Last Friday, the Cleveland Charge, the NBA G League affiliate of the Cleveland Cavaliers, clinched a playoff berth after their 113-106 win over the Motor City Cruise. It’s the first time the Charge are returning to the postseason since the 2016-17 NBA G League season and the first time overall in the team’s tenure in Cleveland. It’s a massive achievement for first-year head coach Mike Gerrity and Cleveland NBA G League stars Isaiah Mobley, Sharife Cooper and Mamadi Diakite.
With an overall record of 18-14, the Charge were slotted as the Eastern Conference’s fifth seed and will face the Maine Celtics, the affiliate of the Boston Celtics, at 2 p.m. ET today. Fans can watch the game live on ESPN2 or listen to Charge play-by-play announcer Scott Zurilla call the action on NEO Sports Radio on the Charge mobile app. The Charge have met Maine once in the G League playoffs, earning a first-round series win during the 2015-16 postseason. The winner of Wednesday’s single-elimination matchup will advance to face the top-seeded Long Island Nets.
After reading that you’re probably thinking, “Wait, single-elimination?” Well, fear not. The NBA G League adopted a new format last season for the playoffs and are sticking with it for this year. The NBA G League adopted a revised playoff format last season that will be employed again in 2023. Twelve of the league’s 30 teams will qualify for the postseason, taking the top six seeds from each conference at the end of the regular season. Today, Right Down Euclid will guide you through it so you can follow the Charge’s quest to win an NBA G League Championship.
The top two seeds from each conference earn automatic byes into the second round while the remaining squads will play in a single-elimination quarterfinal stage to advance. Then teams must survive two more single-elimination rounds (the conference semis and conference finals) to make the NBA G League Finals. The format changes here, as the NBA G League Finals are a best-of-three series instead of just one game.
In 2022, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers captured the NBA G League title by defeating the Delaware Blue Coats two games to zero. For this year, here’s how the bracket will look for the NBA G League playoffs:
So, if Cleveland wins against Maine today, they’ll head to Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Long Island, NY to face the Nets, the G League affiliate of the Brooklyn Nets, in another single-elimination game. From there, Cleveland could face the Delaware Blue Coats (Philadelphia 76ers) or the Capital City Go-Go (Washington Wizards) on the road or host the Fort Wayne Mad Ants (Pacers) at home in the Eastern Conference Finals.
If they survive that route, the Charge could face any team on the Western side of things. There’s the Stockton Kings (Kings), Memphis Hustle (Grizzlies), South Bay Lakers (Lakers), Salt Lake City Stars (Jazz), Sioux Falls Skyforce (Heat) and the Rio Grande Valley Vipers (Rockets) on the Western Conference side of things. Again, unlike the first several rounds, the NBA G League Finals become a best-of-three situation. So, no matter what, Charge fans could see their squad playing for a championship at the Wolstein Center in the coming weeks. But, again, it all depends on what happens when the playoffs open today.
While there’s no way to be sure how far the Charge will go, there will also be quite a few Cavaliers notables on their roster. Here’s a quick list of names to watch as well as their averages on the season:
- Isaiah Mobley (Two-Way) – 21.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.1 blocks in 33.0 minutes per game
- Mamadi Diakite (Two-Way) – 16.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.1 blocks in 32.7 minutes per game
- Sam Merrill (On assignment) – 18.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 44.1% on three-pointers in 34.5 minutes per game
- Dylan Windler (On assignment) – 12.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 40.7% on three-pointers in 22.2 minutes per game
- Sharife Cooper – 21.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, 6.4 assists in 32.4 minutes per game
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Evan Dammarell is a sports journalist covering all things Cleveland right off the shores of Lake Erie. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. You can also email him at [email protected] He can also be found three to five times weekly on Locked On Cavs, a part of the Locked On Podcast Network.
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1 thought on “A guide to the NBA G League Playoffs for Cleveland Charge fans”
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