Monday, April 27, 2009
This is what we wanted to see from the Cavaliers: James was dominating, the Cavs were focused and they beat an inferior team with little to no trouble. Cleveland didn't give away any games, they didn't take any nights off and they played hard throughout. Exactly what you want to see from your top seed. James averaged a ridiculous 32 points, 11 boards and 7.5 assists in the four game sweep. Wow.
The defense was fantastic. Detroit's highest point total was 84 and they didn't break 80 in either game at the Palace. They got a solid series from both Delonte West and Mo Williams (Delonte did a great job guarding Rip Hamilton) and they got nice contributions from the bench (particularly Joe Smith).
So now they have some days off. How many, we're not quite sure. I'm hoping that the Hawks-Heat series goes the full seven (Miami leads 2-1 w/Game 4 in Miami tonight). I'm not really worried about either team but it'd be nice to make Wade have to carry the Heat for a full seven games. (Plus, the longer they rest, the less I personally have to worry about missing games and what not). I'm not worried about them having a long rest. It's a long season and they have every reason to expect it to go on for quite bit. And while this isn't a really old team, their big men aren't young. Getting Ben Wallace and Zydrunas some extra rest is only going to help.
Anyways, it's a good start to the playoffs. The Cavs look ready and determined to win their first NBA Title. James is playing at a high level, the defense looks locked in and no one got too bruised up.
The biggest problem we have is that since the Cavs won't play for a bit, Cleveland fans are stuck watching this ugly Tribe season. Ugh.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Cleveland's defense was fantastic. The Cavs held Detroit to 38% shooting from the floor, 33% from downtown and only let the Pistons score 68 points. That ain't bad. Individually, I thought Z did a fantastic job, recording 3 blocks and a steal while playing very good one-on-one D (Z had a great game overall, 13 points, 6 boards, 3 blocks, 2 assists and a steal). Varejao was great as well, being a general pest and his hustle was outstanding. Detroit didn't score 20 points in a single period.
He wasn't Video-Game James, but he was still pretty awesome. LeBron just missed a triple double, scoring 25 points to go with 11 boards, 9 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks. James could've easily have gotten that 10th assist at any point in the night (Z's halftime buzzer beater was waived off-correctly- and everyone missed everything in the third quarter). LeBron defended Tayshaun Prince (who shot the ball well early on, but finished just 3-10 as he was hobbled by a bad back for the bulk of the game).
Joe Smith was the MVP of the game. Smith came off the bench and gave the Cavs some much needed scoring (especially with Mo and Delonte having off nights) to go with his usual stellar board work. Smith finished with 19 points and 10 boards and he even made a 3 from the corner that put the Cavs up for good (61-58). Joe was a freaking beast on the offensive boards (nabbing 4), routinely out hustling the Piston bigs (though maybe that's not as impressive as it sounds, since Rasheed Wallace quit before the game even started. Seriously, I'm not sure Wallace even broke a sweat).
Williams and West may not have shot well, but I thought they still played good games. Sure, their shots weren't falling, but West still played great defense (Hamilton went 6-17, Stuckey was 5-11 and Bynum was 2-8) and ended up with 5 boards and 2 assists in 33 foul plagued minutes. Besides his shooting, Williams was awesome. Mo dished out 7 assists (could've had 8 if he would've connected with Bron-Bron on an early backdoor alley-oop), often zipping bouce passes off the dribble, netting easy buckets for the bigs like Smith and Andy. Again, this is what good teams (and players do) when shots aren't falling, they step up the D and if the starters are having an off night, someone else steps in to fill the void.
Man, I can't wait for Sunday's home game. The crowd for Game 3 was already sparse and filled with lots of traveling Cavalier fans. Game 4 is on Sunday (off day!), the Detroit is down 0-3 and Michigan's economy is in tank- expect lots of Cavs fans. I really hope the Cavs sweep, we don't need a 5 game series. Just end it. Get some rest (and practice time). None of the other Eastern series look close being finished, so the Cavs could really give themselves a leg up if they lower the hammer on Sunday.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
That's awesome. LeBron using the shoe as the bat may be my favorite. But Mo running up to the camera is pretty funny too. The Cleveland Cavaliers fan in me loves this. It's a bunch of players I've followed fairly closely (at least in previous seasons. HAR!) having a good time. It probably didn't take that long to film and it was just some guys goofing off.
