2013 Cleveland Cavaliers schedule: Kyrie Irving, Mike Brown have their battles

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Kyrie Irving and coach Mike Brown have a few games on the 2013-14 Cleveland Cavaliers schedule that could say a lot.

Cleveland has accepted the past and welcomed the present. The present includes point guard Kyrie Irving and coach Mike Brown, both of whom have plenty motivation to carry Cleveland as far as humanly possible.

Irving is still working his way up the ladder of talented NBA point guards, and his battles with them -- and their teams -- could be key points in announcing he's surpassed them. Brown, meanwhile, returns to the Cavaliers with something to prove. He wants to win without LeBron James, and he has good reason to fight for his reputation after he was washed out of Los Angeles.

So Brown and Irving have big matchups on the Cavs' 2013-14 schedule that personally will mean something to them. More importantly, those battles will help Cleveland determine if it's ready to return to the postseason.

Five games to watch

Jan. 14 at Los Angeles Lakers -- This isn't about the potential return of Andrew Bynum suiting up in Los Angeles. And it's not really about Earl Clark's return to play his former team, either. Brown seemingly got the short end of the stick by being fired by the Lakers five games into last season, and though he could be too nice to say anything too dramatic about his old job, there's a good bet it'll feel good for him to beat Los Angeles.

Jan. 22 vs. Chicago -- Derrick Rose's ACL injury might have set him back in holding onto the title as the most exciting point guard in the NBA, and Irving used the year to play catch-up. As Irving enters his third season, he's still yet to play a game against Rose. A test against a veteran, battle-tested team could do the Cavs good in learning where they stand and how close they are to relevancy.

Feb. 7 at Washington -- John Wall had a year's experience on Irving, but it was Irving who got his first taste of the All-Star game last season. Two of the league's point guards of the future will go at one another on ESPN, but the result of the game will be just as important, if not more so. Both Cleveland and Washington want to make the postseason.

Feb. 21 at Toronto -- First overall pick Anthony Bennett will return to his hometown of Toronto as a member of the Cavs for the first time, and teammate Tristan Thompson will be there with him. The two Canadians represent the strong basketball talent base up north.

March 18 vs. Heat -- Will it be the last time LeBron James visits Cleveland as a member of the Heat? And if so, what uniform will James be wearing? Cavs fans seemingly have split between wanting James back in Cleveland and continuing to revile him. How they react in the team's final matchup of 2013-14 -- barring a playoff meeting -- could be something to watch.

Tough tests

The beginning of March won't be kind to Cleveland. The Cavs start out March 1 at Memphis and from there play San Antonio, Charlotte, New York and Phoenix before getting into an even tougher stretch against the Warriors, Clippers, Heat, Thunder, Rockets and Knicks.

Easiest stretches

From Feb. 11 through Feb. 25, the Cavs face Sacramento, Detroit, Philadelphia, Orlando, Toronto, Washington and Toronto again. The Pistons, Raptors and Wizards are all potential playoff teams, but the stretch is the most significant run without taking on a top-four squad from either conference.

The Cavaliers also finish the season with a somewhat reasonable schedule. They play Orlando on April 2 and follow that game up with Atlanta, Charlotte, Detroit, Milwaukee and Boston before a tougher final regular season game against the Brooklyn Nets.

Important schedule facts

Back-to-backs: 20

Season opener: Oct. 30 at home vs. Nets

Longest road trip: Five games (Jan. 10-17)

Longest homestand: Five games (Jan. 20-28)

