Monday, April 30, 2007

Game 4 tonight, and a look ahead

Game 4 takes place tonight. So far, the Cavaliers have had their weak moments, but have always managed to get the job done. A 3-0 lead all but seals the deal, especially against an already-weakened Washington team. The Cavs will move on to the second round, it's now just a question of when they will get there.

I won't get into too much detail about what this series would have been like if Arenas and Butler were healthy. Yes, it would have been better and probably had stretched to 6 games, but the Wizards were flailing before the two stars went down. Anyway, it's all speculation. Right now, it is what it is....and it's 3-0, Cavs.

Looking ahead briefly into the second round, I thought Toronto would be the team we'd probably face. They were playing amazing basketball towards the end of the season, tearing it up by going 15-4 (before resting everybody for the final two games). But they just seem to have hit the proverbial brick wall. New Jersey just looks like they're overwhelming them at every phase.

Frankly, I'd rather face Toronto, because I think we match up better. But we've won 2 of 3 against the Nets this year. It's just that the tandem of Kidd and Carter are scary. Again, I think we can handle them....but it won't be easy like Round 1.

Another thing....take a look at the Playoff seedings. We have the chance to make the NBA Finals by defeating the 7th seed, 6th seed and 5th seed. I wonder if that's ever happened?

Psst....go Warriors. Is there anybody outside of the DFW area NOT cheering for Golden State now?

Sunday, April 29, 2007

An interesting stat

8 teams made the NBA playoffs in the Eastern Conference.

2 teams came from the Atlantic Division
3 teams came from the Central Division
3 teams came from the Southeast Division

The two Atlantic teams (NJ and Toronto) are battling it out against each other, while the Central and Southeast divisions have their teams playing each other.

The Central is 11-0 so far. The Southeast is one game away from having their entire division swept out of the playoffs.

Go Cavs....maintain the integrity of the division!

NFL Draft - Day 1 review

There is no way that any legitimate sportscaster can look back on Day 1 without proclaiming that the Cleveland Browns had the best day in the NFL Draft. For the first time since 1986, Cleveland pulled off an amazing draft (and in 1986, it was the supplemental draft that was so incredible, when Bernie Kosar came to us via a trade with Minnesota).

I was dead-set AGAINST taking anybody except Joe Thomas or Adrian Peterson with the third pick in the draft. Our needs for an offensive line are too deep, and Thomas fills a HUGE void....and Peterson is just too good of an athlete to pass up.

The third pick is WAY too valuable, and I did not want to see us waste it. Fortunately, the Browns did not waste that pick when they grabbed Thomas.

As the day wore on, and teams went for their most pressing needs, the buzz around the NFL was growing about where Brady Quinn would end up. When he fell out of the Top 15, people began to look at upcoming teams and who they had at QB already.

Pittsburgh has Big Ben
Green Bay has Brett Favre
Denver has Jay Cutler
Cincinnati has Carson Palmer
Tennessee has Vince Young
The Giants have Eli Manning

It was VERY easy to see now how Quinn could drop into the deepest region of the first round. So when Dallas was on the board, many people wondered how much faith the Cowboys had in Tony Romo. Hell, even if they stayed with Romo as their future, Kansas City is next, and they were not going to pass on this.

And then it happened....NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the trade. The Browns were now on the clock.

I was in a sports bar when the announcement was made. The place went from semi-quiet to an intense buzz in seconds. It only took another two minutes for Goodell to return to the podium with the announcement that Brady Quinn was the new Browns quarterback (and the place erupted, by the way).

Somehow Cleveland ended up taking two of the top 4 players in the draft (accoring to pre-draft predictions).

And while I did NOT want to use the third pick on Quinn, I cannot possibly see how taking him with our second pick is anything but bad. We got a QB and saved MILLIONS to get him.

With their third pick, the Browns took a chance. Eric Wright is a great athlete and a potential star at cornerback. He's got speed and a big vertical leap, and could become a starter right away. But he's got problems.

Two years ago, while playing for USC, he was arrested on suspicion of rape, and when the police searched his apartment, they found a nice big bag of ecstasy. No evidence of rape was ever brought forth, and all charges were dropped. He transferred to UNLV, sat out a year, and had an amazing year last season, helping take his team to a bowl game.

You might not have heard about Wright's problems at USC because....well, he played for USC. When a Buckeye gets a parking ticket, ESPN camps out on the 50-yard-line demanding the football program gets declared ineligible for bowl games. But USC doesn't get that kind of coverage, no sir.

Wright's got potential and all the talent in the world. But only if he gets ahold of his personal life. I've got faith in the kid, let's just hope he has faith in himself.

Draft Day 1 - my grade - a solid A. Way to go, Phil Savage. Thanks for pulling all the right moves. And thanks for NOT getting us the "mad dog in a meathouse".

Oh, and one more thing....I think I might become a Colts fan. They took Anthony Gonzalez AND Quinn Pitcock. Damn.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Please, Browns.....Don't buy the hype

We're about 15 minutes away from the Cleveland Browns being on the clock with the third pick in the NFL draft.

Let me make one final pitch....please, Cleveland....don't buy the Brady Quinn hype. He's not a good quarterback.

