Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thoughts on December 2nd

Many people in Cleveland are excited for Thursday's game against LeBron and the Heat.  I am but I'm not, if that makes any sense. I'm anxious to see how the night unfolds but I'd be lying if I said I didn't have major concerns... both on and off the court.

First, the basketball worries:

It sure is Pile on LeBron Week, huh? Everyone seems to be hating on LeBron and the Heat. There's a coach bump controversy and planted stories.  We got Bill Simmons calling the Heat weak and predicting that they'll get blown out on Thursday. And Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski simply takes LeBron to the woodshed in his latest column:
The fundamental problem for Spoelstra isn’t that James doesn’t respect coaches – he doesn’t respect people. Give LeBron this, though: He’s learned to live one way with the television light on, and another with it off. He treats everyone like a servant, because that’s what the system taught him as a teenage prodigy. To James, the coach isn’t there to mold him into the team dynamic. He’s there to serve him.
Wade was one of the Team USA players who’d watch incredulously as James would throw a bowl of fries back at a renowned chef and bark, “They’re cold!” Or throw his sweaty practice jersey across the court and command a team administrator to go pick it up. Everyone wants James to grow out of it, but he’s never showed much of an inclination for self-examination and improvement. And he’s never surrounded himself with people who’d push him to do so.
What’s more, the timing of this leak was no accident, because James and his business manager had to like the idea of someone else going on trial this week. When the public wanted to talk about James’ return to Cleveland, about the callous way with which he left, about the disjointed start in Miami, they thrust everything onto Spoelstra.

Oh and that's not all, for some reason we're caring if he throws his stupid chalk or not

Maybe I'm crazy, but aren't the conditions perfect for LeBron to throw down an absolutely monster "Eff You" game on Thursday? 

LeBron James is the reigning two-time MVP, is he not? The guy is a world class ass but I believe he's still a pretty damn good basketball player.  One of the best.  Ever. 

(Or has the month of November in the 2010-11 NBA season changed all that?).

And you gotta figure LeBron is going to be a little motivated on Thursday, no?  He's taken an absolute beating in the national press and he'll be facing most hostile non-Ron-Artest-fighting crowd of the last 20 years. He's suffered rumors about his mom. He's been called a quitter.  The guy has every reason to be amped up and ready to bring it. 

Let's not forget he'll be playing in an arena he's extremely familiar and comfortable with (at least with regards to sight lines and things like that) and he'll be going up against Jamario Moon and Anthony Parker, (who he faced in practice every day all last season). *gulp* 

I know it's fun to hate on the Heat right now; they look petulant, childish and overwhelmed.  It's great. HAHA IT'S NOT AS EASY AS YOU THOUGHT, YOU JACKASSES! 8 OR 9 TITLES? YOU SHOULD'VE STAYED IN CLEVELAND, AT LEAST THE CAVS TRY HARD AND PLAY D!

I totally get it.  I love it too. Every time Miami loses I'm immediately put into a good mood. Karma and all that jazz.

But I can't get past the fact that we're just one month in to a six year experiment.  The NBA has an absurdly long season (and postseason!) and due to injuries and Wade's divorce proceedings, Miami didn't get a lot of work during the preseason. This early stretch is basically their training camp and there's roughly 60 games until the playoffs. Yes, they're struggling, but they got time. 

I really hope that the Cavs win on Thursday.  This city and area needs a boost.  But despite Miami's struggles, this is by no means a sure thing. Remember when Chris Bosh was taking some flack and the Heat fed him straight from the get go in a route over the Suns.  What's to stop them from doing the same thing with LeBron?  The Cavs counter with... Andy taking a charge? The big and powerful J.J. Hickson hammering LeBron near the rim? Antawn Jamison doing something useful? We're trusting Parker and Moon to check him? Awesome.

The Cavs, like most teams, don't have an answer for LeBron James.  I don't care how bad Miami is playing, this scares me (I'm not saying he's gonna go off, LeBron could totally blink in the face of all this negativity.  I really have no idea. But I certainly don't think it's out of the question that he has a big night).

The non-basketball worries:

I'm not so much concerned about the Cleveland crowd as I am about some knuckleheads in said crowd. All it takes is one jackass to throw something and the entire city is going to be smeared. After this past year (and counting), do you really think the national media isn't salivating at the chance to wag their finger at us unruly, uncouth, meat-head Cleveland fans? I mean, really?

I'm willing to bet that a lot of people aren't showing up to The Q to catch a basketball game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Miami Heat but rather to give LeBron a piece of their mind.  I've seen the angry tweets and have heard the bar room bravado (search me all you want, I can still throw my AA batteries from my camera HAHAHA!).  People are fucking pissed and they're going to let LeBron know about it (look at how we treat Braylon Edwards).

