Thursday, May 31, 2007

Not that there's anything wrong with that.....

Oh, boyyyyyyyssssssssss...........

Tonight, King James takes over his Palace.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Five minutes that changed the series

It's now a three-game series, and anything can happen. Last night, the Cavaliers evened the best-of-7 series by knocking off Detroit 91-87. We head back to Detroit tomorrow night for Game 5, and Pistons fans have GOT to be nervous now. Where they were talking sweep just 72 hours ago, they're now fearful of a second straight exit from the Eastern Conference Finals.

Last night's game was back-and-forth, as has been the case in every game of this series. But there came a point when the Cavaliers turned it up a notch and tied the series up. And we owe a great deal of gratitude to Drew Gooden.

With 8:07 to play, Gooden let Rasheed Wallace slip by him towards the basket. But Gooden knows not to let that happen, and he yanked back on Wallace and practically leapt on his back to prevent an easy slam dunk.

Wallace freaked out and ran up the sideline begging for justice. He got a little redemption, as Gooden was charged with a technical foul. Chauncey Billups hit the free throw to give Detroit a four-point lead at 75-71, but on the ensuing play, strong defense forced a long miss by Antonio McDyess and Sasha Pavlovic grabbed the rebound.

Lebron brought the ball up the left side, drove to the foul line, then backed off. The defense shifted outward looking for a pass, and immediately LeBron drove in again for an easy layup, and he was fouled by Wallace. It was a picture-perfect play, and the Pistons all fell for it. James hit the free throw and the Cavs were within 1. Furthermore, Wallace continued his whining.

Wallace likes to talk about how he plays better when he's angry. Sometimes that's true. Last night he was desperately trying to prove it, and so on the next play, he stated setting up picks like never before. He got the pass and hit a bucket from 14 feet out to put the Pistons back up by 3.

With 7:05 to play, LeBron took the ball from center-court and drove straight into the teeth of the Piston defense. He skipped through the lane, drove right past Wallace and got the foul call on McDyess. Wallace went a little bit deeper into Idiotville and began whining even more. James hit both free throws and the score was 77-76 in favor of Detroit.

There wasn't much movement on the following Piston possession, and Billups ended up forcing a 24-footer. It missed and LeBron grabbed the board. James brought the ball into the frontcourt and fed Drew Gooden on the left baseline. Gooden raised a jumper in Wallace's face from 18 feet out and nailed it. Cavs lead by 1. Wallace starts trash-talking Gooden on the way up the court.

Detroit's next possession was no better for them. McDyess decided to become the hero, but he's not very good at shooting from beyond 12 feet. His shot bounced high off the rim, and the Pistons ended up swatting the ball towards halfcourt. Normally, this is a wise move because Detroit is excellent at getting back on defense, which means there will be 2 or 3 Detroit players back to retrieve the swat. But this time they swatted it too far, and this time Sasha Pavlovic had retreated to set up the offense. The ball sailed right into Pavs' hands and he raced in for an uncontested layup. Cavs lead by three, and Wallace reverts to his expertise of behaving like a three-year-old. He whips off his headband and throws it into the crowd. The refs give him a technical foul, and the fans refuse to give him his headband back.

Daniel Gibson hit the technical free throw, but the Piston implosion was not yet complete. On the next play, Wallace again tries to prove he plays better when he's angry, and ends up lofting a 25-foot shot that hits absolutely nothing. A scramble for the ball ensues under the basket, and Tayshaun Prince eventually grabs it and hits just as much air as wallace. The shot clock goes off and the Cavs get the ball back again. This time down the floor Wallace is practically crying, and he gives so much attention to the referee that he forgets to pay attention to Drew Gooden, who hits an open 18-footer from the left baseline. Cavaliers lead by 6 points.

Following a missed shot by each team, Prince hit a pair of free throws and the Cavs lead was down to four. But the rally was not over yet.

Once again, Gooden takes a pass from LeBron and buries a jumpshot. He's clearly on fire, and since he rode Wallace's back like a pony he's shown that he's the better player and the better man. Cavs lead by 6 again, and the rally is still not complete.

With 3:40 to play, Z skies high and grabs a Rip Hamilton miss, and the crowd is now deafening. They sense victory and they want it now. The Cavs slow down the offense and spend a little time watching LeBron at the top of the key. Too much time, and as the shot clock winds down, he steps back and launches a 21-footer that should have no chance at all. Somehow, it finds the bottom of the net and the incredible shot invokes pandemonium at The Q. Cavaliers lead 87-79 with 3 minutes to play, and it's all but over at that point.

Cleveland uses a 5-minute span to go on a 16-4 run and the series is tied. The only person left who doesn't think Cleveland has a shot at The Finals is Charles Barkley, and he's a douchebag anyway. Cavs have the momentum, now they have to get two more wins to back it up. I actually think that they must win Game 5. I'd rather win it at home than have to win a Game 7 in Detroit. Tomorrow is huge.