Take Joe Thomas. Give yourself a star lineman right now. I'd rather have a good offensive line protecting an average quarterback than a bad QB running for his life.

UPDATE - OH...HELL...YES!!!!!!

I never got to hear the name "Joe Thomas" announced from the podium. As soon as the words "offensive tackle" were spoken, I leapt to my feet and screamed "YES!!!!!!" as loud as I could.

As for the fans who are angry with this pick, I can only say that I have sat through this team drafting high-profile players who continually get clobbered in the backfield. Year after year, the big complaint is "they need an offensive line". Folks, they just drafted a KEY player in that offensive line they have always needed. To hell with the high profile name or the QB who just happens to live near Cleveland, so why not draft him. It's EASY to take the guy who gets all the camera time and get the big cheers from the crowd gathered to watch. It takes courage and brains to go get the guy who will quietly be the man protecting our playmakers.

And as for Brady Quinn....Stanford does not play in the NFL. Neither does BYU, Army, Navy, or Air Force. Had Quinn shown the ability to win big games in college, I might have been in line with drafting him to the Browns. But he had years of chances against the best collegiate teams, and failed over and over and over again.

Friday, April 27, 2007

TBD removed

Monday's Game 4 time has been announced. The Cavs/Wizards will play at 7pm.

That's no big shock to anybody. There's only three games, and the other two are in Houston and Utah.

Here's hoping that's the night Cleveland closes out the series. It'd be nice to finish it in 4 or 5 games while New Jersey and Toronto battle it out for a full 7.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Optimistic? Hell, yes I'm optimistic!

The Cavaliers took a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series against Washington last night. They won 109-102, and they didn't look good doing it. Sure, they had spurts of Drew Gooden scoring 15 points in a 5-minute span, or LeBron James hitting 13 fourth-quarter points....but it was not a complete playoff performance.

And the Cavs still won.

Washington's shooting percentage improved by 6 points from Sunday.

And the Cavs still won.

The Wizards turned the ball over 5 times. Only 5 times.

And the Cavs still won.

LeBron James shot 36% from the floor.

And the Cavs still won.

Most of the above stats would condemn a team to death in the playoffs. Cleveland had an average game, while the Wizards played better than most expected, yet the Cavaliers took the 2-0 lead. I'm not going to be foolish and say that the Cavs are on their way to the Finals....not with play like this.

But they can use this first round to work out the kinks in their play, get ready for the Nets or the Raptors. Not the most ideal thing to do for a playoff team, but it sure beats peaking too soon.

And when the second round arrives, as long as we keep rebounding like last night, we'll be juuuuust fine.

I have to believe that. I'm a Cleveland sports fan.


Oh, and by the way....I have courtside seats to a second-round playoff game at The Q. It's with the most beautiful woman I've ever known. To top it all off, it's a first date.

God dammit, Cavs, don't screw this up for me.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Game 2

While I'm not at all worried about Game 2 tonight, I pray that my boys in wine and gold do not share my relaxation.

No, Washington does not have the weapons, nor the motivation to knock off the 2nd best team in the Eastern Conference. I have no doubts regarding the Wizards' inability to steal four games away from the Cavs. We'll win this series and move on to the conference semifinals.

I believe that they do not have the motivation or the weaponry NOW to take the series. They're on their heels, hoping for a miracle (or at least a quick and painless death).

But you know what could change all that? A Wizards victory at The Q tonight.

Suddenly, the series would be tied at 1-1. The next two games are at home for Washington. Their crowd, sensing upset, would be hitting higher decibels than they've heard in a long time.

And with Caron Butler talking of a Game 3 return, they'd get a weapon back. His return would be mostly an emotional lift, Butler could still hit some key shots (despite being far less than 100%).

Just like that. They'd get motivation and a weapon back on their side. All because of one win.

Yes, tonight's game is important. Washington may be a walk in the park on the way to the second round, but if we treat them like that, they could suddenly turn into a nightmare that we never saw coming.

Something along the lines of Air Force beating Ohio State in the 1990 Liberty Bowl. Get THAT image in your head, and think about what you'd do to stop that awful moment in history.

If you have tickets to tonight's game, you'd better be loud. If you're watching it at a bar or a restaurant, get into the game. The table sitting next to you knows it's playoff time.. If you're a Cavalier and are reading this before the game, get your freaking uniform on and stop reading an insignificant blog. You've got a game to win, for crying out loud.

Get crazy tonight. Game 2 awaits. Tipoff is in 3.5 hours.

Go Cavs!

Deja Vu?

OK, so this picture reminded me of something, but I couldn't quite figure it out.....

Oh, wait. Never mind, now I remember.....does anybody else remember the TV mini-series "V"???

Yeah, that's about right. The only real difference is that Diana has better table manners. Andres Nocioni appears to have left a little guinea pig fur on his chin. Hey, buddy, use a napkin!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I hate the early stages of the NBA Playoffs. No, wait, I don't.

Actually, I love many things about the NBA Playoffs....but the sheer number of games mean that it must be spread out over a lengthy period of time. That ends up forcing teams to have two full days off (even between home games), which kinda gets under my skin.