The other day, I was struck by something Dave Dameshek said during a podcast with Simmons, that sports matter so much to people in cold weather cities because good teams make the winters so much more bearable.  I completely agree with this.

Cleveland was hit hard by the foreclosure crisis and is hemorrhaging jobs. The our local government is ineffectual and corrupt, our sports teams haven't won a title since the 60s and the weather sucks for six months a year.  Having LeBron on the Cavs was a ray of sunshine during the bleak winter months. Being able to look forward to Cavs game on a random Tuesday night in January was really, really nice.  Plus, there's nothing better than when the city gets behind a team during the playoffs.

(And conversely, winter is that much worse when our teams stink. Terrible weather combined with putrid sports does not a fun winter make).

So Cleveland fans care. A lot. Probably more than we should. That's one reason why we're so mad. LeBron didn't only only kick us in the nuts on national television, but he ended up going to a team that has to print flyers to remind fans to show up to games on time. "You left us for to play at a half empty arena?! Seriously?!?!"

So that's what worries me.  We care too much. The weather is turning cold, the job market is bleak, our winter sports teams are struggling to play even .500 ball and Thursday presents the opportune time for a knucklehead to get drunk and take out his frustration on LeBron.

That's fine, just as long as that knucklehead isn't throwing things or turning into multiple knuckheads. This is just sports, if people start throwing things, someone could get seriously hurt. And as a city with 10 Cent Beer Night and Bottlegate on our permanent record, I'm not sure we've earned the benefit of the doubt in the "not throwing things" department. I've joked about this with friends, but I kinda want the Cavs to put up a net around the court, US vs Mexico in Mexico City style (still won't stop those bags of urine!).

Generally, I feel like the public is behind Cleveland fans at the moment (though some are growing tired with our bitching). The Heat are a perfectly hatable team and people are piling on LeBron. But a poor showing by Cleveland fans this Thursday will swing that public perception the other way.  If the fans are too unruly and tasteless, LeBron ends up looking like, well, if not the Good Guy, at least someone who was justified in bolting town the way he did.  The whole world will be watching this game, how will we act?

(I hope the crowd boo the hell out of him. I like the idea of chanting "Sidekick" or "Robin" whenever LeBron has the ball or "MVP" when Wade is shooting free throws.  Also, I'm all for quitting, lying and backstabbing signs.  Game 5 references are well within play. Just leave his family out of it, everything else is fair game). 

So those are my concerns about Thursday. I'm concerned that LeBron could drop 60 points and completely eviscerate the Cavaliers... assuming the game even gets under way.

Various other Random Thoughts: 

- I like the idea of both Cavs Chants and Laugh at LeBron, but I feel it's too little, too late.  This is something that needed to be organized weeks ago and there's going to be too much going on to get anything coherent set up. There's also talk of everyone turning their back on him during the player announcements.  I don't see how that'll get coordinated either.  Just have 10-20 really loud dudes (in the lower bowl especially) get on the same page with a "sidekick" or "robin" chant, the rest of the arena should catch on.

- I have a hard time getting myself up for some of these Cavs games (especially if I work through the game).  I've heard people tell me how much more fun these Cavs are to watch, on account of the ball movement and such.  I agree, but only so much. I enjoy the ball movement and running style but you know what's really fun? Contending for a championship.

I love this teams resilience and that they're trying hard every night (for the most part).  But to what end? What's the best case scenario for this season? Beating the Heat on the 2nd and then selling off parts for picks and young players? What does a 40-42 8th seed get them? It's a shame, because if this team had The Guy, they'd be pretty well constructed.  But as it stands... where are they headed?

- I don't see the Heat firing Spoelstra. Pat Riley and his gelled hair may look impressive, but switching coaches won't magically make the Heat be able to guard point guards and centers. Yes, the offense needs work but they have structural roster problems that won't go away.

- That being said, are they not allowed to run Wade-James pick and rolls? Is that really too hard? That seems like it would be unstoppable.

- Here are some LeBron related videos going around the web: LeBron James is a Bitch, Michael Jordan's response to LeBron, LeBron flips out on Cleveland fans.

- I cannot believe that the Browns survived that game against Carolina. That had all the makings of a classic expansion Browns loss. They played well enough to win but were in a position to lose at the end.  Good win, but man, Colt McCoy can't get healthy soon enough.

- Browns Fans :: Peyton Hillis | Germans :: David Hasselhoff

- Just caught up on Boardwalk Empire and Bored to Death. I highly recommend both of these HBO shows. Bored is quirky but really funny and I find Boardwalk captivating, even if they can be heavy handed with the metaphors and modern day allusions.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Give thanks

(Note: If you feel like you've read this before, you did. Last year. I cleaned some things up and moved some stuff around, but the post itself is mostly unchanged.)

