Cleveland Cavaliers Playoff History

Last Modified Apr 2, 2024 11:49 GMT



Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland Cavaliers Image Credits: Getty Images




Cleveland Cavaliers began their history as an expansion team in 1970. The Cleveland Cavaliers play their home games in Rocket Mortgage field house. Cavaliers are part of the Eastern Conference and central division of the NBA.The Cleveland Cavaliers owner is Dan Gilbert who bought the majority shares in 2005 and their GM is Mike Gansey. Cavaliers head coach is J.B Bickerstaff who was an assistant before he was promoted by the Cavaliers.


Cavaliers struggled to make an impact in their early seasons, missing 5 straight playoffs and then Bingo Smith and Austin Carr were joined by Nate Thurmond mid season which led to winning their 1st ever playoff series in 1976 and making three consecutive playoff appearances. The Cavaliers then hit a slump and failed to make the playoffs until 1985. In these years the Cavaliers parted ways with Smith, Carr and Thurmond.


In the mid 1980s, the Cavaliers franchise was carried by Larry Nance, Brad Daugherty and Mark Price, this led to eight playoffs in nine seasons with the Eastern conference finals being the furthest they got in 1992. The Chicago Bulls of Michael Jordan were their fiercest rivals who dismantled the best Cleveland teams of the Non-LeBron era.


The Cleveland Cavaliers missed the playoffs for seven consecutive seasons from 1995-2005 and were rewarded with the 1st pick in NBA draft 2003 where they drafted LeBron James who changed the history of the city of Cleveland. Cleveland's current roster is filled with young talent of Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland, Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley who took Cleveland to their first playoff appearance after four years in 2023 and are set to be back in the playoffs of 2024.


How many times has the Cleveland Cavaliers made the playoffs?

Cleveland Cavaliers have made the playoffs in 23 seasons out of 53 and have an NBA Title to their name. Cleveland Cavaliers have a 43% success rate of making the playoffs in their history.


Cleveland Cavaliers have made five consecutive playoff appearances twice in their history (1992-96, 2006-2010) but the major success period was from 2015-18, where they made four consecutive finals appearances and won an NBA Title after being 3-1 down to the Golden State Warriors.



Cleveland Cavaliers Playoff Record

Cleveland Cavaliers have a 126-108 playoff record in NBA history. This makes them the 16th ranked team with most wins in the playoffs history all-time. Cleveland Cavaliers are ranked fifth in most playoff wins since 2006 with 98 wins to their name. Cleveland's most successful playoff run came in 2016 where they made history by defeating the Golden State Warriors in seven games.


The Cleveland Cavaliers swept the Pistons in the first round with the help from the duo of Kyrie Irving and LeBron James. Cavaliers then met Atlanta Hawks in the conference semifinals who were also swept in four games, with game 4 being a one-point win. Cleveland then faced the Tornonto Raptors with the duo of Demar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry who were beaten in six games, LeBron led the team in points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks and minutes played and dismantled the Raptors in the Conference finals.


Cleveland Cavaliers then faced a similar foe, defending champions Golden State Warriors with Kyrie and Love healthy this time Cleveland wanted to extract revenge but they found themselves 3-1 down and on the brink of losing two consecutive finals to the same team. Cleveland Cavaliers shocked the world and the duo of Kyrie and LeBron outplayed the Warriors in the next three games, Game 5 LeBron had 41 points and 16 rebounds with seven assists and Kyrie also had 41/3/6 stat line in game 5.


In Game 6, LeBron had 41 points, eight rebounds and 11 assists with four steals and three blocks. Tristan Thompson had 16 points with 15 rebounds. In Game 7, LeBron scored a triple double with 27/11/11 and 2 steals and 3 blocks. Kyrie hit a clutch 3-pointer over Steph for the lead in the clutch and LeBron blocked Andre Iguodala became the highlights of the game 7.



Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland Cavaliers Image credits: Getty Images



Number of conference championships won by Cleveland Cavaliers

Cleveland Cavaliers have 5 Eastern conference titles to their name. The Cavaliers maiden title came in 2007 by defeating the Detroit Pistons and their last title came in 2018 by defeating the Celtics in a 7 game series. LeBron James was part of both the teams and led them to all five of their conference wins in their history.


Cavaliers defeated the Celtics after being 0-2 down and this was Celtic's first defeat after being 2-0 up (40-1) record. LeBron averaged 35.6 points, 9.2 rebounds and 7.6 assists after going 0-2 down and annihilating the Boston Celtics.



Season TeamSeries Score
2006-07Detroit Pistons4-2
2014-15Atlanta Hawks4-0
2015-16Toronto Raptors4-2
2016-17Boston Celtics4-1
2017-18Boston Celtics4-3


Number of NBA championships won by Cleveland Cavaliers

Cleveland Cavaliers won the 2016 NBA Championship by defeating the Golden State Warriors and completed the revenge for 2015 and also made history by being the first team to comeback from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals.


Cleveland Cavaliers have been to five finals in their history, and LeBron James has been part of all those finals. In Cleveland's first visit they matched up against the San Antonio Spurs who swept them 4-0, in their 2nd visit they faced the Golden State Warriors who defeated them 4-2.


Cleveland made history in their 3rd attempt and 2nd consecutive finals visit by winning the NBA Finals after being 3-1 down. The NBA world was shocked as Kevin Durant joined the Warriors and the next season LeBron faced the duo of Curry/Durant only to be defeated 4-1 in 2017 and in 2018, Cleveland Cavaliers were swept 4-0, Cleveland were without Kyrie Irving who was traded in the 2017 off-season after he demanded to be traded.



Season Head Coach AgainstSeries Score
2015-16Ty LueGolden State Warriors4-3




Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland Cavaliers Image Credits: Getty Images



Cleveland Cavaliers Last Playoff Appearance

Cleveland’s last playoff appearance came in 2023 after four seasons. The Cavaliers faced the New York Knicks with Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle. The Cavaliers were defeated in five games by an organized defensive display by the Knicks stopping the Cavaliers to 79 points in game 3, 93 in game 4 and 95 in game 5.


What is the biggest playoff series comeback in the Miami Heat’s history?

2006-07

Cleveland were defeated 4-3 by the bad boy Pistons in the 2006 playoffs and when they met again Cleveland again found themselves 0-2 down but this time they went on to win the next 4 games, defeating the Pistons 4-2 in the Eastern Conference finals. This was Cleveland’s first conference trophy.

2015-16


Cleveland defied the odds by staging a miraculous comeback by beating the Golden State Warriors 4-3 after being down 3-1 in the 2016 NBA Finals becoming the first ever team to comeback from 3-1 and win the NBA Finals. The duo of LeBron and Kyrie with the support of Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love put on a magnificent display after going 3-1 down.

2017-18


Cleveland defeated the Boston Celtics in 7 games in the Eastern Conference Finals after being 0-2 down and LeBron averaged 35.6 points, 9.2 rebounds and 7.6 assists after going 0-2 down and annihilating the Boston Celtics. Boston Celtics are 40-1 in their history after going 2-0 up in a playoff series, their only loss is against the LeBron James led Cleveland Cavaliers.



Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland Cavaliers Image credits: Getty Images




FAQ on Cleveland Cavaliers Playoff History

A. Cleveland Warriors was part of the 2017-18 NBA Finals losing to the duo of Steph Curry and Kevin Durant led Golden State Warriors in a clean sweep.

A. Cavaliers biggest rivals were Jordan’s Chicago Bulls, in late 80s and early 90s if not for the Bulls, Cleveland would have won an NBA championship. Cleveland’s rivalry during the mid 2010s against the Golden State Warriors was also a heated one as they met four consecutive seasons in the finals.

A. Yes, the Cleveland Cavaliers won the 2016 NBA championship by defeating the Golden State Warriors.

A. Cleveland Cavaliers has won 126 playoff games which is the 16th most wins in NBA playoff history.

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