooklyn Nets- Cavaliers close a winless six-game road trip with a loss to Deron Williams and the Nets (Record 1-7).
Game 9, Saturday, November 17 versus Dallas Mavericks- Cavaliers get a close win over the Mavericks (Record 2-7).
Game 10, Sunday, November 18 at Philadelphia 76ers- Cavaliers fall to the 76ers in the second half of a back-to-back (Record 2-8).
Game 11, Wednesday, November 21 versus Philadelphia 76ers- Cavaliers immediately avenge that loss with a victory over the 76ers (Record 3-8).
Game 12, Friday, November 23 at Orlando Magic- Cavaliers open a three-game road trip by beating the Magic (Record 4-8).
Game 13, Saturday, November 24 at Miami Heat- Cavaliers fall to LeBron James and the Heat at AmericanAirlines Arena (Record 4-9).
Game 14, Monday, November 26 at Memphis Grizzlies- Cavaliers fall to the Grizzlies and drop to 1-5 against Western Conference opposition (Record 4-10).
Game 15, Tuesday, November 27 versus Phoenix Suns- Cavaliers play for the fourth time in five nights and drop a home game to the Suns (Record 4-11).
Game 16, Friday, November 30 at Atlanta Hawks- Cavaliers fall to the Hawks in the first half of a back-to-back (Record 4-12).
Game 17, Saturday, December 1 versus Portland Trail Blazers- Cavaliers open December with a home win over the visiting Trail Blazers (Record 5-12).
Game 18, Monday, December 3 at Detroit Pistons- Cavaliers play their third game in four nights and lose to the Pistons (Record 5-13).
Game 19, Wednesday, December 5 versus Chicago Bulls- Cavaliers defeat the Bulls for the first time since March 19, 2010 (Record 6-13).
Game 20, Friday, December 7 at Minnesota Timberwolves- Cavaliers fall to the Timberwolves at the Target Center (Record 6-14).
Game 21, Saturday, December 8 versus Detroit Pistons- Cavaliers beat the Pistons in the second half of a back-to-back (Record 7-14).
Game 22, Tuesday, December 11 versus Los Angeles Lakers- Cavaliers lose to Kobe Bryant and the Lakers (Record 7-15).
Game 23, Wednesday, December 12 at Indiana Pacers- Cavaliers fall to the Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse for the fifth consecutive time (Record 7-16).
Game 24, Friday, December 14 versus Milwaukee Bucks- Cavaliers play for the third time in four nights and drop a home game to the Bucks (Record 7-17).
Game 25, Saturday, December 15 at New York Knicks- Cavaliers drop the second half of a back-to-back to Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks (Record 7-18).
Game 26, Tuesday, December 18 versus Toronto Raptors- Cavaliers get a home win over the Raptors (Record 8-18).
Game 27, Wednesday, December 19 at Boston Celtics- Cavaliers fall to the Celtics at the TD Garden (Record 8-19).
Game 28, Friday, December 21 versus Indiana Pacers- Cavaliers drop a home game to the visiting Pacers (Record 8-20).
Game 29, Saturday, December 22 at Milwaukee Bucks- Cavaliers play for the fourth time in five nights and drop a road game to the Bucks (Record 8-21).
Game 30, Wednesday, December 26 at Washington Wizards- Cavaliers fall to John Wall and the Wizards at the Verizon Center (Record 8-22).
Game 31, Friday, December 28 versus Atlanta Hawks- Cavaliers lose to Hawks for the ninth consecutive time (Record 8-23).
Game 32, Saturday, December 29 at Brooklyn Nets- Cavaliers fall to Deron Williams and the Nets (Record 8-24).
Game 33, Wednesday, January 2 versus Sacramento Kings- Cavaliers defeat the Kings at Quicken Loans Arena (Record 9-24).
Game 34, Friday, January 4 at Charlotte Bobcats- Cavaliers drop the first half of a back-to-back to the Bobcats (Record 9-25).
Game 35, Saturday, January 5 versus Houston Rockets- Cavaliers play their third game in four nights and fall to Jeremy Lin and the Rockets (Record 9-26).
Game 36, Monday, January 7 at Chicago Bulls- Cavaliers lose to the Bulls at the United Center for the fifth straight time (Record 9-27).
Game 37, Wednesday, January 9 versus Atlanta Hawks- Cavaliers rebound with a home win over the Hawks (Record 10-27).
Game 38, Friday, January 11 at Denver Nuggets- Cavaliers open a five-game road trip with a loss to Ty Lawson and the Nuggets (Record 10-28).
Game 39, Sunday, January 13 at Los Angeles Lakers- Cavaliers fall to Dwight Howard and the Lakers at the Staples Center (Record 10-29).
Game 40, Monday, January 14 at Sacramento Kings- Cavaliers drop the second half of a back-to-back to the Kings (Record 10-30).
Game 41, Wednesday, January 16 at Portland Trail Blazers- Cavaliers play for the third time in four nights and lose to the Trail Blazers at the Rose Garden (Record 10-31).
Game 42, Saturday, January 19 at Utah Jazz- Cavaliers finish a disappointing 0-5 road trip with a loss to the Jazz (Record 10-32).
Game 43, Tuesday, January 22 versus Boston Celtics- Cavaliers continue to struggle and drop a home game to the visiting Celtics (Record 10-33).
Game 44, Friday, January 25 versus Milwaukee Bucks- Cavaliers lose a close game to the Bucks (Record 10-34).
Game 45, Saturday, January 26 at Toronto Raptors- Cavaliers drop a road game to the Raptors in the second half of a back-to-back (Record 10-35).
Game 46, Tuesday, January 29 versus Golden State Warriors- Cavaliers defeat the Warriors (Record 11-35).