However, I'm nothing if I don't have the ability to understand both sides of the story. The NBA has to schedule between 32 and 56 first-round games, and each one does deserve a full television audience. Therefore, each team will see a little additional time off between games. It makes sense. Plus, the NBA has yet to ask me if they can avoid "kinda getting under my skin". Until they do that, I have to balance my love for the Cavs with the NBA and their scheduling issues.

Yet, I can't help but be happy about a two-day rest for the Cleveland/Washington series. Everybody who watched Game 1 winced when they saw the replay of LeBron James rolling his ankle on an 8-foot shot. Personally, my heart skipped several beats when he didn't get up right away, and I anxiously shifted about as the commercials kept me from seeing how easily our hero would return to his feet.

James laid on the floor for a few minutes, and did not come out of the game until the fourth quarter, but these type of injuries are actually worse after a night's sleep. So when I read on Monday that James was hobbled a bit (and even missed practice), I got a bit worried. I found myself somewhat overjoyed with a two-day rest period between games, hoping that an additional 24 hours would allow enough time to heal the injury.

Today's news is a big relief. LeBron says he will play in Game 2, after declaring himself at "about 80%" early this morning.

Although it was pure coincidence, this is the one time I will not complain about too much time off between games.


If you find yourself jonesing for the best Cavs highlights of the year, you can find the Top 6 plays over at Cavs Nation. They're asking for fans to vote on their favorite play of the year. The options;

- LeBron dunking over Tim Duncan
- LeBron dunking from the baseline against NO/Oklahoma City
- Anderson Varejao's dunk at the buzzer against Toronto
- Z's behind-the-back pass, leading to a LeBron dunk against NJ
- LeBron's 83-foot buzzer beater at Boston
- LeBron's game-winning blocked shot against Rip Hamilton

I voted for the 83-footer.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Pure class

I fell in love with this picture when I first saw it at Eleven Warriors.....

Pure class, all the way.

Image credit -

Sunday, April 22, 2007

This might be worse than anybody expected

Game 1 is now complete, and despite what the commentators on TNT think, Washington doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell.

The Cavaliers opened up the playoffs with a 97-82 win over the Wizards. Larry Hughes had 27 points, and LeBron James had 23 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists.

Seriously, John Thompson just said that "Washington has to walk away from this thinking like they've done some damage". When he said it, Cleveland was ahead 97-80. Sit down, Thompson, you're officially irrelevant.

TNT's reasoning, if you can call it that, is that Washington had a bad game and they just HAVE to get better. Seriously. That's their summary. One of their key points was that DeShawn Stevenson shot 3-12 from the floor, and that when he shoots better, they'll be able to compete.

Honestly, DeShawn Stevenson?

If Stevenson had shot 11 for 12, it would have given them the 16 extra points they needed. So, yeah it's possible. But it's possible that Scarlett Johannson will someday fall in love with me. In reality, neither is ever gonna happen.

Yes, Washington shot 37 percent from the floor, and odds are that they'll do better at some point during the series. But what Thompson and the rest of TNT fail to recognize is that Cleveland only shot 44% and they too will improve.

What I saw today inspired me. The Cavaliers did not play a great game, but they blew out their playoff opponent. As this series wears on, the Cavs will improve, but I don't really believe Washington has much room to improve. If they are going to take anything away from Cleveland, it's going to require a lights-out performance from one or two unexpected players.

They just don't have the clutch player they can lean on to pull them through the 4th quarter. Antawn Jamison is a great player, and he was deadly when the Wiz had Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler on the floor. Jamison was a perfect choice to bury a big shot when we had to put our best defenders on Arenas and Butler....but now the Cavs have the luxury of double-teaming Jamison, because nobody really expects the rest of Washington to do anything resembling "clutch". I know these guys are all professionals, but Antonio Daniels and Eton Thomas just do not and will not strike fear in my heart.

On an average day, the Cavs won by 15. Imagine what they'll do on a good day.

But on a special note to John you really think that Washington can have a perfect day, good enough to beat the Cavaliers in these playoffs? OK, it's possible. But do you actually think they'll do it four times?

No, I didn't think so.

Here we go!

Since the LeBron James era began, I expect improvement every year from the Cleveland Cavaliers. So far, they have not disappointed. Their number of wins have indeed gone up each season, and the playoffs finally arrived last year.

But in 2006-2007, they finished with the same amount of wins (50) as they did in 2005-2006. So in order to have the improvement I demand from my team, they've got to advance further into the playoffs.

Last season, they won their first round 4 games to 2, and knocked off the Pistons three times in the second round.

Therefore, the only way I will consider this season a success is to get the fourth win in the second round, advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals.

It all begins today with Game 1 against Washington. Tipoff is in two hours. Let's Go Cavs.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Game 1

As mentioned previously, the Cavaliers open up the postseason at home this Sunday. Gametime is 1230pm against the Washington Wizards.

Last year in the first round, the Cavs knocked off the Wizards in 6 games. It was a classic series, with LeBron James and Gilbert Arenas going toe-to-toe in each game. Diehard fans of both teams will not soon forget the Game 6 drama.

Leading by one point, Arenas was fouled with 15 seconds left in overtime. As Arenas stepped to the free throw line, LeBron walked past him and said "If you miss both of these, you-know-who's making the game winner." Arenas missed them both, and LeBron completed the psyche-out by whipping a perfect pass to Damon Jones, who ended Washington's season with a 3-pointer.

