We Are All Witnesses; Just Not To What We Had Hoped

14 05 2010

I feel like this is becoming a recurring theme here, but: I hope I’m wrong.

I desperately hope I’m wrong, but I just can’t shake the feeling that last night we were all “Witnesses” to the death of professional basketball in Cleveland.

We Were All Witnesses... To Game Five 😦

Maybe “death” is too strong a word. I do not think the Cavaliers will leave Cleveland. Perhaps the phrase “the plunge back to below-average-at-best-mediocrity” is better. Odd, it doesn’t make me feel all that better.

Whatever you want to call it, we witnessed it unfold at the end of Game Six. Read the rest of this entry »





Thoughts Heading Into A Momentous Game Six

13 05 2010

Lots on my mind. Need to ramble. Time for some quick thoughts.

Quick Thoughts:

  • I know, I know. Game Five was historically terrible. Maybe even insulting. But I will try not to dwell on it. I’ve already written my two cents. But if you want more on it, I’ll recommend stories by Brian Windhorst and Bill Simmons. Great reads with some great points.
  • Now onto Game Six…
  • We’re down, but not out. Or at least that’s what I tell myself. The more I sit back and watch everything unfold in the media and the sports blog world, the more I cannot help but think we are all overreacting a little bit. Seriously, teams come back from down 3-2 all the time. The Hawks already did it this season.
  • All we need to do is win tonight. If we do that, it’s back even and it all comes down to one game, and it’ll be in our house. I know the Cavs haven’t taken advantage of home court so far this series. But if the game comes back to Cleveland, that means the Cavs had an attitude change tonight. Momentum suddenly swings in our favor.
  • In the world of the internet, sports fans have become so engulfed with media coverage. Things get blown out of proportion all the time. You hear the same story on SportsCenter three different times, read about it on websites, then get exposed to it yet again on twitter… Suddenly, you start believing its that big of a deal.
  • Because of all the instant and hounding coverage, we live in a “What Have You Done For Me Lately?” world now more than ever before. It only took one horrid loss to turn Cavalier fans’ world upside down. It will only take one win to put it back in perspective. It will only take two wins to get back to everyone’s goal: winning a championship.
  • How can we beat the Celtics? Here’s my unprofessional opinion that means diddly-squat: Read the rest of this entry »




Windhorst Perfectly Captures the Fans Let-Down

12 05 2010

Game Five was such a let down, it took the sports blog/forum/commenter world by storm. Everyone and their mother had written some sort of reactionary piece expressing their frustration with the Cavalier performance. Myself included.

Such hotheaded venting, combined with the audible boo’s from the home crowd, led many from outside of Cleveland to wonder:

You know about King James... Meet King Windy.

a) Are the Cavs fans spoiled? b) Is he not allowed one bad game? c) Have they turned on LeBron?

The answer to those, hopefully, are: a) No, you jerk. b) Of course he’s allowed to have a bad game and c) No. At least I hope not.

In a special to ESPN.com, Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain Dealer perfectly captures what is bothering Cavalier fans:

“Those numbers [LBJ’s Game 5 Statline] are not why James’ performances have been shocking. Is it his nonchalant attitude that mixes with tentative play when he is trying to make something happen? That is what will be remembered for years and what has thrown so many of his supporters off guard. Read the rest of this entry »





Six Point Swing: How Game Five Turned From Bad to Franchise Derailing

12 05 2010

I hope LeBron James and the Cavaliers prove me wrong. I would want nothing more than them to win the next one in Boston, come back to Cleveland and win game seven for all those fans they disappointed tonight.

Hell, the Atlanta Hawks did it after losing game five at home to the Milwaukee Bucks. So there is still a chance, right?

But as optimistic as I like to be, I just cannot shake the feeling that there is a better chance of Spencer Pratt becoming a likable human being. (For those fortunate enough to be unfamiliar with Pratt, you’ve got a better chance of finding a monkey typing Hamlet.)

LeBron James and the Cavaliers played with little heart and even less regard to the hopes and dreams of city of Cleveland. They mailed it in this game. Gave up. And it was inexcusable.

This was a six point game at half time. Six points. At home. How were they not fired up to come out, play some dominant defense, take the lead and pump up the crowd? Six points was all it had to take.

What happens?

Six points — for the Celtics, courtesy of Ray Allen within the first 30 seconds to open the second half.

All it would have taken was a measly six points to get back into the game. Unfortunately, all it took was a measly six points to completely deflate the Cavaliers. Read the rest of this entry »





Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde: A Tale of Two Cavs This Postseason

10 05 2010

LeBron James promised fans a “different monster” this post-season. Since this proclamation, fans have only caught glimpses of said monster.

The 2010 post-season has been more of a Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde act, with unfortunately more of the easy going Dr. Jekyll showing up at tip-off than the fearsome Mr. Hyde.

"I'm lookin at the Man in the Mirror. I'm hoping he can change his ways."

The monster, or Mr. Hyde, has shown its face in just three games. Games 1 and 4 of the first round, and then Game 3 of the second round. Each time, there was an extra source of energy coming into the game.

Game 1 was the first playoff game and the Cavaliers were tired of answering questions about the effect of resting players — so they came out and dominated. The other two games followed losses which aided the Cavalier sense of urgency.

In each of those games, you could see the potential of this Cavaliers team — the “different monster” that LeBron had alluded to earlier. It’s just too bad that this “different monster” has a Hulk-like need to be agitated in order to reveal itself. Without any increased pressure before a game, the tame Dr. Jekyll comes to play. Read the rest of this entry »





Cavs: Cleveland Fans Deserve Better than that Game 2

4 05 2010

If it looked pretty flat and smelled pretty flat. Then by golly, the Cavs played flat.