By the way, Wallace's technical was his fifth. On a player's 7th postseason technical foul, they get suspended for the following contest. I say we force him into a pair of Ts tomorrow night and watch him cry from the sidelines for Game 6 at The Q.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Hughes out for Game 4

The news came down last night....Larry Hughes will most likely miss Game 4 tonight.

This is bound to provoke two different immediate emotions.

The first one is excitement, especially from people who have been fearful of Hughes' attempting to hit too many jumpshots, despite continual failure. His 3-17 performance in Game 5 of the Jersey series was nightmarish, and things have not been much better for LH since then.

The second emotion is fear. There's bound to be a lot of scared Cleveland fans thinking about how we can survive while trimming our depth down one person. Who starts now, and can we keep up with a bench player in a starting role? Will it be Eric Snow or Daniel Gibson starting tonight? Will Hughes be back for Game 5?

As for the first emotion, I'm a little bit in that camp. Not too much though. Hughes does bring a lot to the table, but he's been slumping lately. Every pro goes through periods like this, and usually a night off can snap them back into form. Granted, the Conference Finals are not the most ideal time to take this time off, but it is what it is. So I will get optimistic and say that I hope he's back for Game 5 and he's hungry enough to step up his game.

Now, I'd like to remind fans who are scared of what happened last year in the series against Detroit;

The Pistons jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the series, and we weren't even close. The Cavs lost by 27 points in Game 1, and were trailing by 22 points in the second half of Game 2 before a late rally ended the game with a 6-point loss.

Then Hughes' little brother died unexpectedly. He left the team immediately to be with his family and he missed three games. The Cavaliers won all three games.

This is not mentioned to invoke painful memories of the Hughes' family loss, nor is it to wish for LH to sit out more games. This reminder of last year is to point out the obvious....we can win without Larry Hughes on the court.

So if you're in any doubt about tonight, relax. Larry will be there cheering on the guys, and we can (and will) win without him in the uni.

If you're going to The Q tonight, get LOUD. Hell, wherever you are tonight, get loud. A win pulls us even with the Pistons and gives us momentum. Rise up!

Monday, May 28, 2007

The defining moment

Every playoff series needs a defining moment. One play that you will look back on and say "THAT is the moment that changed everything."

If you watched last night's game, you know the moment I am talking about. With the score tied at 68-68, LeBron James dribbled to left and put up a three-pointer. It missed, and bounced off the rim about 10 feet to Z on the left wing. Ilgauskas quickly passed the ball to James, who was still outside the three stripe. James had an open three, but did not take the shot. Instead, he....well, watch it for yourself.....

Those three seconds will be shown again and again on highlight reels, and with good reason. LeBron punked all five Pistons on the court. Watch the clip again five times, and focus on each Piston player.
- Tayshaun Prince was removed from a pick by Z and didn't have the speed to catch up after that.
- Chauncey Billups literally froze like a deer caught in the headlights.
- Richard Hamilton backtracked a couple of steps, anticipating a pass to a wide-open Daniel Gibson.
- Chris Webber looked old and slow, and had no chance to even slow down James. LeBron drove past Webber's left side and all he could do was throw a weak left arm up and pray. Webber may have been humiliated bigger than the time he tried to call timeout against North Carolina.
- And finally, Bitch-Boy Wallace tried to block the shot, but ended up getting nothing but a face full of leather and a foul called against him as LeBron slammed the ball through the hoop and sent 20,000 people to their feet.
It was the defining moment of the series thus far, and could be the moment that changes everything in the Eastern Conference Finals. Each Cavaliers series has had that moment, and this was the one for the ECF.

In the Washington series, it came when Z won the opening tip of Game 1.

In the New Jersey series, it came when Sasha Pavlovic blocked an easy layup by Jason Kidd that could have cut the lead of Game 1 down to 2 points. Instead, it provided the cushion for victory and etched the name "Sasha" in the brains of Jersey fans everywhere.

Now, LeBron has given us that moment in time. Let's run with it and take Game 4 tomorrow night!

Meanwhile, Charles Barkley was bitching about LeBron selfishly taking the highlight reel and not shooting the three or passing the ball. Seriously, he did say that later.


Oh, and by the's a stat that will shock you, especially if you think about all the commentators who are not giving Cleveland a chance in hell (most of them seem to work for TNT).

The largest lead in any game this series for Detroit is 5 points. We've never trailed by more than 5 points in this series. That's amazing, especially when you consider that the Chicago Bulls trailed by 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 points for most of the first three games in their series against the Pistons. THAT is what solid defense does, boys.

The defining moment

Every playoff series needs a defining moment. One play that you will look back on and say "THAT is the moment that changed everything."

If you watched last night's game, you know the moment I am talking about. With the score tied at 68-68, LeBron James dribbled to left and put up a three-pointer. It missed, and bounced off the rim about 10 feet to Z on the left wing. Ilgauskas quickly passed the ball to James, who was still outside the three stripe. James had an open three, but did not take the shot. Instead, he....well, watch it for yourself.....

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Cedar Point

Spent the day today at Cedar Point Amusement Park...but you tell you think my mind was on the rides, tonight's game, or both?