But this series will be nowhere nearly as dramatic. The Wizards are without Arenas and Caron Butler....and frankly, even when the pair was active, Washington wasn't as impressive as last year.

The last time Washington won a game against a team that made the playoffs, it was March 6th. Nearly two full months ago. Since that win over Toronto, the Wizards have gone 7-16. Obviously, all 7 wins are against the NBAs weakest teams.

The Cavaliers must come out and play their best, regardless of the opponent and their obvious weaknesses. And I believe that the key to this series will be Sasha Pavlovic.

Since December, Sasha's been improving at a steady pace. Here's his average points per game;

December - 1.8 ppg
January - 6.6 ppg
February - 11.2 ppg
March - 12.2 ppg
April - 13.6 ppg

It should be noted that as the year grew, so did the amount of minutes Sasha saw on the floor. But as his minutes go up, so do his productivity. Give the guy 35 minutes, he'll give you 20 points.

Clearly, the Cavaliers will go as LeBron goes. But Pavs will be tremendously important to their success, and the deeper we get into the playoffs, the more we will need to rely on him.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


It's officially official this time. Greg Oden's going pro. But it gets worse.

He's taking Mike Conley Jr and Daequan Cook with him.

Is it too much to ask Oden to drop in the draft far enough to become a Cavalier? Well, yes it is....since the Cavs don't have a first-round selection this year.

As far as the Buckeyes go, I'm not happy, but I have faith in Thad Matta and his next crop of recruits. It would have been nice to see Oden alongside the new kids, but I do not believe the doomsday predictions.

If anybody tells you we'll be finished without Oden and Conley, ask them if they can remember when the last time Ohio State won a Big Ten Championship without those two players.

The answer is 13 months ago. We'll be fine.

Remember that Steeler fan?

Two weeks ago, I wrote about a woman I know who is a Steelers fan. I wondered aloud if a Browns fan and a Steelers fan could have a relationship.

Today while texting with her, I asked her to go to a Cavs playoff game with me. She gladly accepted, then dropped the bomb on me. She has access to courtside seats.

I freaking love her!

No, I won't become a Steelers fan for her, but I vowed to be her slave forever for this one!

Playoff schedule is released

Cavaliers play Game 1 on Sunday at 1230pm at Quicken Loans Arena.

Without Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler, this is the equivalent of a bye round. But Game 1 is still huge. If the Wizards were to pull off an upset in the first game, it'd be a monumental boost to their confidence. Game 1 cannot be overlooked.

Game 2 is on Wednesday at 8pm in Cleveland
Game 3 is on Saturday, April 28th at 530pm in Washington
Game 4 is on Monday, April 30th in Washington (time TBD)
Game 5 is on Wednesday, May 2nd in Cleveland (time TBD)

If there is a Game 6, I'll be shocked.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

It's over! The Cavaliers are the #2 seed in the East!

The simple fact is, the Cavs took care of business, and the Bulls choked under pressure.

New Jersey embarrassed the Bulls 106-97, sending Chicago down to the 5th seed.

Tonight, the Cavs overtook the Bulls on the final day of the regular season and get a MUCH easier path to The Finals. If everything holds up, the Cavs get a depleted Washington squad, playing without their two best players. The Wizards are already finished and are a shell of a team, walking like zombies through their final 10 games of the year.

Details on the date and time of the Cavs first playoff game at The Q will come later.

By the way, the Cavs magic number is now 0. They did it!

I'd have to say that New Jersey just sent the Bulls a BIG message. "Not in our house."


UPDATE - The Washington Wizards have won, and clinch the 7th seed. The Cavs and Wiz have a first-round rematch starting this weekend! Damn, that is good news!!!!!

One down, one to go

The path of least resistance is only 5 minutes away.

the Cavs buried the Bucks tonight 109-96, giving them 50 wins on the year. But if the Cavs want that 2nd seed, they need New Jersey to knock off the Chicago Bulls.

With less than 5 minutes to play, Jersey leads the Bulls by 9 points.

I wonder if the Bulls blog still thinks I'm a laugh riot for suggesting the Bulls had a tougher final four games than Chicago???

Final day!

OK, you know the situation. The Cavaliers and Bulls are tied with one game to go. Bulls hold the tiebreaker. Winner gets the #2 seed, loser gets the #5 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

The Cavs are at home to play the 28th-best team in the NBA, the Milwaukee Bucks. Milwaukee will be without their best player, Michael Redd. I'm not expecting a very close game.

Meanwhile, Chicago has to travel to New Jersey, where they have lost their last 10 games. The Nets have already locked up a playoff spot, but a win tonight would clinch the 6th-seed. Trust me, Vince Carter and Jason Kidd would MUCH rather play the 3rd-seeded Toronto Raptors than have to see the Cavs or the Bulls, so this one will be a hard-fought win for whoever comes out on top. The Nets can look at it this way - if they lose tonight against Chicago, they have to face the same Bulls team in the first round. That should be motivation....a quasi-one-game-playoff.