While it hasn't always been the case, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday; nothing else even comes close. How can you top a day full of football, family, friends and food? You can't. Other holidays have their perks but none are as close to perfect as Thanksgiving.

Fourth of July comes the closest and, like Thanksgiving, it's a holiday that I appreciate more now as an adult. So you're telling me I get a day off to drink outside and grill with friends and family? What's that? And we get to blow stuff up? Awesome. Fourth of July is great, but not better than Thanksgiving (I mean, how many cookouts do you go to over the summer? At least a few).

New Years Eve? When is the last time that a New Years Eve went the way you wanted it to go? Anyone? Maybe it's just me, I dunno.

Halloween? Don't get me wrong, Halloween kicks ass from ages 1-14 (trick or treating) and then from 18-26 (college girls). I like Halloween and all but at this point, I feel a bit goofy dressing up (there's only so many costumes that go with a full beard/mutton chops) and I can only get drunk in an uncomfortable costume so many times. It's not like Halloween is bad but better than Thanksgiving? No..

Finally, there's the big one: Christmas. Like Halloween, Christmas was awesome as a little kid (presents!!) but I've grown away from it as I've gotten older. There's just too much going on with Christmas; there's the pressure of buying the right gifts, dealing with the insanity of shopping, let alone the religious aspect that barely receives a passing mention. Hell, I'm not even religious and this offends me.

Simply put: there's just too much Christmas. It's gotten too big. It's a month long orgy of shopping malls, lame television specials, sugary treats and greed (with only a token nod to the Baby Jesus). Hell, with Black Friday, we're now letting Christmas attempt to ruin Thanksgiving weekend.

(Short aside: back in Christmas of 2004, I worked at the Barnes and Noble in Easton Town Center. At the time, I was getting emails calling me UnAmerican (I had a column in The Lantern, Ohio State's paper, and wasn't a fan of one George W. Bush) and the American news media still reported on the war in Iraq. Now, if you've never been to Easton, it's fairly ritzy shopping plaza and I can't even begin to tell you how elaborate the decorations were inside the actual mall. I swear to God, there entire place was drowned in silver and gold (ed. note: hyperbole) and meanwhile, I'm reading stories from Iraq like this. America: where there's enough money for two-story Santa villages made out of high-end German chocolate but not enough to properly armor the vehicles of our troops. Priorities).

But despite our best efforts, Thanksgiving is still somewhat pure. Yes, radio stations are now playing Christmas music the day after Halloween and Black Friday is threatening to spiral out of control but you can ignore it if you choose. Despite everything, the essence of Thanksgiving is still there. Thanks-giving. A day to give thanks.

It's so simple but yet so beautiful. A (uniquely American) day to reflect on all the things you're grateful for. How great is that? A day not to look at the negatives in life but to accentuate the positives. Be thankful for your friends and your family, your job and your health.

 It's far and away my favorite day of the year.

Every Thanksgiving day since 1999, I've played in a pickup football game dubbed (very originally) Turkey Bowl with various friends from High School and a random assortment of their cousins, in-laws or friends-of-friends.

Is it cold and wet? Of course (it's Ohio in November). Are we all hung over and/or horribly out of shape? Yup. Do I hurt for 5 days after? Yes. Is it worth it? Abso-fucking-lutely.

This is the one time a year I see a lot of these guy. Some are home from college while others are simply back in town for a weekend before going back to Real Life. The games are somewhat competitive and there's usually at least one or two dumb/awesome laterals thrown in there for good fun. It's a couple hours of trash talk, laughing and hitting amongst old friends. What's not to love?

After I crawl home from football, there's the Thanksgiving meal with my extended family. Turkey, ham, potatoes, stuffing, pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce... Yes yes and yes. Seriously, sitting down for a giant meal with family members I rarely get to see is not a bad way to refuel after a couple hours cold-weather football. Plus after dinner, I can fall asleep on the couch watching even more (mediocre) football. Huzzah!

As you can tell, I adore Thanksgiving. Easily the day I look forward to the most each year. Too often we focus on what we don't have rather than what we do. Thanksgiving is a day set aside to correct this oversight. I'm thankful for my loving parents, my brother and sister and our extended family. I'm grateful for my pets and for all of my friends as well as my co-workers.

I'm also quite grateful to those of you reading this right now. I'm definitely not a big blog (or, heh, your most reliable blogger) but I know more than a few of you keep coming back. I'm still very much blown away that people who I've never met visit this place (or give me a forum) to read my incoherent ramblings on the Cavaliers and Cleveland sports.