It was as if Rajon Rondo took a galion roller to the Cavs roster. To provide a visual, Rondo played the role of Austin Powers while the Cavs embodied the absent minded security guard in the following clip:

Terrible. Cleveland fans deserve better.

If the Round 1 Game 3 loss to the Bulls served as an innocent wake-up call to the Cavs, this Round 2 Game 2 loss should serve as a disrespecting slap in the face. I was glad the Cavs lost that third game to the Bulls. I’m terrified that they lost this game 2 to the Celtics.

The Bulls were a young team with little veteran leadership, and the Cavs lost an away game. Minor bump in the road. On the other hand, the Celtics are a team full of veterans with playoff experience and a championship ring to their name that just beat the Cavs in their house. They also head back to Boston knowing that they just out dueled the Cavaliers in 3 out of 4 halves played. And in Cleveland, nonetheless.

Tonight, the Celtics stole both the momentum and the home court advantage for the series. This is a big deal.

The Cavs started slow and finished slower. Sure, they had a decent run at the end. But it was too little too late. The message had already been sent: They took this team too easy, and the Celtics made them pay.

After a sluggish start in the first quarter, the Cavs went on a decent little run to pull within 1 before a Rondo 3 to end the quarter put Boston up 4. Second quarter? Same thing. Slow start, Boston begins the quarter with a 9-0 run followed by a Cleveland run that pulls it back to within 4 going into halftime.

I was already worried at this point. It seemed obvious that the Cavs were taking the Celtics lightly. Sure, we started off slow and they might be winning now. But we can turn it on later and get the victory. No big deal.

I think this overconfidence will prove to be the Cavs Achilles heel. That, and free throw shooting.

They don’t seem to play with a sense of urgency unless they have a fire lit under their butts. In Game 1, it was Mo Williams dunk that sparked a Cavalier comeback. In Game 2, it was a “Holy Sh*t, we’re down 20 with only 8 minutes left.” As we all unfortunately know, that “Holy Sh*t” moment came too late.

With home court advantage now in the favor of the Celtics, hopefully the fire is aflame under the collective Cavaliers butt. The sense of urgency begins now.

Cleveland fans deserve a better performance than they saw in Game 2. We are a proud, championship starved city that sticks with their teams through thick and thin. Regrettably, its usually a lot more thin than thick.

But with this 2009-2010 Cavs, they are the thick. Thickest team we’ve had in a while. All Cleveland fans want is to see them play with heart for 48 minutes.

We don’t deserve an “Ah, we can get ’em later” attitude and halves that are effectively mailed in.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this Cavs team should win a championship. Now its up to them to hold a blowtorch to their rears, play with some heart, and win one for the City of Cleveland.





Cavs – I want some mo of Mo.

3 05 2010

With about 5 minutes left in the third quarter, the Cavs trailing by 11 and playing even worse, Cleveland needed a lift.

Enter Mo Williams.

After stealing an errant Rajon Rondo pass, Williams raced down the court with LeBron James to his left and Paul Pierce ahead ready to go up for a block. I don’t know about you, but as this play unfolded I was thinking: “Alley-oop to LeBron. Alley-oop to LeBron!” But Mo Williams had a different idea in mind. Completely disregarding the taller Pierce awaiting him near the basket, Mo Williams rose up and threw down a dunk, effectively posterizing Pierce.

It pumped up the crowd, it pumped up the team, it even pumped up Mo himself, who decided to go on a tear that third quarter by putting up 14 points. Most importantly, it sparked a Cavaliers comeback to beat Boston and take the series opener.

Actually even more importantly, it triggered one hilariously unintentional comedic response from Mike Brown. Seriously, Cheech and Chong could have come up with a response that sounded less stoned. Check out the dunk + Mike Brown reaction here:

Now when this play happened, I knew it was a big deal. But I didn’t grasp how big of a deal it was. Here are some cool tidbits about the Mo dunk:

  • It was only Mo Williams second career dunk. As in ever. As in he’s only dunked twice in the NBA. Ever! I couldn’t get over that. It’s also his first career dunk as a Cleveland Cavalier. It couldn’t have come in a better time.
  • Not only did the dunk feel like the turning point of the game, it literally was the turning point of the game. For proof, I’ll provide this little stat bubble, courtesy of ESPN.com:

Via ESPN.com: Mo Williams Dunk proves to be the turning point of Game 1

  • That little box really says it all. Before the dunk, the Cavs were shooting poorly, playing bad defense and were down 11. After the dunk, the Cavs played better offensively, defensively, and outscored the Celtics by 19.
  • Mo’s stand out performance in Game 1 wasn’t limited to one play either though. He played well throughout and put up a pretty solid statline: 20 pts, 5 rebs, 6 assists, 1 steal, and only 1 turnover.
  • Interesting note about Mo’s night: Zero. That’s the number of 3 pointers Mo Williams made in Game 1. That’s right. The three point shooting point guard had that big of an impact while going 0-3 from beyond the arc. Normally when Mo has a big night, he is on fire shooting threes. Saturday night, he found other ways to do it. Impressive.
  • Now, I normally could care less about the +/- statistic, but Mo had an impressive +23 on the night. I couldn’t ignore that. It was more than double the second highest +/- number (Antawn Jamison had +11), and was more than triple of LeBron (+7)!

In my Round One in Review, I wrote that Mo Williams needed to step it up. In Game 1 against Boston, he answered the call. He didn’t just step it up, he bought a stairmaster.