Tipoff is in 90 minutes. Go Cavs!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Sorry, I've been away for a couple of days....and my time is limited today, so just a few quick thoughts.

I am all in favor of LeBron James making that final pass Monday night. Yes, he could have continued the drive and he probably would have hit the tying basket. But when you are on the road, you go for the win. Donyell Marshall was wide open, and that is a chance I am willing to take in the playoffs. You go for the win.

Even if James had hit his driving layup, it would have left 5 seconds for Detroit to win the game, and even if they don't, there's overtime. I was happy we went for the win at the time, and I'm still good with it today. If that opportunity happens again tomorrow, I hope we take the same chance in going for the win. Teams that play if safe rarely win championships.

But I am confident in the Cavs chances. They showed that they are not going to lay down and die like the Chicago Bulls did in the first three games of their series with Detroit. This is shaping up to be an amazing series. But Game 2 is a must-win in my book. Taking one game in Detroit is key.

Tipoff is tomorrow at 8pm. Go Cavs!

Monday, May 21, 2007


As the pistons series rapidly approaches, the inevitable question has been posed many times over; "Do you think the Cavs can win?"

Of course they can. This team has 58 wins on the year. They're showing balance and dedication. They have a leader who is not selfish with the basketball, but yet can still take over a game when needed. They have proven they can win road games in tough environments (4-1 on the road in the playoffs, winning two in Jersey where the Nets had won 10 in a row, including one against the now-humiliated Chicago Bulls).

Plus, I don't think the Cavs need any extra help, but my gut tells me the NBA might provide it. Rasheed Wallace may find himself the victim of quick whistles this week. And when Rasheed gets to play victim, he plays it hard, which will lead to more quick whistles. You see, the NBA wants their superstar story in The Finals. They, they NEED their storyline, and LeBron James IS that storyline. The last time the Spurs and Pistons played in The Finals, it was the least-watched NBA Finals in history. That prospect will not sit well with the brass.

However, what scares me the most about Game 1 is the competition. The Pistons are a great team, and we know we can beat them...but are we fully prepared?

The last time the Cavaliers played a team that was over .500, it was April 8th. And we lost that Detroit, in Auburn Hills. 43 days since we played a team above .500. That's not sitting well with me.

So tonight, we need to jump out early. Our history with the Pistons shows that we fall behind early, and we play catch-up the rest of the way...that usually never ends well. So we need to start out strong. Drew Gooden is a rebounding machine against these guys, and he needs to continue that. The Pistons give up a lot of offensive boards, and we're good at receiving them...keep that up too. Keep the outside pressure on them, and make the Pistons take it inside. Ditto when we have the ball. When we shoot from the perimeter, make sure it takes three passes to get the open man some time to step into his shot.

Last year in Game 1 against the Pistons, we gave up 69 points in the first half, and trailed by 21. It made the entire game unwatchable, and our sluggish play continued until halftime of Game 2. We MUST come out strong in the first half tonight.

Tipoff is in 10 hours. Go Cavs!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

LeBron James, superstar

Anybody who saw last night's playoff game knows that LeBron James carried this team on his shoulders right into the Conference Finals.

James scored 14 points in the first quarter (all of New Jersey had only 15 points) and the Cavs burst out to a 17-point lead. They held that margin until the third quarter, when LBJ was forced to the bench with four fouls. As James sat on the bench, his team squandered all but one point of the huge lead.

As the fourth quarter began, LeBron took the floor with a look of intensity, and you just knew that the Nets were finished. LeBron was there to take his team to the next round, and nobody was going to stop him. Even the Nets knew it. 13 seconds into the quarter, Mikki Tyler Moore had to change his defensive strategy and the refs caught him for the illegal D and called a technical foul. Over the course of the 4th quarter, James has 8 points, 4 rebounds and three assists to just one turnover and no fouls. Extrapolate that out....what would you do to have a player get 32 points, 16 rebounds and 12 assists in the biggest playoff game of his career? Plus, the Nets found themselves scrambling to cover LeBron, which ended up leaving Donyell Marshall and Damon Jones wide open for easy threes. Even when he's not scoring or assisting, he's drawing defense away from other players.

LeBron is the biggest superstar left in the NBA today. No Piston, no Spur, and no Jazz player can compare to what we have in #23. In only four years, he took this team to the Conference Finals. Tell me what Michael Jordan did in his first four years.

- In four years, Jordan took the Bulls to the conference semi-finals.
- LeBron took the Cavs to the Conference Finals.

- In four years, Jordan led the Bulls to 5 playoff wins.
- LeBron
has taken the Cavs to 15 (and counting).

- In four years, Jordan's playoff record was 5-16.
- LeBron's
playoff record is 15-8 (and counting).

Jordan won his first NBA Title in his 7th year. Will LeBron have his in the next three years? Maybe. Hell, he might have it in the next three weeks.

Is LeBron James better than Michael Jordan? No, of course not. But in the 4th year of his career, he has taken his team to MUCH greater success than Jordan had at this point.