Thank you.

I hope everyone has a happy and wonderful Thanksgiving.

Ray Davies (of the Kinks) - Thanksgiving Day

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Cavs - Hornets

I was being good. I was all set to watch and write about the Cavs game in New Orleans. The first half was pretty good (Jamison was quite hot) right until the Hornets went on an 18-2 run to close the half. Ugh. The Cavs missed a lot of good looks but they also shot a ton of threes.

Then I switched over to ESPN for the end of the Celtics-Thunder game. Do the Thunder have set plays? I know Kevin Durant was out and Russell Westbrook had to be The Guy for a night but their entire fourth quarter offense was Westbrook forcing jumpers.  They survived but damn, that was ugly.

Then I switched back to the Cavs game.  They cut the lead to 13 heading into the fourth but things still didn't look good. J.J. was gettng absolutely abused by David West (34 points, 11 boards) and Cavs trailed 86-68.  I'll be honest, after Joey Graham got ejected for a flagarant 2 and Jawad Williams started doing terrible Jawad Williams things, we turned off the game and put on Boardwalk Empire pilot (me gusta).

So, needless to say, I missed the Cavs storm back and somehow pull within three (104-101) with 21 seconds to go. How this happened? Well, it looked like some treys finally started to fall (Gibson had two and Parker had one in the rally) but it was too little, too late. I gotta say, I did not expect these guys to keep playing hard down 18 with 10 minutes to go. So, um, good for them! And shame on me for not watching the whole game. But once Fox Sports Ohio started showing CBS commercials over top of the game (Hawaii Five-oh!) and Joey Graham got ejected, our patience pretty much ran out.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

You Just Have To

Rob Parker, of ESPN New York on the tackling of the Jets fan:
You hate to paint an entire city with a broad brush. But in this case, you just have to. This might be the meanest, dirtiest thing to happen in sports.
Excellent point. Sure, you don't want to use one individual to pass judgement on an entire city and fan base but this time it's OK. Because... well, you just have to.  Hooray logic!

The Cleveland Frowns have much more on this story, including eyewitness accounts and many questions including: how does a grown man attack a child in front of a crowd of people without starting a fight or  someone taking a cell phone video or calling the police? The reason we even know about this story is because the mom (who wasn't there) told the Plain Dealer after the fact. 

But sure, blame the whole city of Cleveland because one asshole acted like an asshole. Someone from New York and/or ESPN shitting on Cleveland? Unpossible!

And speaking of assholes acting like assholes, Clevelanders aren't going to be rallying around Scot Raab for getting himself banned from Miami's American Airlines Arena, are we?

Raab (who I've written about previously) is a writer for Esquire (we also both had articles in the Cavs Zine) and was denied a press pass for Miami's home games mostly because he spends his time on Twitter creating #WhoreofAkron hashtags and tweeting nasty things to LeBron James

I certainly understand being pissed at LeBron and all that jazz.  But you lose me when you use childish nicknames (LeQuit, LeDouche, Whore of Akron, etc) in your pieces or take time out of your day to tweet nasty things to LeBron. If LeBron is such an asshole and liar and quitter and blah blah blah blah, why waste your time on him?

I mean, I'm sympathetic with the "us against the world" view of Cleveland sports as much as anyone, but I have a hard time working up my righteous indignation over this situation.  Raab is a great writer and a passionate Clevelander but I can certainly understand the Heat not giving him a press credential.  Can you really blame 'em for not credentialing the Whore Of Akron guy? 

Basically, if our choice is James (the athlete who stabbed the city in the back) or Raab (the national writer who tweets nasty, childish things all day), I choose neither.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Shocking News

It's like shooting (and missing) whenever you feel like it doesn't get you into Coach Scott's good graces:
Graham is a licensed pilot, a trained chef and an accomplished musician. He credits his father for making his sons educated and well-rounded. Joey certainly fits that.

Now Byron Scott seems committed to finding out if he can play. Scott confirmed today that Graham has moved ahead of Jawad Williams in his rotation. He wants to give Graham a fair chance and find out what exactly he can give the Cavs besides a low post presence and the ability to hit mid-range jumpers consistently. If Graham can rebound and defend consistently, he could really push Jamario Moon for minutes at small forward.
I was less than thrilled at the Graham signing but he sure was a breath of fresh air Tuesday night against the Sixers. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised.

As for Jawad Williams.... he's been a disappointment (4 ppg on 33% shooting). He was mediocre at defense and offensively, he seemed to think he was allowed to shoot whenever he got the ball.  It was ugly. Between him and Jamario Moon, the Cavs small forward position was awful.