The Cleveland Cavaliers fan in me loves this. The bitter Cleveland sports fan in me isn't nearly as amused.
Look, this team hasn't won shit. They've had a great season and things seem to be breaking their way. But when you do stuff like this and the pre-game picture routine, you better make sure you follow through with a title. If this squad blows it, what do we do? If not now, then when?
I appreciate the fact that stuff like this will endure these players to a whole generation of fans (and this city needs some actual Cavaliers fans), but I'm just worried about focus. Even with the Pistons looking like shit, there's every chance we could be tied 2-2 coming back to Cleveland (who would've thought Atlanta wouldn't get swept after the first two last year?).
I dunno, maybe I'm overreacting, but as much as I enjoy that clip (and I do think it's endearing) I'd rather them cut out the cutesy stuff and take care of business.
Because if they don't win the title, all of this crap will look mighty stupid.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
LeBron James is a beast. James finished with 29 points (on 14 shots!), 13 boards and 6 assists, Once again, he played a complete offensive game. He bulled his way to the rim, he'd post up inside, he'd knock down open jumpers and (of course) he found his open teammates. Brown tried to sneak him a quarter of rest, but when he was forced to put James back in, all LeBron did was throw Mo Williams a 45 foot outlet pass for a layup. Favorite moment: in the second quarter, LeBron was tackled while heading to the rim and two Pistons ended up on the ground while LeBron shrugged them off and kept walking. Seems fitting somehow.
We have some feistiness going on. Amir Johnson was the main Piston in the aforementioned tackle/foul story. Johnson literally grabbed James by the head and shoulders and tried to throw him to the ground (he also pushed LeBron in the back of the head). After the play, Johnson exchanged words with resident goofball Anderson Varejao and ended up shoving a smirking Andy and picking up an technical for his troubles. Then both Kwame Brown and Darnell Jackson picked up Ts as the second quarter buzzer sounded. Z picked up a tech late in the second for arguing a loose ball foul.
I'd say we should expect Rasheed Wallace to pick up his fair share of techs, but that implies he gives a shit. Maybe he knows Detroit is gonna lose. Maybe he's hurt. Or maybe he's just old. But whatever it is, Wallace doesn't move the way he used to and he certainly doesn't give the effort on the defensive end that Detroit needs to have chance at all. And I'm not talking about poor defensive effort when they're down by 20 points; early in the first period (Cavs led 6-2), James got Prince pinned near the hoop and scored on an easy jump hook. Wallace was right there next to Prince and simply watched LeBron jump over him. He should be challenging that shot or at least a doubling. But nope.
Mo Williams had a nice game. Mo set some playoff career highs with his 21 point, 7 assist evening. Williams knocked down 8-13 overall and 2-5 from beyond the arc. His ability to run the offense and score the ball is so vital to this team (newsflash!). He notched 5 points and an assist to star the second period (w/James on the bench). Mo probably could've kept the Piston's late run at bay but he picked up his 4th foul 30 seconds into the final period, so Brown figured he could keep just one starter (West) on the floor with a 29 point lead.
I don't understand the Pistons. On one hand, they simply aren't going to beat the Cavs in a best of seven series. These guys totally could've taken either Boston or Orlando, but they know they have no chance against the Cavaliers. But on the other hand, they do pose some match up problems for Cleveland. Tayshaun Prince can take just about anyone down low, but has scored 6 total points in two games. Why he isn't abusing Wally (or at least making LeBron work and stay home on D) is beyond me. And if I'm Detroit, I'm playing Will Bynum (13 points) and Rodney Stuckey (14 points) together. At least then you'll always have one of them matched up on Mo Williams (he can't guard either). However, I'm not sure how good a team you are if Stuckey and Bynum are scoring all your points (I mean, they did combine to shoot 10-28 in Game 2).