The kid's got what it takes. Will he need a Scottie Pippen to reach the peak? We'll find out starting Monday.

Oh, hell yes!

By now you know. The Cleveland Cavaliers dominated New Jersey for three quarters, and it was enough to win the series 4-2 and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. That third quarter was u-g-l-y, but in the end it didn't matter. The Cavs showed the desire and the heart that they were lacking Wednesday night, and we're on to Detroit Monday night.

I could go over every detail of the game (and over the weekend, I probably will), but I have to send a message to my Cavaliers now.

You are NOT happy with making the ECF. Do NOT celebrate this. Concentrate. Focus.

The Chicago Bulls were happy with winning a first round series over Miami. Chicago is home now, because they got steamrolled. They weren't focused, and they weren't looking beyond Miami. By the time they woke up, it was too late.

The Golden State Warriors were happy with knocking off the Dallas Mavericks. Golden State is home now. Maybe they never should have been in the second round, but they were as good of a team as Utah on any given night. But their lack of focus led to stupid mistakes, and they never recovered from it.

New Jersey knocked off the 3-seed and celebrated it. But they weren't ready to advance to the second round, and the Cavs were clearly hungrier. By the time they snapped into shape, it was too late.

The point is, you cannot EVER be satisfied with what you have accomplished. Especially not now, with the Pistons looming. You'll get your ass handed to you quickly if your focus is not entirely on the next round. Jersey's gone. Forget them.

Concentrate and go get one of the next two games. Recapture the home court advantage quickly and don't give it back. You're halfway home now. 8 wins down, 8 to go.

Tipoff is in three days. Go Cavs!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

LeBron's OK to play Friday

Lost amidst the disgust and frustration last night was the injury to Lebron James in the final minute of the game. James flew into the Cavaliers' bench while cahsing a loose ball, and didn't get up for a couple of minutes. When he did return to his feet, it was only to limp towards the locker room. Those who were left watching surely had a twinge of fear in their gut.

I'm happy to say that everything is OK. Cavs News is reporting that James is cleared to play tomorrow night. Let's hope and pray that his girlfriend and unborn child are both safe and healthy.

The rest of the anaylsis

There's lots of points to discuss about last night, and most of them are unacceptable. I'll start with what I know about from personal experience.

My ticket last night cost more than my rent. I couldn't afford it normally so I REALLY appreciated it. That appreciation means that I rose to my feet from the first minute and let my voice be heard. I was going to have a GREAT time. But the people in my immediate vicinity were not so financially strapped as I, and clearly they did not appreciate how exhilarating it is to sit so close to an NBA Playoff game. The louder fans were not in my area. As I made attempts to exhort the fans to scream, I found that the ones wearing LeBron jerseys about 30-50 yards behind me were having MUCH more fun. These are the fans who deserve the up-close tickets, and I will never understand how someone can spend over 1 grand on a pair of tickets to sit there and talk on your cell phone.

When I got home around 2am I decided to watch the game on DVR. It was then and only then that I learned about Head Coach Mike Brown not giving an inspirational speech to the team before the game. Are you kidding me? I know these guys should be able to get fired up on their own, but how can the leader of this team....not take full advantage of the opportunity? And come to think of it, where were you for the rest of the game? Why did Z sit so long and Hughes get to stay on the court? Eric Snow sat for extended periods of the game, and he's the one player who knows how to pull a team together in a series-clincher. When Pavlovic got a flagrant foul (for the horrible crime of swatting a ball), did you confront the referee? Your coaching was MIA last night, even more than Hughes' jump shot.

By the way, does anybody remember if Drew Gooden played last night? He did, but his performance was invisible, neither good nor bad. I'm not used to having Gooden have a game like that, and it's rapidly becoming the most unsettling aspect of Game 5. I know that Mikki Tyler Moore is not his responsibility, but I'd really like to see DG on the attack against Moore in Game 6. Gooden has the ability to intimidate opponents, and I think Moore would be the perfect man to get inside his head and force him out of the flow he's finding (or at least be in his face when he shoots a 15-footer, something the rest of the Cavaliers seem to be unable to accomplish).

Four days ago, we were on the verge of a Detroit/Cleveland rematch in the Eastern Conference Finals. Both teams appearance in that ECF are now in peril, and both can be traced back to total complacency by the Cavs and Pistons. We all assumed they had it in the bag, and we forgot to tell the Nets and Bulls they were eliminated.

Last night

Clarifying my anger with Larry Hughes a bit....I like Hughes. He plays hard and connects well with the rest of the Cavs. He's a team player and he fits in well with the scheme.

I'm not angry at his going 3-17 from the field. What I'm mad about is that he kept shooting from way outside when his shot wasn't on. He didn't even try to drive and force the Nets to collapse inside and foul him, or even better to pass the ball to another shooter left open by a double-team from the aforementioned inside collapse. He only would shoot a jumper. And when he missed his 10th shot, he shot an 11th, and a 12th, and a 13th, etc etc etc. You're on a floor with four other guys, Larry. Try making things happen for one of them. Last year we beat the Pistons in three straight games without you...we're capable of winning without your jumpshot, so when it won't fall, pass the ball to someone who has a sweeter shot, like Ira Newble.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Message to Larry Hughes

I want my money back.