Graham isn't going to set the world on fire but he should be able to give the Cavs something.

Welcome to the rotation, Joey.

Can't Wait for December 2nd

Not a good sign:

An 8-year-old New York Jets fan was tackled by an adult Browns fan after Sunday's game, according to a television station in Cleveland.

The boy went to the game at Cleveland Browns Stadium in a Jets jersey with his father, who was born in New York. Much to the chagrin of the local crowd, the Jets rallied for a 26-20 overtime victory. The boy's mother, identified only as Danielle by ABC affiliate WEWS because she didn't want to reveal her last name, said the fans in the stadium were great, but things got out of control after the game.

"Calling him a bad word, to my husband and to my son, throwing food at them," she said, according to WEWS.

When the family reached the parking lot, the situation got uglier.

"As [my husband] was walking, holding my son's hand, a guy from behind tackled him. A drunken Browns fan tackled him and pulled him out of his dad's hand. He was on the ground crying," Danielle said, according to the station.

The boy was left with a scraped and bruised ankle. The mother said her husband didn't call police, opting instead to quickly get in the car and leave. But the mother wrote a letter to The Plain Dealer in Cleveland detailing what happened.


I'm definitely think there's a chance that the December 2nd Cavs-Heat game will never get started (assuming Bron-Bron shows up).  If Cleveland fans are tackling 8 year olds (and I'm fully aware that this asshole isn't representative of our fans, but still) then I'm not sure what's off limits.  Hell, look at how nastiness thrown Braylon Edwards's direction.  LeBron is gonna get all of that and much much more.

This is an area that has no jobs, shitty weather and lots and lots (and lots!) of sports heartache. It's not even the majority of fans I'm worried about. Much like the post-Michigan riots, I worry that the Heat coming to town will be the perfect excuse for knuckleheads to act up.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Missed opportunity

Cavs had a chance to sweep the home-and-home but just ran out of gas.  I liked a lot of what I saw (mostly in the first half) but they have to take better care of the ball.  Part of it is focus (paying attention, making quality passes, knowing where you are on the court) and part of it is just trying to do too much.  They can't really afford making a lot of unforced errors (or have the biggest shot of the game be an Anthony Parker running, turnaround, fade-away trey).

Antawn Jamison played well (14 points, 9 boards) but Hickson only gave 'em 15 (good) and 6 (not good) and Mo struggled (shooting 4-11 while getting torched defensively) before leaving with an injury.  Ryan Hollin is like a taller, rawer version of Hickson.  I like a lot of what Hollins does offensively but he played 13 minutes and grabbed just 2 boards (he did 11 points).  The playing time is there for him, he just has to produce.

It wasn't a terrible loss (it's not like they slept walked or went through the motions), but after beating a team in their home building, it would've been nice to do it in Cleveland.  Also, I feel like Fred McLeod could call a game with an Austin Carr soundboard and there'd be no noticeable difference.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cleveland 93, New Jersey 91

Solid win, good road trip.  The Cavs beat the Nets to finish 3-0 on their three game road trip (against Philly, Washington and New Jersey, but still).   Their starters didn't play particularly well but Cleveland moved teh ball well (27 assists) and got major production from it's bench (outscoring their New Jersey counterparts 52-15). J.J. Hickson led the way with 18 points and 10 boards but the big story was Antawn Jamison (who looked like he actually a gave a shit), who finished with 15 points, 8 boards and 3 assists.

The Jumpshooter (worst nickname ever?) did more than just stand around and shoot.  Antawn looked engaged.  He moved without the ball (beating the entire Nets team down the floor for an easy bucket) and actually moved with the ball (scoring on floaters and setting up others with his drives).  In short, he showed all facets of his game and was very effective.  The Cavs are going to need more games like this from Jamison.  They're a much tougher team to guard when Antawn is active and aggressive.

The ending was kinda crazy.  Jamison hit a trey with a little over two minutes left to give the Cavs a 86-82 lead. After a defensive stop, the Cavs were scrambling (Boobie got his shot blocked) and the ball ended up in Anthony Parker's hands and he hit a rainbow three as the shot clock expired (Cavs lead 89-82).  Leading 91-85 with 21 seconds to go (after Jordan Farmar blew two layups), the game seemed well in hand but then Jamison was whistled for a terrible foul (you really couldn't have gone up any straighter) and gave Anthony Morrow three freebies (which he made).  The Cavs sealed it with two free throws from Parker (which is nice, considering the Cavs nearly gave the game away at line by going just 12-22).