Game 47, Friday, February 1 at Detroit Pistons- Cavaliers open February with a victory over the Pistons at the Palace (Record 12-35).
Game 48, Saturday, February 2 versus Oklahoma City Thunder- Cavaliers drop a home game to Kevin Durant and the Thunder (Record 12-36).
Game 49, Wednesday, February 6 versus Charlotte Bobcats- Cavaliers defeat the Bobcats (Record 13-36).
Game 50, Friday, February 8 versus Orlando Magic- Cavaliers get a home win over the Magic in the first half of a back-to-back (Record 14-36).
Game 51, Saturday, February 9 versus Denver Nuggets- Cavaliers play for the third time in four nights and fall to the Nuggets (Record 14-37).
Game 52, Monday, February 11 versus Minnesota Timberwolves- Cavaliers rebound with a victory over Kevin Love and the Timberwolves (Record 15-37).
Game 53, Wednesday, February 13 versus San Antonio Spurs- Cavaliers finish the first half of the season with a loss to the Spurs (Record 15-38).
Game 54, Wednesday, February 20 versus New Orleans Hornets- Cavaliers get a home win over Anthony Davis and the Hornets (Record 16-38).
Game 55, Saturday, February 23 at Orlando Magic- Cavaliers open a three-game road trip with a victory over the Magic (Record 17-38).
Game 56, Sunday, February 24 at Miami Heat- Cavaliers drop the second half of a back-to-back to the Heat (Record 17-39).
Game 57, Tuesday, February 26 at Chicago Bulls- Cavaliers fall to the Bulls (Record 17-40).
Game 58, Wednesday, February 27 versus Toronto Raptors- Cavaliers play for the fourth time in five nights and drop a home game to the Raptors (Record 17-41).
Game 59, Friday, March 1 versus Los Angeles Clippers- Cavaliers open March with a loss to the Clippers (Record 17-42).
Game 60, Monday, March 4 versus New York Knicks- Cavaliers defeat the Knicks at Quicken Loans Arena for the 11th consecutive time (Record 18-42).
Game 61, Wednesday, March 6 versus Utah Jazz- Cavaliers beat the Jazz for the first time since November 14, 2009 (Record 19-42).
Game 62, Friday, March 8 versus Memphis Grizzlies- Cavaliers close a 2-3 homestand with a loss to the Grizzlies (Record 19-43).
Game 63, Sunday, March 10 at Toronto Raptors- Cavaliers drop a road game to the Raptors at the Air Canada Centre (Record 19-44).
Game 64, Tuesday, March 12 versus Washington Wizards- Cavaliers get a close win over the Wizards (Record 20-44).
Game 65, Friday, March 15 at Dallas Mavericks- Cavaliers lose the first leg of their Texas Two Step to the Mavericks (Record 20-45).
Game 66, Saturday, March 16 at San Antonio Spurs- Cavaliers drop the second half of a back-to-back to the Spurs (Record 20-46).
Game 67, Monday, March 18 versus Indiana Pacers- Cavaliers play for the third time in four nights and fall to the visiting Pacers (Record 20-47).
Game 68, Wednesday, March 20 versus Miami Heat- Cavaliers close a brief two-game homestand with a loss to the Heat (Record 20-48).
Game 69, Friday, March 22 at Houston Rockets- Cavaliers lose to the Rockets at the Toyota Center (Record 20-49).
Game 70, Wednesday, March 27 versus Boston Celtics- Cavaliers get a quality home win over the Celtics (Record 21-49).
Game 71, Friday, March 29 versus Philadelphia 76ers- Cavaliers drop a home game to Andrew Bynum and the 76ers (Record 21-50).
Game 72, Sunday, March 31 at New Orleans Hornets- Cavaliers lose to the Hornets at the New Orleans Arena (Record 21-51).
Game 73, Monday, April 1 at Atlanta Hawks- Cavaliers fall to the Hawks on April Fool's Day (Record 21-52).
Game 74, Wednesday, April 3 versus Brooklyn Nets- Cavaliers play for the third time in four nights and drop a home game to the Nets (Record 21-53).
Game 75, Friday, April 5 at Boston Celtics- Cavaliers fall to the Celtics (Record 21-54).
Game 76, Sunday, April 7 versus Orlando Magic- Cavaliers beat the Magic (Record 22-54).
Game 77, Tuesday, April 9 at Indiana Pacers- Cavaliers lose the first half of a back-to-back to the Pacers (Record 22-55).
Game 78, Wednesday, April 10 versus Detroit Pistons- Cavaliers drop a home game to the Pistons (Record 22-56).
Game 79, Friday, April 12 versus New York Knicks- Cavaliers close a brief 1-1 homestand with a victory over the Knicks (Record 23-56).
Game 80, Sunday, April 14 at Philadelphia 76ers- Cavaliers fall to the 76ers in their penultimate road game (Record 23-57).
Game 81, Monday, April 15 versus Miami Heat- Cavaliers lose their home finale to the Heat (Record 23-58).
Game 82, Wednesday, April 17 at Charlotte Bobcats- Cavaliers close the season with a road loss to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and the Bobcats (Record 23-59).
Prediction: Even with a full training camp, a more experienced Kyrie Irving and the return of Anderson Varejao, the Cleveland Cavaliers will continue to suffer through their growing pains.
Mark is a lifelong fan of the NBA who has loved the game of basketball ever since his first trip to an NBA arena. Mark has watched more basketball games than anyone can count and has hundreds of articles about the NBA published on the internet. Mark also shares his random NBA musings and game-by-game predictions on RandomNBAFan.com.
More 2012-2013 game-by-game predictionsCleveland Cavaliers 2013 Schedule, Anderson Varejao Stats and Hollinger's NBA Team Stats was used for this article.
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