Cavs tip off at 7pm, Bulls at 730. Should be very interesting at the Q.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Tonight's potential trap

Tonight the Cavaliers head into Philadelphia to take on the Sixers. For the past week, I've been discussing how Philly would have nothing left to play for by the time we faced them, because they'd be officially eliminated from playoff contention.

Saturday night, when the Sixers lost to Orlando, they were "officially eliminated". The following day they went to Detroit and beat the crap out of the Pistons.

At first glance, you'd think that maybe Philly wasn't ready to lay down just yet. But then a deeper look into the box score shows the real story. Amir Johnson played 35 minutes. Ronald Murray played 26 minutes. Jason Maxiell and Carlos Delfino each played 25 minutes. By the way, these guys are all Pistons. Meanwhile, Rasheed Wallace , Rip Hamilton, and Chauncey Billups were on the court for 13, 19 and 22 minutes respectively.

Translation - the Pistons took a nap. Nobody can catch them in the standings, so they gave their stars a rest.

But don't let that fool you, Cavaliers. This game is dangerous tonight. You NEED to bury the Sixers early, then come home tomorrow and do it again against Milwaukee.

There's still a shot to get the second seed, so don't ease up on the gas pedal now.


ESPN is reporting that if Cleveland loses, Chicago locks up the #2 seed.

NOT TRUE! Not completely true, at least.

If Cleveland loses tonight, and wins against Milwaukee, they finish at 49-33.
Should Chicago lose tomorrow, they too will finish at 49-33.

I know, I know, Chicago wins the tiebreaker and gets the #2 slot anyway. Again, not necessarily.

If Toronto wins tonight and tomorrow, they will also finish at 49-33, creating a three-way tie.

The three-way tiebreaker is head-to-head. If these three teams end up tied, the tiebreaker goes to the Cleveland Cavaliers, based on a 5-3 head-to-head record (Chicago is 4-4, Toronto is 3-5).

Sunday, April 15, 2007

"One hit? That's all we got, one god damned hit?"

This is why I love the Cleveland Indians. They led off the game with a Grady Sizemore double, then never got another base hit for the rest of the game. And they won. Yes, they won the freaking game.

Sizemore's double was followed by a passed ball that moved him to third, and he scored on a groundout. The Tribe led 1-0.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, Casey Blake walked to open the inning. He reached third when Jhonny Peralta hit a grounder to third, and Joe Crede botched the throw. Jose Contreras then walked the bases loaded, and couldn't find the strike zone on Sizemore, walking in the Tribe's second run.

C.C. Sabathia made the 2 runs count, holding down the White Sox for the remainder of the game. C.C. is now 3-0 and the Indians have the best record in the American League.


Oh, and the Bulls laid a serious beatdown on Washington today, 101-68. It's going to take a serious effort from New Jersey to knock them off Wednesday night, and if Chicago plays like they have been, even Detroit should be terrified of them.

Between Chicago and Cleveland, three total games are left in the regular season. All three have to go our way, or the Miami Heat are coming to town for Round 1.

Oden's not a Celtic yet!, the Cavs make it a two-game season

First of all, let me start with Greg Oden.....hold the phones, he's not going pro just yet. He still may enter the draft, but it appears as if good old dad may have been doing a little arm-twisting-through-the-media on his son.

As I mentioned yesterday, Oden Sr. told an Indianapolis newspaper that his son is going pro. He also said that Mike Conley Sr would be his agent.

Fast forward to today, and the news reports say that Oden is "still 100% undecided". Conley Sr even tells the Associated Press that he is NOT Oden's agent, but wants to be. Here's the kicker...this is Conley Sr's money quote;
"I talk to his mother every day, and I talk to (Ohio State coach) Thad Matta every day, and if Thad Matta and his mother and I don‘t know, then how can anyone else know?"

That right there tells me that Oden's father wants him in the NBA right now, and he decided to run to the media to push his son along a little bit. I've been doing a little research, and this is the first instance I can find where Oden's father has spoken to the media on behalf of his son. Previously, the only people I could find speaking on Oden's behalf were his mother, Thad Matta, and Mike Conley sr.

Dad, you got some 'splainin to do.


Meanwhile, in the land where people have already legitimately decided to join the NBA, the Cleveland Cavaliers last night found themselves in a game where they couldn't afford to sleepwalk. They found themselves in a game where if they lost, they could kiss the 2nd-seed goodbye. They found themselves in a game against a weak team who had beaten them the last time they met at The Q.

They found themselves in a game....for about 3 minutes. Then it wasn't a game anymore.

The Cavs jumped out to a 9-0 lead. The lead stretched to 13 points late in the 1st quarter. By halftime, Cleveland had doubled-up on Atlanta, 56-28. The Hawks never got closer than 25 after that, and the lead grew to 37 at one point (94-57).

And now it gets VERY interesting. The Cavs and the Bulls are tied for 2nd place in the Eastern Conference, and both only have two games left. Chicago wins the two-team tiebreaker.

The Cavs two remaining games are at Philadelphia and at home against Milwaukee.

Philadelphia is eliminated from playoff contention, and until recently were playing with desire. But over their past 9 games they have been shown where they belong. They played 5 teams staying home for the playoffs. They won all 5. They played four teams advancing onward. They lost all four. This is a game Cleveland should win.