2013-14 schedule

OCTOBER
Brooklyn Wednesday, October 30 2013 7:00 PM EDT coverage
NOVEMBER
Charlotte Friday, November 01 2013 7:00 PM EDT coverage
Indiana Saturday, November 02 2013 7:00 PM EDT coverage
Minnesota Monday, November 04 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
Milwaukee Wednesday, November 06 2013 8:00 PM EST coverage
Philadelphia Friday, November 08 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
Philadelphia Saturday, November 09 2013 7:30 PM EST coverage
Chicago Monday, November 11 2013 8:00 PM EST coverage
Minnesota Wednesday, November 13 2013 8:00 PM EST coverage
Charlotte Friday, November 15 2013 7:30 PM EST coverage
Washington Saturday, November 16 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
Washington Wednesday, November 20 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
New Orleans Friday, November 22 2013 8:00 PM EST coverage
San Antonio Saturday, November 23 2013 8:30 PM EST coverage
Miami Wednesday, November 27 2013 7:30 PM EST coverage
Boston Friday, November 29 2013 7:30 PM EST coverage
Chicago Saturday, November 30 2013 7:30 PM EST coverage
DECEMBER
Denver Wednesday, December 04 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
Atlanta Friday, December 06 2013 7:30 PM EST coverage
Los Angeles Clippers Saturday, December 07 2013 7:30 PM EST coverage
New York Tuesday, December 10 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
Orlando Friday, December 13 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
Miami Saturday, December 14 2013 7:30 PM EST coverage
Portland Tuesday, December 17 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
Milwaukee Friday, December 20 2013 7:30 PM EST coverage
Chicago Saturday, December 21 2013 8:00 PM EST coverage
Detroit Monday, December 23 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
Atlanta Thursday, December 26 2013 7:00 PM EST coverage
Boston Saturday, December 28 2013 1:00 PM EST coverage
Golden State Sunday, December 29 2013 6:00 PM EST coverage
Indiana Tuesday, December 31 2013 3:00 PM EST coverage
JANUARY
Orlando Thursday, January 02 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
Brooklyn Saturday, January 04 2014 7:30 PM EST coverage
Indiana Sunday, January 05 2014 6:00 PM EST coverage
Philadelphia Tuesday, January 07 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
Utah Friday, January 10 2014 9:00 PM EST coverage
Sacramento Sunday, January 12 2014 6:00 PM EST coverage
Los Angeles Lakers Tuesday, January 14 2014 10:30 PM EST coverage
Portland Wednesday, January 15 2014 10:00 PM EST coverage
Denver Friday, January 17 2014 9:00 PM EST coverage
Dallas Monday, January 20 2014 1:00 PM EST coverage
Chicago Wednesday, January 22 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
Milwaukee Friday, January 24 2014 7:30 PM EST coverage
Phoenix Sunday, January 26 2014 6:00 PM EST coverage
New Orleans Tuesday, January 28 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
New York Thursday, January 30 2014 8:00 PM EST coverage
FEBRUARY
Houston Saturday, February 01 2014 8:00 PM EST coverage
Dallas Monday, February 03 2014 8:30 PM EST coverage
Los Angeles Lakers Wednesday, February 05 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
Washington Friday, February 07 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
Memphis Sunday, February 09 2014 6:00 PM EST coverage
Sacramento Tuesday, February 11 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
Detroit Wednesday, February 12 2014 7:30 PM EST coverage
Philadelphia Tuesday, February 18 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
Orlando Wednesday, February 19 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
Toronto Friday, February 21 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
Washington Sunday, February 23 2014 6:00 PM EST coverage
Toronto Tuesday, February 25 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
Oklahoma City Wednesday, February 26 2014 8:00 PM EST coverage
Utah Friday, February 28 2014 7:30 PM EST coverage
MARCH
Memphis Saturday, March 01 2014 9:00 PM EST coverage
San Antonio Tuesday, March 04 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
Charlotte Friday, March 07 2014 7:00 PM EST coverage
New York Saturday, March 08 2014 7:30 PM EST coverage
Phoenix Wednesday, March 12 2014 10:00 PM EDT coverage
Golden State Friday, March 14 2014 10:30 PM EDT coverage
Los Angeles Clippers Sunday, March 16 2014 9:30 PM EDT coverage
Miami Tuesday, March 18 2014 7:00 PM EDT coverage
Oklahoma City Thursday, March 20 2014 7:00 PM EDT coverage
Houston Saturday, March 22 2014 7:30 PM EDT coverage
New York Sunday, March 23 2014 7:30 PM EDT coverage
Toronto Tuesday, March 25 2014 7:00 PM EDT coverage
Detroit Wednesday, March 26 2014 7:30 PM EDT coverage
Brooklyn Friday, March 28 2014 7:30 PM EDT coverage
Indiana Sunday, March 30 2014 3:00 PM EDT coverage
APRIL
Orlando Wednesday, April 02 2014 7:00 PM EDT coverage
Atlanta Friday, April 04 2014 7:30 PM EDT coverage
Charlotte Saturday, April 05 2014 7:30 PM EDT coverage
Detroit Wednesday, April 09 2014 7:00 PM EDT coverage
Milwaukee Friday, April 11 2014 8:30 PM EDT coverage
Boston Saturday, April 12 2014 7:30 PM EDT coverage
Brooklyn Wednesday, April 16 2014 8:00 PM EDT coverage

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