J.J. Hickson: productive. Hickson played only 25 minutes but shot 8-14 on his way to 18 points and 10 rebounds.  I'm more impressed with the 10 boards (3 offensive) than the points.  I want to see to him notch double digit rebound totals on a regular basis. Against New Jersey, he was active and decisive (finishing nicely near the basket) and he was knocking down his midranger jumper.

It was not Mo Williams best night. Mo, coming off a nice finish against the Wizards, never got it going.  He shot a woeful 1-12 from the floor and never found a rhythm offensively.  Williams ran the pick and roll with a couple of Cavs bigs (Hickson, Varejao, Jamison) but his passes always seemed a bit behind.  I like (re: LOVE) using him and Hickson in the pick and roll, but their timing just isn't down yet.  Ramon Sessions stepped up in Mo's place, providing 15 points and 5 assists (including 7 and 3 in the fourth period, respectively).

I expected Brook Lopez would've hurt them more.  With 16 points and 8 boards, Lopez certainly didn't put up bad numbers but he only shot 6-18 from the field.  I give a lot of credit to Anderson Varejao, who looked healthy as he pestered Lopez for much of the evening. Aside from Travis Outlaw (27 points, 4-7 3pt) the rest of the Nets didn't really give Lopez a lot of help. I would've liked to see more of Derrick Favors, who grabbed 7 boards in just 15 minutes and looks like he'll be a load to handle down on the block.

and finally...

What? You guys again? The Cavs face the Nets in Cleveland tonight to wrap up their early season home-and-home. I'm interested to see how guys like Hickson and Lopez play after already seeing the defensive schemes (will Lopez handle Varejao better? Will Hickson get as many open looks? etc).  Hopefully, the Cavs will continue to share the ball and not have a let down at home after going 3-0 on the road.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Eight isn't enough

In this nice article about J.J. learning the Princton Offense, we find this little nugget:
Scott said Hickson will never be Jamison and stretch a defense to the 3-point line, but he is comfortable with Jamison shooting from as far away as 17 feet.

But there is a tradeoff. If Hickson is 17 feet away, he's not in position to rebound. With Jamison's knee bothering him thus far, the Cavs are deficient in rebounders after Anderson Varejao. It's why Scott began harping on Hickson to be a better rebounder.

Hickson responded with eight rebounds in the victory over the 76ers last Friday in Philadelphia, proving again he is capable of answering whatever demands Scott throws at him.
Eight rebounds? That's enough to answer Coach Scott's demands? Really? Eight. From your ├╝ber-athletic starting power forward? Umm... no

J.J. has the size and ability to average eight per game.  He should get eight boards simply by being on the court for 35 minutes. Hickson should not get praised for eight boards.

Speaking of rebounds, Jason Whitlock lays into Chris Bosh for not getting enough of 'em:
Bosh had one rebound against the Hornets. He’s averaging 5.4 boards through seven games -- five fewer than he averaged in White Vegas last season.

Udonis Haslem and Joel Anthony can’t fix this. They’re not long enough, bulky enough, tough enough, talented enough or hyper enough to give the Heat what they’ll need to beat the serious title contenders (Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Antonio) or maybe even the pretenders (New Orleans, Orlando, Atlanta) in a seven-game series.

Miami’s lone 7-footer, Zyndrunas Ilgauskas, is a spot-up shooter. He’s not a defender. He can only give the Heat 15 good minutes.

Jordan’s Bulls not only employed Rodman and Grant, but Phil Jackson kept a stable of assignment-sound big defenders (Bill Cartwright, Luc Longley, Bill Wennington, Will Perdue, Scott Williams).

Bosh has to step up. This week.

 By Christmas, if he hasn’t drastically changed his approach and production, Pat Riley will surely explore every option to move Bosh and acquire a goon.

OK, I’m not an NBA trade expert. I don’t fully grasp how you get the contracts to match up and the value of “expiring” contracts. I’m just going to suggest the kind of players who could make James and Wade as lethal as Jordan and Pippen.
I agree 1000000%.  Bosh is soft. He has to be the guy who's going to get those tough, rugged boards and that's not his game.  I see no way that Bosh is keeping KG, Howard or Gasol off the boards during big playoff games.  He doesn't have the body and he doesn't have that crazy drive that guys like Anderson Varejao and Reggie Evans have.  Rebounding is about wanting the ball more. I don't know if Bosh (or Hickson, for that matter) has the mindset to be that guy.