On my way

Loyal readers (both of them) know that I have courtside seats to tonight's game. I'm on my way out the door now.

I was going to take a laptop with me and use The Q's wireless signal to liveblog the game. But instead I decided that tonight was all about fun. So we'll leave the blogging behind for the night and enjoy the Cavaliers game.

Enjoy the game, everyone! Tipoff is in 5 hours. Go Cavs!


On the day the Cavaliers won the NBA lottery four years ago, the Cavaliers future was sealed. LeBron James was going to become a Cav. I had friends and co-workers telling me that Cleveland was an immediate contender for the championship.

Hell no, I thought. Our team had just come off a 17-65 season. No single player, not even the laboratory-created DNA-built offspring of Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain, could ever take a 17-win team and win the Finals.

But what I hoped for, even demanded from my team, was consistent and steady improvement from the new Cavaliers. My team has provided that improvement to this date.

In 02/03, the Cavaliers were 17-65. Then they drafted LeBron.
In 03/04, the Cavaliers were 35-47. An 18-game improvement.
In 04/05, the Cavaliers were 42-40. 7 games better, but still no playoffs.
In 05/06, the Cavaliers were 50-32. 8 games better, and they won in the first round of the playoffs. They lost in the second round 4-3.
In 06/07, the Cavaliers were 50-32.

The Cavaliers won the same amount of games this year as they did last year, so there was no improvement. However, tonight they can fix all that. A victory over New Jersey will send them to the Conference Finals, something that we failed to achieve last year.

I can't say that I'll be satisfied with that achievement. I want more this year. But they will have given me that consistent improvement for the fourth straight year, and they will be well on their way to that championship that we all so richly deserve in Cleveland.

By the way, the Cavs now have the best record in the NBA Playoffs.

Cleveland - 7-1
Detroit - 7-2
Utah - 8-4
Chicago - 6-3
San Antonio - 6-3
Phoenix - 6-3
New Jersey - 5-5
Golden State - 5-6
Houston - 3-4
Dallas - 2-4
Toronto - 2-4
Denver - 1-4
L.A. Lakers - 1-4
Miami - 0-4
Washington - 0-4
Orlando - 0-4

Considering both our playoff opponents are below .500, take it with a grain of salt.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Is Vince Carter the most hated man in the NBA or what?

Vince Carter was once hailed as the next Michael Jordan. That was an easy comparison to make, considering Carter and Jordan both went to North Carolina and both had a sweet jump shot at a very early age. Carter wowed the league in the 2000 Slam Dunk Competition, and the "next Michael" cries intensified. Carter was on his way to stardom.

That's coming to an end in a hurry.

While playing for Toronto in 2001, he earned the wrath of Raptors fans and became the focal point of multiple hours of stories on the sports page when he chose to leave the team during the playoffs to attend his own graduation ceremony in Carolina. A family member dies or grows ill, the world supports you when you must leave the team briefly. But when you're leaving to put on a cap and gown for a purely symbolic ceremony, you get pistol-whipped. Raptor fans didn't forgive him, especially when he didn't show up for Game 7 until 10 minutes before tip off and ended up missing 2/3rds of his shots in a season-ending loss. He also missed a potential game-winner with 2 seconds to play against Philly.

The next thing Carter did for the Raptors was sign a six-year extension for 94 million dollars. Cue the entry of a LOT more angry Canadians.

Carter began getting a reputation as injury-prone and weak. He didn't help that much when he was asked why he had been trying fewer dunks during games, choosing to go for layups instead. His answer was "I don't want to dunk anymore." Not winning hearts and minds, eh Vince?

"No, no. I said Vince CHASE is coming to Toronto for a film festival. Not that other guy."

In late December 2004, there were allegations that Carter tipped off the opposing Seattle SuperSonics (the Raptors' opponents on November 19, 2004) of an upcoming Raptors play by yelling "It's a flare! It's a flare!". (source, Wikipedia)

When he was traded to New Jersey, Raptor fans were angry and relieved. The relief turned to pure anger when Carter admitted to not trying very hard towards the end of his Toronto tenure. That just created an entire city full of people ready and willing to crush VC at any given moment.

But his whining and crying over every minute whistle has not ceased, and fans of opposing teams have grown tired of his antics. His reputation is increasing as a crybaby. Last night, he let Sasha Pavlovic get into his head and he started jawing at the Cavaliers guard. Pavlovic did the right thing, cupping his ear as if he was saying "I can't hear you".

At the end of the game, Carter never even got a shot off. The ball was slightly slapped by Eric Snow, and as it bounced away from Vince, he swatted at it and sent it out of bounds along with his team's hopes of advancing. A future Michael Jordan would have turned and hit the game-winning shot, especially against Cleveland, who ALWAYS got a game-winner out of MJ. But he never even got to shoot it.