The bench is leaving a little something to be desired. Joe Smith has been the only bench player worth a damn thus far, putting up 5 points (0-2 FG) and 6 boards (3 offensive) in Game 2 (after scoring 13 in the series opener). Besides Smith, there wasn't much. Daniel Gibson wasted most of his 18 minutes of court time, going 1-7 from the floor (1-4 downtown) to go along with a stellar 1 rebound and 0 assists. Meanwhile, Ben Wallace and Wally Szczerbiak logged 8 minutes and did... well, just about what you'd expect (0-1 FG, 2 points, 6 boards combined). The Cavs are going to need to get more from their bench at some point this postseason (just maybe not this series). I like the fact that Gibson kept shooting (and not trying to juke his guy or some other BS) but the kid has to start knocking down shots.
A series doesn't start til someone loses a home game. So the question is, will Detroit show up at home? Seriously, are the Pistons gonna make it a series? I really have no clue. I would've thought some of this Piston-pride would've showed up in Game 2, but they got themselves down by 29 (only scored 50 points through three quarters). It looks like they all know that big changes are a-comin' so I wonder: will they land one last punch before exiting or have they already packed their bags?
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Thursday, April 16, 2009
39-2(*) ain't bad, is it?
The PD has a big list of records this season's Cavaliers have broken (I won't go into it here) but needless to say, this is far and away the best Cavaliers team we've ever seen (plus, in a city riddled with good teams with no star, this Cavalier squad has The Guy). This is the best Cleveland sports team since the 1995 Indians.
I wish I could write more (trust me, you have no idea) but I just don't have the time (and I'd rather not do something at all than do it half-assed). I'm moving on May 1st, so around that time you should begin to see this blog return to form (Random Thoughts from the Weekend, daily posts, etc), at least somewhat (quite space to write!!!!!). There's no reason why I won't be around for the playoffs.
And hopefully, I'll have some bigger, better (bloggy) news once I get settled in to a routine.
In the meantime, fucking enjoy the Cavaliers team. This type of squad doesn't come around very often. Soak it in, Cleveland. Don't worry about the lackluster Tribe, dont' get all bent out of shape over who the Browns draft (odds are, you'll hate the pick). Those franchises are trying to get to where the Cavaliers currently reside: contention.
Worry about the rebuilding franchises come July and August. Turn you attention to the best basketball player on the planet. He's playing in Cleveland.
And his team looks really, really God-damned good.
Monday, April 13, 2009
Which brings me to Manny Ramirez. Manny can't go back to the Red Sox, the Yankees may be done spending for now, the Angels have said no, the Mets don't want him and if was going to be a Dodger, it probably would've happened by now.
So my questions is this: why shouldn't the Tribe throw a lot of cash at him?
Even if they gave him $20 million a year for the next 3-4 years, would it really kill them that much?
First of all, imagine how much excitement the signing would generate and how that buzz could translate into ticket sales/merchandise etc. Bringing Manny back would be a PR bonanza (we're playing to win now).
Finally, he's familiar here. Ramirez actually liked Cleveland (what can I say, Manny is weird) and if no one else scoops him up, it's possible he could be persuaded to come back to his first franchise, no?
Wouldn't he be a good fit here? The fans know him, he'd be good PR, he'd be great baseball-wise and clubhouse-wise (winner, big game player, doesn't feel the pressure).
Well, I wasn't the only one thinking that way:
The thing is, ya, these guys are on their last legs, but they're still productive players (both had 30+ HR last year) and the Tribe could actually use a power hitting DH and corner OF. Depending on the price they take, this would be a huge boost PR wise (the city practically shit itself when they picked up Kenny Lofton in 2007).
"I would like to play for Cleveland one more time, to go back where I started," said Ramirez, with the Dodgers playing their home opener Monday against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium. "I have so many good memories there, why not?
"I think to go back where you started is everyone's dream."
