CLEVELAND (WJW) – The Cleveland Cavaliers are back in the NBA Playoffs for the first time in five years, hosting the New York Knicks in a best-of-seven series.
Local bars downtown are preparing for large crowds on Saturday.
“There’s just something about everybody being excited for one team and rooting together for one city,” Clevelander bartender Sarah Pohlman said.
The Clevelander is one of the most popular stops for fans near Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Pohlman said she can’t wait to see all the Cavs crazies this weekend.
“We expect it to be packed,” she said. “We expected the downstairs, the upstairs and outside patio to be filled with fans getting ready to go to the game. Then, we also have a lot of fans who love to come here to watch the game.”
Long gone are LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and most of the cast that led the Cavs to an NBA Championship. But a new cast of stars, including sensational guard Donovan Mitchell, have led the team to the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference.
“They played Milwaukee tough, they played Boston tough. I think they can compete with any team in the association right now,” Cavs fan Ciaran Kelly said.
Flannery’s is another popular stop to celebrate Cavs wins. General Manager Sean O’Donnell thinks the city is ready to go all out for the wine and gold.
“I have a feeling around three or four o’clock, you’re going to see the city kind of explode,” O’Donnell said. “People will come downtown. People who aren’t even going to the game are going to come downtown just to be a part of the party.”
Cavs supporter George Beard thinks the Cavs can handle business against the Knicks.
“It probably won’t be an easy first round, but it’s a winnable first round because of the energy and the type of players that we have,” Beard said. “We’re a long basketball team, we play great defense and so we should be able to handle our business in this first round.”
Tickets for the first of the series on Saturday are still available. The Cavs recommend buying tickets through Seat Geek.