Originally written on Waiting For Next Year  |  Last updated 4/25/12

What a lovely tank you have there

It’s time to say goodbye to the men in Wine and Gold. For this season, anyway.

Tonight the Cleveland Cavaliers host the Washington Wizards in the final home of the season. What once was a fierce rivalry of sorts is now renewed as a Premier League-esque relegation battle. Although, instead of relegation, these teams are fighting for lottery position.

For Washington, the hard part is over. With New Orleans’ win last night, moving them alongside Cleveland and Sacramento with 21 wins, the Wizards, at 18 wins with two games to go, have locked up 2nd place in the lottery derby. They can win out and not harm their lottery position.

For the Cleveland Cavaliers, that is not the case. With two games remaining, tonight against Washington and tomorrow in Chicago where many starters will likely rest, the Cavaliers’ lottery future is very much in limbo.

Currently, Cleveland is tied with Sacramento and Charlotte for 3rd through 5th with 21 wins. New Jersey and Toronto are one game back at 22 wins, while Golden State is hanging around with 23 wins. Sacramento (vs Lakers) and New Orleans (at Houston) each have just one game remaining.

If the Cavaliers, Kings, and Hornets all finished tied at 21 wins, all 3 would share 12.1% odds of getting the #1 pick. If 1 of the 3 teams wins and the other 2 lose, those 2 that lose will split 13.75% odds of the #1 pick. And if 2 win and 1 loses, the team that loses will have 15.6% chances of winning the lottery all to themselves.

With the way the Cavaliers have been playing lately, there’s a good chance Cleveland wins this game tonight. However, Washington is red hot right now, having won 4 in a row and 6 of their last 8 games. Furthermore, Kyrie Irving is doubtful for the game with some kind of stomach flu.

It’s hard not to be skeptical of what’s going on here. First, Byron Scott leaves Irving on the bench for much of the 4th quarter in a winnable game, and now Irving is expected miss this game with a stomach flu. Conspiracy theorists and tankologists will have a field day with this one. Who knows if the Cavaliers are really trying to tank or not, but either way, as a fan of the game, it’s unfortunate to miss out on a battle between Irving and the Wiz’s John Wall.

Most disappointing of all, though, for Cleveland fans attending the game, is the fact that the fans won’t get to watch Kyrie play his last home game of the season. It’s been so much fun watching this kid grow and develop before our very eyes all season long, and now we have to wait 5+ months before we get to see him in real action again. From that standpoint, it’s unfortunate.

From the “We must get a top 3 pick this year” standpoint, however, it’s much more fortunate. This game could be one of the biggest games of the season. It could define the course of the offseason as well as the very future of this franchise. It could be the difference between picking 3rd and picking 9th or 10th in the upcoming draft.

I’ve loved the way Byron Scott has gotten his team to respond since that fateful loss in Detroit. It’s encouraging that with nothing left to play for, this team is still competing hard again. I love everything about that. But when it comes down to winning and losing the game, Kyrie Irving makes the biggest impact there. It’s hard to say whether it’s coincidence or not, but with no Kyrie Irving, the Cavaliers’ chances of beating the Wizards just dropped by a significant margin.

_____

Image source: raptorshq.com

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Ex-Cowboy indicted on sexual assault charges

Report: Kevin Love to meet with Lakers

Carli Lloyd sends USWNT to World Cup final

Auburn, Oregon to open 2019 season at AT&T Stadium

Butler can’t sign one-year contract unless it’s with Bulls

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

DeAndre Jordan wants 4-year deal, bigger offensive role

Kings reportedly looking into viability of firing Karl

Jim Brown: I ‘encourage and support’ Johnny Manziel

Vincent criticizes NFLPA over spending millions on lawsuits

MLB urges Supreme Court to deny San Jose's A's appeal

Jeanie Buss: Phil Jackson loves the Twitter criticism

Report: Pelicans sign Davis to five-year, $145M extension

Jose Aldo out of UFC 189, replaced by Chad Mendes

Landon Donovan takes shot at Jurgen Klinsmann

Hope Solo admits to using stalling tactics on penalty kick

Scottie Pippen: ‘I was LeBron James before LeBron James’

Feud between Scioscia and Dipoto makes Angels fascinating case study

WATCH: Jim Harbaugh throws out first pitch at Tigers game

MLB’s All-Star roster will now announced be over two days

Blackhawks trade Brandon Saad to the Blue Jackets

Blatter won’t attend World Cup final due to ‘personal reasons’

Sharks have found their starting goalie by acquiring Jones

Fan who caught A-Rod’s 3,000th says he’s received threats

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Lloyd sends USWNT to World Cup final

Selecting the 2015 AL All-Stars

NBA Draft grades: Eastern Conference

Under the radar NBA free agents

Michael Sam, boyfriend broke up?

Mickelson linked to money laundering?

Reminiscing on 'Love & Basketball' 15 years later

Selecting the 2015 NL All-Stars

The Sixers' latest horde

Projected landing spots for NBA's top free agents

MLB changes format for Home Run Derby

Revis to work out with Patriots DBs

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.