Ramirez, 37, who spent the first 10 years of his career in the Indians organization, shared his sentiments this spring with Chicago White Sox DH Jim Thome. They were teammates in Cleveland from 1993 to 2000, but each departed when the Indians were outbid in free agency. Ramirez left after the 2000 season for an eight-year, $160 million contract with the Boston Red Sox. Thome signed a six-year, $85 million contract after the 2002 season with the Philadelphia Phillies and, after a 2005 trade, is in his final year with the White Sox.
Thome and Ramirez each might be eligible for free agency this winter if Ramirez opts out of his two-year contract. And if they become free agents, Ramirez told Thome, they should both consider returning to Cleveland.
"Manny was very sincere when he brought that up to me," Thome said. "Manny was saying how special that would be for us to both go back together. He was very passionate. Baseball's such a weird thing. You never know what's going to happen."
If Ken Griffey Jr. can return to the Seattle Mariners, Ramirez says, he and Thome could make a last stop in Cleveland before their careers end.
"Me and Thome back in Cleveland?" Ramirez said. "That would be sweet."I love L.A. I really do. But the way the city responded to me, it reminded me a lot of how it was in Cleveland."
Plus, both guys could be chasing some very pretty numbers. Right now Manny is at 527 homers and Thome is at 543, it would be conceivable that both of these guys could be going for 600 homers next season.
Seriously, tell me that watching Manny and Thome hit their 600th in an Indians uniform wouldn't give you chills. Chills I say! (and again, I can't stress this enough, this team could use some veteran power hitters).
(Meanwhile, Travis Hafner has 3 HR already. I'll be really pissed if he actually returns to form only to have the Tribe lose a bunch of 8-7 games).
Friday, April 10, 2009
Lord help us if the Browns take a wideout with the 5th pick. That would be sooooo unbelievably fucking stupid. That's Darko stupid. That's Gerard Warren stupid. That's "let's try Darius Miles at PG" stupid.
5. Cleveland Browns (4-12)Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech: The stress fracture in his left foot shouldn't affect his draft status. He's a big-time player who should have a Larry Fitzgerald-type career in the NFL.
This team has so many holes on the defensive side of the ball. Linebackers, a competent defensive end, playmakers in the secondary... they need 'em all. Taking another wideout (with a stress fracture in his foot!) is absolutely unnecessary.
(What would I recommend? Trade down! Trade Edwards for picks (if you must). Get as many young players as you can. There are lots of holes to fill.)
Thursday, April 09, 2009
The home opener is tomorrow. I'd love to play hooky (hookie?) but no dice. More work.
(also, nice win by the Cavs. Nice to see LeBron be able to sit the entire fourth quarter. That's a good sign. I also liked the actively of both Delonte and Anderson were. They'll need both those two playing at a high level if they hope to hoist any trophies in the near future).
Also also, thank Jeebus the playoffs are coming up. I'm growing sicker and sicker of Austin Carr. And the fact that every casual Cavs fans loves the guys just kills me. I love Austin Carr the person/player, but the broadcaster? Gag me. I thought he was great as a studio host with Jeff Phelps. Repeating catch phrases at every single opportunity is no way to go through life. And Fred McLeod, you aren't helping him by egging him on ("what'd he do there Austin?" "Oh, yea, he got him a biiiiiiiiird"). Ugh.
Monday, April 06, 2009
The Cavs have made a "medically necessary" release of veteran guard Eric Snow on Sunday. It indicates the NBA has approved the team's disability claim for his left knee, wiping him off the books for luxury tax purposes.
In insurance and tax savings, the Cavs will reduce their payroll nearly $11 million with the decision, which has been in the works for about a year.
If the Cavs would be fortunate enough to win a title, does Snow still get a ring? I remember that Boston gave Nomar a ring in 2004, even though he was traded mid-season (random note: I was actually in Boston the day he got dealt. I was attending Last Dispatch).