Then comes Milwaukee. Without Michael Redd. At The Q. WITH Michael Redd (and his 27 ppg) in the lineup, the Cavs have defeated Milwaukee 109-99, 95-86, and 94-92. Now they face us without him. The Bucks are 10-30 on the road, and the Cavs are 29-11 at home. I'm not overly concerned.

Chicago's schedule is not nearly as favorable as ours is. They've seen the last of the United Center (until the playoffs start and....hopefully....Miami comes to town for Game 1). They're at Washington today, and at New Jersey on Wednesday.

Washington is struggling. They lost 10 of their last 13 games, besting only Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Atlanta. But of all those losses, only one was a bad loss. Every other game was within reach in the final minute. They don't have a Gilbert Arenas to push them over the top in the final minutes, and it shows. Chicago should win this one, but the Wizards are looking for motivation. A big win today and they can ride a little wave into the postseason. Plus, a win means they'd face Toronto in the playoffs, a fate they'd much rather have than seeing the likes of Cleveland or Chicago. And again, it's in Washington. The Wiz are 26-13 at home, and the Bulls are 17-22 on the road. If the Bulls play like they have been playing lately, they should win easy.

Then comes New Jersey. The Nets are not yet in the playoffs, but they will be unless they have a final-week disaster. Their magic number to get in is one. But they are looking to avoid the 8th seed, where they will have to face Detroit in the first round. They need that 7th-seed, and they're only a game up on Orlando. They will need this game as much as Chicago will, and I'm not sure they're happy about the 31-point pasting the Bulls laid on them a month ago. They're looking for payback, and they may get it on the last day of the season. And if I was facing an angry team (who needs to win) that has Vince Carter and Jason Kidd on it, I'd be worried.

The ball is in Chicago's court. They control their own destiny, but the road is not an easy one. The pressure's on the Bulls.

Again, this is why I love this sport.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Oden's gone

I have to admit, I was one of the final Buckeye fans holding out hope for another season, but alas, I was wrong.

Greg Oden is turning pro next season.

The news came from Oden's father, who told the Indianapolis Star yesterday. The Star posted the news on their website, and the word is scattering around the internets as we speak.

Best of luck, big guy. We'll always love you in Buckeye Nation!


I do have one additional thought on this.

Greg Oden's final game as a Buckeye was a phenomenal one. He dominated the Gators inside, scoring 25 points and ripping down 12 rebounds. He shot 67% from the floor and he made Joakim Noah his personal bitch for the entire game. Even Al Horford had trouble with Oden on the floor, forcing him to shoot only 40%. Without free throws, Noah and Horford were held to 7 points each.

But before that performance from Oden, he had trouble staying on the court in the NCAA tournament due to persistent foul trouble.

Had Oden found himself on the bench against Florida as much as he did the rest of the NCAA tourney, he would not have played so incredibly. If that had been the case, would we be having this discussion now?

Would a rough tournament for the big guy been enough reason to stay and improve for another season?

We'll never know. But it's fun to think about.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Cavs clinch home court in first-round, send BIG message to Bulls

Yes, I know the game's not over yet...but the Cavs lead by 21 points in the 4th quarter. I'm comfy with that.

With this win, the Cavs go to 47-32, giving them enough victories to stay ahead of Miami and earn home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

Now they're tied again with Chicago for that prized 2nd-seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. If the Cavs have any hope of capturing the 2-seed, they HAVE to win every game, and most (including the BBC) believed that tonight's game against New Jersey was the toughest remaining contest.

Chicago knows that they will lock down the 2-seed with a sweep in their final three games, but it would have been easier on them if the Cavs lose just once.

Now the pressure is squarely on the shoulders of the Chicago Bulls. They have to face a surging Charlotte Bobcats squad (who have defeated Miami and Washington twice EACH over the past 5 games), then go on the road to take on Jersey and Washington, both of whom are fighting for playoff position. Jersey may well even find themselves fighting for mere survival on the final day of the season, and I sure as heck wouldn't want to face Jason Kidd and Vince Carter if you tell them they have to go home if they lose.

Meanwhile, Cleveland faces three teams....Atlanta, Philly, and Milwaukee...who are all eliminated (or will be by the time we face them....I'm looking your way, Philadelphia).

Looking at the schedules, I'm feeling better about the Cavs' chances.

Chicago's "Magic Number" for the second-seed is 3.
Cleveland's "Magic Number" for the second-seed is 4.

This is why I love this sport.

As much as I hate cliches'.....

...tonight is a must-win for the Cavs. For two reasons.

One, they've got to win every game, plus hope for one Chicago loss to get the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. If we lose just once, we have to pray for the Bulls to lose two out of their last three games, and that's just not going to happen.

But tonight is a must-win for another reason. If we win, we clinch home-court advantage for the first round of the playoffs.

Yes, I know that we'll hold the fifth seed if we don't overtake Chicago, and that in most worlds, 5th seeds do NOT play host to 4th seeds. But this is the new NBA rules...the BEST RECORD gets home-court advantage ALWAYS, no matter what.

And if we win tonight, we'll have a 4-game lead on Miami (4th-seed team) with three games to play. Ergo, we'll finish with a better record and get that home court advantage.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

This just in....things could get more f-ed up!

I obsess over stats, forgive me.