Speaking of Varejao, Whitlock has an idea for who Miami should pick up:

Cleveland’s Anderson Varejao and Houston’s Luis Scola should be at the top of Riley’s wish list. 
Varejao is ideal. He’s high energy. He’s 6-10. He’s played with LeBron. Scola is off to a ridiculous start in Houston, putting up 22 and 12 through six games.
There is no way in hell that the Cavs are trading Varejao to LeBron's Miami Heat (and, once again, if LeBron had such terrible teammates, why should other teams want them?). First of all, the Cavs already have all of Miami's pick from the LeBron sign-and-trade and the Heat have no young talent. Secondly, if you think Dan Gilbert is going to give LeBron the pieces to win a title, you've got another thing coming. Third, seriously, who would Cavs even want from the Heat?

I will say that Varejao is one of the more attractive, tradable Cavaliers.  He can rebound and defend, he's signed fairly cheaply (thanks to that awful awful GM Danny Ferry) and he's still young (only 28).  Andy is a great fit for a contending team. I just can't imagine that team being the Heat (I've said it before, but Oklahoma City is the perfect spot for Andy. It makes too much sense).

It wasn't the flash

Braylon Edwards never shuts up:
Former Browns receiver Braylon Edwards, who will come to town Sunday with his 6-2 Jets, got his homecoming party started early this week with the following Tweet on Monday:

"And before I take off and forget, all you Cleveland browns fans, 17 is coming back and you better bring ya [darn] popcorn."

 Edwards, who was traded to the Jets last season, knows he won't be warmly received, especially after telling the New York Times earlier this season: "There's nothing going on in Cleveland. There's no real estate. There's no social life, no social networking. All the people who have something going on leave Cleveland. So Cleveland has nothing, and I came in there with a New York-type of essence. So what? That was the attitude I came in with. Like, this is who I am. They didn't like the flash."
It was never that Braylon was from Michigan or that he had "the flash" and us dumb Clevelanders don't like  shiny things. I can't speak for anyone else (but as a life long Clevelander and an Ohio State grad, I will), but what pissed me off was all that dropping of the football. Us boring Ohioans can live with the attitude if it comes with the on field production (see: the entire LeBron James era), but if you fuck up and still act like an asshole, well ya, there's gonna be some issues.

I don't think this is a particularly hard subject to grasp. Not dropping footballs = happy fans (you get millions of dollars to catch a ball for a living. If you fail to catch said ball, well, fuck you). But if Edwards is looking to egg on Browns fans, maybe he isn't that bright.

Meanwhile, Coach Mangini refuses to name a starter for the Jets game.... sneaky!

Friday, November 05, 2010

"Cleveland's Response to LeBron"

South Park isn't the only one to parody LeBron's "What Should I Do" video:

I go back and forth on stuff like this.  On one hand, this is really well made and pretty cathartic.  What should I do? Don't dick us over on national television, you douche! And then don't kinda sorta apologize or ask for sympathy in a fucking shoe commercial. Way to speak from the heart, bud.

But on the other hand, we're gonna have to get past this sooner or later, right?  Yes, it's only been a few months (which is forever in the internet era) but at some point we have to move on from getting dumped.  Life goes on. The sports world sympathizes with Cleveland at the moment, but a few more videos like this (or a really ugly display on December 2nd) and we're gonna lose any good will we've built up. LeBron didn't bad mouth the city or the fans, he went to play for another franchise (in the most asshole-ish way possible, but still. No one died or anything).

(Also, I'm really really really really concerned about December 2nd. Please guys, don't do anything embarrass our city. Booing: OK.  Throwing stuff: Not OK).

I will say that I enjoy that they point out that LeBron quit in the Boston series.  This really can't be said enough, in my opinion.  LeBron and the rest of the Cavs quit.  This was the franchises' best chance to win the title and they gave up before the final horn sounded. I know his teammates were the worst players in the history of the NBA and all, but LeBron James quit. That's on his permanent record.

But ya, good video. Well done. I'm fairly certain I know the one girl (hi, Adey!), so that's neat.

What to do with Antawn Jamison

The veteran forward hasn't been shooting well, he's been hurting and he doesn't like coming off the bench. Awesome.

From the Plain Dealer:
The knee was good enough for practice Thursday -- the first time since playing in Saturday's game against Sacramento -- though Jamison is still questionable for Friday's game at Philadelphia. The 34-year-old has had an MRI and tests that show nothing structurally wrong, and while surgery hasn't been discussed, Jamison also said he is "not going to deal with it throughout the season."

If it sounds like Jamison is frustrated, he is.

"So far, as a whole, this season has been frustrating -- as a team and as an individual," Jamison said. "But this is when you stay positive, continue to work knowing that you're doing the right things and hopefully you get a breakthrough on both parts."

That's why Jamison continues to work on his shooting; he figures it has to get better eventually. Typically, shooting is a strength for the 6-foot-9 forward, but he's hit just 32 percent in three games this season. In the preseason, he was 8-for-38 (.211) and missed one full game and most of another because of his knee injury. 