In other news, I actually fell asleep watching the Cavs-Spurs game last night (tivo). From what I saw, LeBron came out smoking hot (poor Michael Finley) and the Cavs actually played defense. I'm also glad we didn't see any pregame fake photo opts.
Also, I'm mixed on the Darnell Jackson emergence. I'll grant you, he's probably smarter player than J.J. Hickson, but he doesn't have ceiling. With Varejao out (not for long) and Wallace still rehabbing, I was hoping we'd see some more J.J. But guess not. However, I do like Jackson, he's tough, he's always in position and he does the little things. J.J. is probably flashier, but he won't box out Lamar Odom.
Friday, April 03, 2009
And even losing to Orlando, I can take it. It's at least understandable, the Magic are a really good team.
Being down by 40 points? No. Nuh-uh. Not acceptable. These last two games... Christ... The effort has been awful, the offense has been stagnant (I say we try more 3s!) and the defense was consistently late (I'm fairly certain that Rashard Lewis is still open).
Also, I think I know why Coach Mike let all five starters play the entire 3rd period, but I think it's stupid. I would've rather him just sub all five guys out at once. Just send in a completely new five. I'd rather just save their minutes. The game wasn't close, Orlando was getting everything they wanted and they were forcing the Cavs into tough shots at the other end.
However, I don't want to dwell on these two losses. Yes, they've been ugly as fuck, but it's just two games. It just happens to have occurred at the end of the season...
Claiming that determining an unquestioned national champion through a playoff system "went against the very idea of sporting competition," and that the sheer exuberance of college basketball fans was "a shocking and nauseating display of everything wrong with collegiate athletics," top BCS officials roundly condemned the NCAA Tournament Monday.
"I frankly cannot even believe what I'm seeing, and I can't stomach the sight for long," said a pale, trembling Jack Swarbrick, the Notre Dame athletic director who, along with the commissioners of the major conferences, manages the complicated system of polls and computer rankings that make up the Bowl Championship Series in college football. "The elegant logic of actually having teams play one another instead of having a council of their betters select which team is superior to which—that is not what sports is all about."
"And the fans...urgghh...simply enjoy their teams' triumphs or mourn their defeats. Where are the heated arguments? Where are the unsettled disputes that will fester forever?" said Swarbrick, a sheen of feverish sweat curdling on his face. "Oh, God, I think I got vomit on my tie."
Thursday, April 02, 2009
I mean, the Lakers just lost to the Bobcats. These things happen. This was Washington's playoffs. This is the game they're gonna use to push season tickets. This was the end-all, be-all. This is all they had. I'm not exactly surprised they wanted it more.
My only beef is the number of treys the Cavs shot down the stretch (they shot 30 3s over all). I know they were down, but after the Cavs got that offensive board (when Bron-Bron clanked a freebie) and needed a bucket, James simply hoisted a bomb. Meh.
(anyways, I'm still working a ton- I'm gonna go pass out- but things will be looking better come May, once I move. This crappy blog will be much more focused and streamlined come playoff time. Just bear with me a little longer.)
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
It's a site run by the Cavaliers, not a fan site (kinda like CavsFanatic- which is sorta similar to RCF, no?), which makes it 1,000x less clever/cute. (Also, I've been doing the dry "LeBron James is good at basketball" shit for years. Just sayin').
Look, I get that the organization wants to support its players. And that's good (and encouraged) but they sometimes go a bit over the top (like with the Mo Williams all-star snub) and it begins to take away from the team.
Seriously, this team is crazy good. They're one of a handful of teams that has a real chance of winning the title. All the individual awards are cool and it would be nice to have.... but I dunno about you, but if LeBron wins MVP, Mike Brown gets coach of year, Ferry nets GM of the year and Wally Szczerbiak wins the Derek Zoolander lookalike contest without the Cavs, you know, WINNING THE FREAKING NBA TITLE, none of this matters. It's all kinda neat, but the title is the key.
You want respect? Go earn it. Stop whining about snubs and publicly pushing LeBron for MVP. (FYI- he's gonna win it anways). If they keep winning, the awards will follow. Just keep winning.