The Cavs and Bulls are currently tied for second place in the East, as you read yesterday. The Bulls hold the tiebreaker....they split the season series, but have a better division record, so they'd get the 2nd seed in the playoffs.

However, a small monkey wrench from north of the border entered the picture recently, otherwise known as the Toronto Raptors. Toronto is only one game back of both teams.

Let's look ahead a little bit....if Chicago and Cleveland both go 3-1 the rest of the way, while Toronto goes 4-0, all three teams will be tied, and the 2nd seed would go to......

The Cleveland Cavaliers.

According to NBA rules, a three-way tie is broken by head-to-head records. The Cavs are 5-3 against Chicago and Toronto, the Bulls are 4-4, and the Raptors are 3-5.

If the aforementioned scenario plays out, the seedings for the NBA playoffs would be;

Either way, I see it all as unlikely....the Cavs and Bulls would each have to lose once to teams they shouldn't lose to, and Toronto would have to beat Detroit TWICE.

But it is fun to think about.....

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Cavaliers and the importance of the final four regular season games

The Cavaliers missed a golden opportunity today. They were leading the Detroit Pistons with less than two minutes to play, and fell apart as the game wound down. Beating Detroit would have drawn us to within two games of the Eastern Conference lead, but even more important, it would have given us second place overall, as the Chicago Bulls lost to Toronto.

As it stands, we are tied with the Bulls. Both teams are 46-32 with four games to play. Chicago gets the tiebreaker, so we MUST finish the season with a better record than them. My personal opinion is that the Cavs have the inside track, based on upcoming competition.

The Cavaliers' four remaining games are;
-New Jersey (36-40, 7th seed currently)
-Atlanta (28-48, eliminated)
-at Philadelphia (30-45, needs a miracle)
-Milwaukee (26-50, eliminated)

The Bulls' four remaining games are;
-New York (32-44, needs help to get in)
-Charlotte (30-47, eliminated)
-at Washington (39-37, 6th seed currently)
-at New Jersey (36-40, 7th seed currently)

Both teams can go 4-0, and both teams should go 4-0.

The Cavaliers' toughest game is their next one. The New Jersey Nets are surging and in need of a big win to get into the playoffs. They're only two games ahead of 9th-seeded Indiana, and they know a loss would be very very bad for them. Expect the Nets to be fighting like their lives depend on a win, because does. The good news is that the game is at The Q, where Cleveland is 27-11 (New Jersey is only 14-23 on the road).

Following that NJ game, we get what should be an Atlanta team watching the clock.

Then comes a road game at Philadelphia. The Sixers are 4.5 games out of the playoff race, and will probably be eliminated by then....and should also be running out the clock on their season.

We close up at home against Milwaukee, the worst road team in the East. The only one on the Bucks squad who will really care about the game is Michael Redd, who will score 40 points while wishing he had a time machine to travel back one year and not accept the ball-and-chain contract he signed with Milwaukee.

UPDATE - Redd is finished for the season, he will not play against the Cavs....Milwaukee without Redd may be the worst team in the NBA, so expect a Cavs win here.

Meanwhile, the Bulls' road will be a bit rockier. They open up with two relatively easy home games against New York and Charlotte.

The Knicks have their backs to the wall, 3 games out of the playoffs. How they perform against Chicago will actually be based on how they play against Detroit the night before. If they can knock off the Pistons, they'll have a bounce in their step, knowing there's a chance. If they lose to Detroit, the bell will toll in their heads and they'll likely fall to the surging Bulls at the United Center.

Next for Chicago is an easy game at home against Charlotte. I expect no fight from the Bobcats in this one.

But the Bulls close out the season on the road against two teams who need to win, at Washington and at New Jersey.

The Wizards are hurting, and nobody expects them to succeed without Gilbert Arenas. But those kind of voids have a way of bringing teams together, and they're experienced enough to pull together as a squad. I don't expect Washington to win, but they will put up a hell of a battle, and the Bulls are not a very good road team (17-22).

Chicago closes out on the road at New Jersey. By then, the Nets should have a playoff bid....but it's still undecided, and even if they've locked it up, they'll be battling for 7th place and the chance to avoid an opening round against Detroit.

The Cavaliers could have made things a lot easier on themselves with a win today, but their future is still bright and they could get that second seed, but I think they absolutely HAVE to go 4-0 to end the season. IMHO, it's the only chance they have to get there.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Something you might not know about the NBA Playoffs.....

If you've been watching the NBA on TNT, you certainly don't know this one, because their commentators are dumber than a box of hammers. Plus, I personally heard them mess up this basic information about home-court advantage in the playoffs.

The Cavaliers are currently the 5th-seed in the Playoffs (tied with Chicago for 2nd, but losing the tiebreaker drops them to 5th). Recently, I heard that "Cleveland needs to win all their games, because they don't want to be 5th and lose home-court advantage for the first round of the playoffs".

This is actually a false statement.

Under the OLD rules of the NBA, the 5th-vs-4th matchup WOULD have it's home-court advantage with the 4th team.

Under the NEW rules of the NBA, "Home-court advantage in all playoff series is determined by win-loss record, not seeding". The 5th-seeded Cavaliers are 3.5 games ahead of the 4th-seeded Miami Heat.