On the way out of the New Jersey parking lot last night, Carter was swarmed by angry Nets fans who repeatedly slapped his car with plastic noisemakers. Keep in mind that the game is usually over for more than 60-90 minutes before players shower, get dressed, and finish interviews, especially players like Carter who will get a lot of media attention. These fans actually stuck around long enough to verbally taunt their star player. That's dedication and that's anger.

With New Jersey fans turning on Carter, he's going to have trouble. This is a guy who might be headed for disaster....maybe. But one thing I'm certain of is he's no Michael Jordan. And he's got a LOT of people who don't like him very much. And 20,000 of them will be screaming at him in 30 hours.

The world's most boring sports reporter

Usually, I check for sports stories and updates. I've never quite recovered from the excitement that Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann put into each and every broadcast.

Watch this clip of last night's game and try to explain to me how this woman has a job as a sports reporter, let alone be allowed to go on the air to highlight a Game 4 in the NBA Conference Semifinals.

Click play on the video on the right half of the page.

Unless ESPN is employing robots, there's no excuse for this person to bring her monotonous voice to my airwaves.

Mikki Moore's a little bitch

Honestly, if ESPN was debating whether or not Bruce Bowen should be suspended for accidentally kneeing Steve Nash in the sack, then there's no way Mikki Moore survives the flagrant foul he laid on Sasha Pavlovic tonight.

Moore was steaming after a collision between him and Pavs in Game 2, and started jawing about it right away. Then in Game 3 he tried to pick a fight with Anderson Varejao under the basket. Moore's attitude did not cool off with the Game 3 victory, because he took a cheap shot at Pavlovic tonight and drew a flagrant foul. The NBA's gotta step in and sit him down for a game. If they don't, I'd love to see Scot Pollard get two minutes of game time and send the little bitch to the Cleveland Clinic Wednesday night. He's a cheap-shot artist and he deserves to sit down for it.

But on the bright side, Moore's antics woke up the Cavs. We went on an 11-0 run immediately after it, and you could just see LeBron's game elevate. Pavlovic is LeBron's main guy. He loves Pavs, and when Moore tried to hurt him, James took it personally.

With the Cavs courageous win, they snap the Nets 10-game home winning streak and they bring themselves one win away from their third-ever Conference Finals appearance.

So now we get to win this series at home in 5 on Wednesday night. Tipoff is at 8pm.

Incidentally, the Cavaliers have not won a playoff series on their home court since 1993, when they beat.....New Jersey at home in Game 5. That sounds like fun. Let's do it again.

Monday, May 14, 2007

No time....

I've been swamped the last couple of days, so I don't have much time to blog today (plus, I work all day today again).

But I will say that if the Cavs don't win tonight, they will find themselves in a battle. They can put the Nets away much easier with a win tonight. Being up 3-1 heading back home is SO much more relaxing than going home tied at 2-2 and facing a must-win Game 5.

So get back on the glass, Cavs and rebound the ball like you know you can. Energy. Intensity. Desire. Go get 'em.

Tipoff is in 9 hours. Go Cavs!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

You tell me.....

The NBA snubbed LeBron James two days ago when they denied him a first-team All-NBA spot. Seriously, they think Tim Duncan is a forward? Then who is the Spurs center??? Duncan played more at center this year than he ever has in his career in the pros.

They should have put Duncan at center, James at forward, and Amare Stoudemire as the second-team center. There's no logical way to explain any other scneario.

Now you tell badly will the Nets feel James' frustration over this snub?

I think he'll put in 42 points and pull down 9 rebounds. What's your call?

Tipoff is in 5 hours. Go Cavs!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Is Detroit that good or is Chicago that BAD?

For a half of basketball, I thought the Chicago Bulls had returned to being good again. Nope, that didn't last long. They blew a 19-point third quarter lead and got their asses kicked 81-74.

Detroit scored 53 points in the second half while the Baby Bulls put in only 30. Chicago shot 4 for 25 in the fourth quarter from the field and 4 of 11 from the free throw line. Freaking pathetic. This is the team that thumped their chest when they were a game away from clinching the second seed?

Anyway, that series is over. We need to close out Jersey in 4 or 5 games to prevent the Pistons from getting more rest than us....because they're about to seal the deal on Sunday or Tuesday at the latest.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


When I originally started this blog, it was all about the Buckeyes. I went from an incredible football season to an incredible basketball season, and Buckeye fans rewarded me by visiting The BBC hundreds of times a day.

Since then, I've transformed The BBC into a Cleveland sports blog, mainly the Cavaliers and a little bit Browns. As summer hits, I'll turn towards the Indians. When late August/early September gets here, it'll be back to Buckeye football in full force.

Since my initial number of fans have begun to dwindle, I can only assume that the majority of you visited for Buckeye news and opinion. My apologies, but I'm not the best guy at analyzing recruits and discussing the spring game. Anything I could tell you about such topics can be discussed MUCH more professionally at any of the pages listed in my blogroll. Plus, anything I would be able to tell you would come directly from the authors of those blogs anyway.