If the Cavs are going to have any hope of making the playoffs, Jamison has to be a big contributor. But can he do it while coming off the bench?
Jamison's new job as a sixth man requires delicate handling, and he won't say he's unhappy with it. He simply smiles big and chuckles softly. His hesitance in speaking and his face say all the things he can't before he utters the right words.

"It's just an adjustment," Jamison said Thursday. "I'll leave it at that. It's an adjustment.

"My job is to do whatever they ask me to do. I will never question anything. I'm a team player. Whenever they call for me to go out there on the court, I'll be ready to play."

Jamison came off the bench only one other time in his career, when he won the Sixth Man of the Year award for Dallas in 2004. He averaged 14.8 points on 54-percent shooting that season -- the highest percentage of his career -- in 29 minutes per game.

That experience and Jamison's increasing age are both reasons why Scott says he envisioned a smooth transition to the bench. 
On one hand, I feel bad for the guy.  He left the woeful Wizards to come to a championship contender only to wind up back in a similar losing/rebuilding situation. That's gotta suck.

On the other hand, he played like shit in the playoffs (hey! They're gonna throw it over the top to KG! Stop fronting him!!!!!!!) and the Cavs are paying him $14 million a year through the end of next year.

I really don't want Jamison starting.  The Cavs defense is mediocre as it is and I don't think the aging Jamison can keep up with the starting small forwards of the league. Plus, I like the idea of Jamison providing the scoring for the second unit.

However, the Cavaliers' best case scenario is for Jamison to play really well and get traded to a contender. And if he only plays well as a starter, it might behoove the Cavs to start him, just so he can put up some decent numbers. But will a playoff team even want him as a starter? I dunno. It'd be best for everyone if he does well as Cleveland's sixth man.

Before I go, one programming note to pass along. I'm not sure if I'll be able to catch tonight's game against the Sixers. I have company in town and I'm working all day tomorrow.  Not sure if I'll have the time to watch the game (though I'd like to), let alone write it up. Same goes for tomorrow's game against Washington, it's my buddy's birthday and again, company is in town. I'd like to happen, but I won't promise you anything.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Mid Terms

Here's my quick thought: we threw the Republicans out because they trashed the economy and fucked everything up. We elect Obama but he can only get so much done thanks to Republican obstruction and wishy-washy Democrats. So we decide to put the Republicans one of the Houses, even though they've explictly stated they aren't going to change their stripes (tax cuts! deruglation!) and probably won't cooperate with Obama (unless cooperation = doing what the Republicans want).

I have little faith that things will be any better in two years, after more obstruction, bullshit investigations (I'm 50-50 if they'll try to impeach Obama before 2012) and gridlock.  Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the Republicans will act responsible (and this time they really mean it when they say they'll be fiscally responsible!!!)

I'm somewhat bemused by a bunch of my Republican friends on Facebook who, after two years of bitching about Obama and socialism, are upset that they might face budget cuts at the schools where they work.  Well done.

People are in trouble. Foreclosures, 10% unemployment... and our solutions seems to be cutting medicare, social security and other "entitlement programs".   Awesome. That'll sure stop the misery (but onward in Afganistan! Maybe we should also attack Iran!). 

My only solace is that I don't think that there's anyone credible the Republican's can put up against Obama. Plus, in the primary, the Republicans are going to have to run hard to the right (Birtherism, Christianism, etc) but that won't fly in the general.

And hey, at least Harry Reid won... right? Harry Reid? Whooo?


Sorry I've missed the past couple games. I caught most of Saturday's game against the Kings on the drive down to Columbus (Mike Snyder and Jim Chones did an excellent job filling in for Joe Tait) and I was reading during yesterday's loss to the Hawks.

The Cavs need to put together four good quarters if they're gonna beat a team like the Hawks (or like Kings, I guess).  The Cavs had a brutal first quarter against Atlanta and then had to spend the whole game playing catch-up.  Against the Kings, they had a great first half but then blew a 14 point lead during a debacle of a third period.

With LeBron, the Cavs could overcome a terrible quarter.  But, like the Browns, they're good enough to beat anyone, but they can't be spotting them easy points.  If they play well, they can win.  If they have a quarter of brain farts... notsomuch.

That being said, it was nice seeing Mo back in the lineup and J.J. Hickson put up a career high 31 points.  The Cavs were without Antawn Jamison, though I'm not really sure how much he was missed (I am NOT happy with the way he's played in this young season. With LeBron and Shaq, Jamison could float around and pick his spots.  But on this team, he has to shoulder a lot of the scoring load and he simply hasn't).