I don't want to face the Heat in the first round, but as it stands, we'd have the first game at The Q.

Oh, and by the way, it's my birthday. What did you get me????

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Oh, and another thing.....

I met an amazing woman recently. Absolutely beautiful, lots of fun, and a real sweetheart. But she's a Steelers fan. My question to you is simple....

Can a diehard Browns fan and a diehard Steelers fan have a relationship?
What about a Buckeye fan and a Michigan fan?

...and before you ask, yes, she LOVES the Buckeyes. And no, PoJo, she'll never change me from my allegiance to the Brown and Orange.

Moving on

With the end of the college basketball season comes minor changes to The BBC. I created the blog for the Buckeyes, but like all good sports blogs, I keep one eye on other sports as well. And since I'm a born-and-raised northeast Ohio native, my love goes out to the Cleveland teams.

So first, we look at the Cavaliers. They've got seven games left in the regular season, and they currently stand at 45-30. They're already in the playoffs, but where will they be seeded?

The only seeds they can end up with in the Eastern Conference are 1st, 2nd, or 5th place. 1st place would be heavenly, 5th place would be awful, and 2nd place is their most likely spot. The Cavs are currently 3.5 games behind Detroit for the top spot, and with only 7 games left, catching them is unlikely. We are only a game up on Chicago for 2nd place (by virtue of superior records, either the Cavs or Bulls will get 2nd, and the other will get 5th...division champions from the Atlantic and Southeast will get the 3rd and 4th seeds). However, the Pistons and Bulls play each other tonight. Cleveland will gain a half-game on one team, lose a half-game on the other.

My heart says to scream go, go, go for that top spot, but I don't see four teams on Detroit's remaining schedule that will knock them we should settle back, let the Pistons knock the Bulls a little further back from us tonight, and hit the finish line with the 2nd seed. Our final seven games (Miami, at Washington, at Detroit, New Jersey, Atlanta, at Philadelphia, Milwaukee) are slightly more difficult than Chicago's, so we can't sleepwalk through any more games the rest of the year.

If that 2nd seed is ours, we will most likely play New Jersey, Orlando, Indiana, or New York in the first round of the playoffs. The Pacers would be our best bet for an easy round....but let's not get too ahead of ourselves.

First things first is tomorrow night against Miami. It's a must-win for many reasons...for starters, they're the defending champions, with all their starters back and mostly healthy, and they need this win to hold off Washington for the Southest Division championship. The home team has won all three of the Cavs-Heat games this year, and we're playing at The Q. Let's keep that home-team streak alive!

Tomorrow, we look at the early prospects for the Indians. So far today, the White Sox have thrown four pitches, and have given up no home runs yet. But it's early.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Many people expect me to be broken-hearted today, after losing to Florida in the National Championship again. Fact is, I'm not. I'm proud of my Buckeyes.

Disappointed, sure. But VERY proud. Florida has officially become a new rival, but I'm still proud.

As you all know, I created this blog because I'm a Buckeye fan. I've long been a reader of MotSaG and Buckeye Commentary. Before the 2006 football season, I began scanning the blogrolls on those sites and found more Buckeye fans with excellent sites, all of which can be found to the right of this sentence. Having been all-too familiar with how amazing the blogosphere can be, I decided to start my own Ohio State site.

The Buckeyes have graced my life with an amazing year of sports, and given me the opportunity to write about it all. I'm extremely grateful for the opportunity to write about winning over and over again. I haven't been forced to write 118 different stories about a possible new head coach (one who is so amazing that he led his team to 66th place in the NCAA). I'm grateful that the Buckeyes gave me win after win after win after win.

So today I am proud. How could I NOT be proud?

And since I'm the guy who loves to go over statistics, let me show you one that you'll adore.

Over the past year, the Ohio State football and men's basketball team has a record of 47-5.

Hell, we're 47-2 against teams not named Florida.

But even better than that.....we're 4-0 against teams named Michigan.

Monday, April 02, 2007

The day has arrived.....

In case you're wondering, yes I had trouble getting to sleep last night.

The day has arrived. In 11 hours, our boys will be on the court, fighting for the National Championship. And they get to try and win it against Florida....hell, yes, I'm excited.

I wanted Florida in this one. On Selection Sunday, I quickly scanned the bracket and checked to see where Florida was and whether or not we could face them for the championship....and was thrilled to see it was possible.

Some will say "be careful what you wish for", but I say if I'm not willing to face and defeat the big nemesis, then what the hell am I doing here to begin with?

On a different note, how many times do I have to see stories about how incredible and unbeatable this Florida team is? Pat Forde yesterday had an article so ridiculous that I think he was wiping his chin off for at least an hour after.

One of Forde's points was Florida's record over the past two years...they are 67-11. Guess what, Pat? If Ohio State wins tonight, both the Buckeyes and Gators will own a Championship over the past two seasons, but the Buckeyes will be 62-9. Yes, you read that right....NINE losses instead of 11. Will we see a glowing Forde article claiming Ohio State to have the "infallible team"?

So again, I ask....what the hell does a #1 ranked team have to do to earn respect? We've been wondering that for six weeks now, the day we were first ranked at #1. I suppose there's only one thing left to do to get that respect.

Go win the National Championship.