I'll be sticking with Cleveland sports news for the next few months, so if that's your flavor, spread the word to your friends. If you're all about the Buckeyes and don't care much for Cleveland, I'd love it if you visited the names you see to the right of this column. It's an eclectic collection of writers, and they deserve your time.


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Game 2 - a team victory

Most of the time, it's very easy to look for one or two shining stars and point to them as the reason for a victory. The major sports headlines will spotlight LeBron James' performance last night, and that's a minor injustice to the rest of the Cavaliers, who turned in equally impressive stats during last night's 102-92 win.

We won last night because of two major factors. We played as a team and we outrebounded the ever-loving crap out of the Nets. Here's some of the highlights;

- LeBron James' double-double of 36 points and 12 assists
- Drew Gooden's double-double of 10 points and 14 rebounds
- Z's 13-point, 9-rebound night
- Sasha Pavlovic's 17 points
- Wild Thing grabbed 9 rebounds in only 17 minutes on the floor
- Larry Hughes shot poorly, but still turned in 12 points and 7 boards

And the biggest statistic of all....last night, we outrebounded the Nets 49-32, including an incredible 19-3 on the offensive glass. That right there is the key to any victory (and by the way, the Pistons often allow a lot of offensive rebounds, if you want to start looking ahead).

Defensively, we are turning the screws on New Jersey. The Nets have a solid role for each of their starting five, and the Cavaliers are playing well enough to counter each of those players' strengths. If you're going to beat the Nets, you need to force Vince Carter into bad shots, hassle Jason Kidd when he begins to drive, put a body on Richard Jefferson, block out Mikki Moore, and simply remind Jason Collins that he's playing basketball. Do this to all 5 players and they will make plenty of mistakes.

Vince Carter is throwing up way too many shots, and the Cavs always seem to have a hand in his face when he does. Last night, he lofted up 26 attempts (more than any two Nets players combined) and only hit 10 of them. When he drives, the Cavs are converging, because they know that when Carter gets within 8 feet of the basket, he develops a brain blockage that completely prevents him from passing the ball.

Jason Kidd has now played 90 games this season. He had 5 or less turnovers in 87 of those 90 games. Last night, we forced him to turn it over 8 times. Solid defense has been giving him fits with ball-handling, and he's forcing the pass as a result.

We still haven't forced Richard Jefferson out of his game yet. He went 7-11 Tuesday for 22 points. But he's not getting the support of his teammates, and Jefferson is not a man who can carry a team in a best-of-7 series.

Mikki Moore also had a great game (6-8 for 15 points), but he's not been able to rebound anything. He's 7 feet tall and only had 3 boards last night. Plus, when you let Sasha Pavlovic knock you on your ass and then spend the rest of the night trying to atone for it, you've just allowed the other team to take you out of your game.

Jason Collins had two points, 1 rebound, and 5 fouls last night. He's making 5.8 million dollars this year. His agent must be amazing. Seriously, even Ari Gold couldn't broker a deal like that.

After watching the Nets manhandle Toronto, I was concerned about the matchup that they provide against us. I'm not writing this series off as won yet, but I'm feeling a lot more confident in my Cavaliers today. I think Jersey will take one game at home, and the Cavs will win it at The Q in Game 5 next Wednesday.

One more stat - The Cavaliers have now won 10 straight games, the first time they have accomplished this in the LeBron James era.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Let's give thanks to New Jersey

Back on April 18th, the Cavs and Bulls were tied for the 2nd seed, but Chicago held the tiebreaker. Cleveland downed Milwaukee and watched while New Jersey upset the Bulls to givce the Cavs the coveted 2-spot in the playoffs.

As a result, Cleveland drew a much easier playoff route. They took on Washington, a MUCH weaker opponent, while Chicago drew the defending champion Miami Heat.

Both teams swept their first round adversary, but the easy route did not end there. The Cavaliers have to go through the Nets to get to the Eastern Conference Finals, while Chicago faces the Detroit Pistons.

In Game 1, Detroit embarrassed Chicago by 26 points, 95-69. And last night in Game 2, the Pistons kept it up and again embarrassed the Bulls, this time by 21 points, 108-87.

I personally don't think Chicago can rebound from two humiliating defeats like that in time to win 4 of the next 5 games.

But what I do know is that if it hadn't been for the New Jersey Nets defeating Chicago on April 18th, we'd be playing the Pistons right now (but hopefully we wouldn't be playing like the Bulls, who look like a scared CBA team right now). Detroit is peaking right now and playing great basketball, the best I've seen from them this least we should get two weeks worth of watching their best game film and using it for preparation.

So let's give thanks to New Jersey. They helped make it somewhat easier on us.

OK, gratitude is over. Let's whip their asses now. Tipoff is in 11 hours. Go Cavs!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Land of the useless statistic

There are 8 teams left in the NBA. Here's the last time each of those teams lost a game....

Phoenix - May 6th (yesterday)
New Jersey - May 6th (yesterday)
Chicago - May 5th (2 days ago)
Golden State - May 1st (6 days ago)
Utah - April 30th (7 days ago)
San Antonio - April 22nd (15 days ago)
Detroit - April 15th (22 days ago)
Cleveland - April 8th (29 days ago)

No, it doesn't matter that much...but it is pretty cool that the Cavs haven't lost in nearly a month.

Sasha saves the game!

I make no secret of the fact that I'm a fan of Sasha Pavlovic. He's a big key to our success, but he hasn't had a great run in the playoffs. None of that matters today.

With less than 2 minutes to play, Sasha had the ball stolen away and perennial superstar Jason Kidd headed towards the basket without a Cavalier in front of him. Sasha trailed closely behind and played the ball perfectly, rising above the rim and blocking Kidd's shot milliseconds after it left his hand. An easy layup that would have brought the Nets to within two points was swatted out of bounds, and New Jersey turned the ball over on the ensuing possession.

That 2-point denial was what it took to win the game. Instead of flinging desperation threes at the buzzer, New Jersey could have gone for a 10-foot jump shot as the seconds ticked away.

Sasha will be the storyline in the paper tomorrow, but I've also got to point out one more important item;

The Cavaliers won today because they swept Washington.

Yes, you read that right. A six-day rest period was all the difference, especially because Jersey was playing on 36 hours rest.

The Nets went 4-16 over the first 9 minutes of the 4th quarter. Tired legs gave way to a fresh squad wearing wine and gold. Vince Carter couldn't hit his late shots (7-23 on the day), and Richard Jefferson didn't take enough shots at all.

The Cavs had the hustle in them to race down rebounds all day (three players had double-digit rebounds), and the Nets were just plain tired.

And on a day when the Cavaliers had their worst shooting performance of the playoffs, the fresh legs gave them offensive rebounds, which led to second-chance points.

Ironically, we wouldn't have won this game without the six days rest. We wouldn't have had the 6 days rest if we hadn't played an injury-plagued Washington in the first round. And we wouldn't have played Washington in the first round if it hadn't been for New Jersey knocking off Chicago on the final game of the regular season.

Is that what they call the circle of life?

Game 2 is Tuesday night.

Did you know?

You thought Art Modell was bad?

When I was young, the Cavaliers had an owner named Ted Stepian. What I remember from my youth is that my father HATED him, but I never quite understood why. As I got older, I found out where that hatred came from.

Here's how bad he was;

There's a rule in the NBA that states you cannot trade your first-round pick two years in a row. The NBA created that rule SPECIFICALLY because Stepian kept shuffling off our first-round slots. Think about that....this was the late-70s/early-80s. We always had top 3-5 selections becuase we were so bad. Back then, players got drafted early who had names like Olajuwon, Abdul-Jabbar, Isaiah, Michael, Barkley.

The rule (which is actually called the "Stepian Rule") was enacted after a 5-year run in which the Cavaliers traded four first-round picks in exchange for aging veterans and the signing rights to a foreign player who never ended up coming to the league.

Another little-known fact. The team you will watch today in wine and gold was just days away from playing Toronto....but they were also just days away from BEING Toronto. Stepian had contracts drawn up to move the team and rename them the Toronto Towers (ironically, we had no players over 6'9" at the time).

The NBA, after watching Stepian's stupidity, finally stepped in and forced him to surrender operational control over the Cavaliers. The discussion around the league said that the NBA took over after Stepian tried to trade his team's next TEN YEARS worth of draft picks in one day. Eventually they kicked him out of the owner's club.

Here's my personal story. Not as frightening as the above stories, but it will show you what can happen when a team is owned by an idiot with an ego.

Dad took us all to see a Cavs game one Sunday afternoon at the Richfield Coliseum, and we were getting clobbered. During the 4th quarter, a fan took out a sign and held it was mocking Stepian, and the fans who were still left began to cheer (the guy had good seats, so most people saw the sign). After a few minutes, he placed the sign on the empty seat in front of him. Shortly after that, Coliseum security approached the man. We all began to boo because we thought his sign was going to be taken from him. But we were way off base....the man was being ejected from the game.

Had the guy's sign been taken away, I probably would have forgotten it by now. But because the guy was ejected for his horrible crime of having an opinion, it's burned into my brain as a "why the hell did that happen" moment in time.

THAT'S how bad of an owner he was.

Stepian now spearheads the Iraq War policy for the Bush Administration.

God bless Gordon Gund and Dan Gilbert for returning greatness to Cleveland. Tipoff is at 1pm. Go Cavs!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Cut down the Nets

Tomorrow at 1pm, the New Jersey Nets will be in town for the opening game of Round 2. Winner of the series goes to the Eastern Conference Finals.

A quick glance at the Nets would tell you that this series is no problem. Take into consideration the following;

- New Jersey finished the regular season at 41-41, the same record as our first-round opponent, Washington.
- The Cavaliers won 2 of 3 during the regular season, the sole defeat by two points on a night where Jersey shot 15% BETTER than Cleveland.
- The Nets are 17-24 on the road, and they will have to steal one at The Q, where the Cavs are 30-11.

It's easy to say that the Cavs could sweep again, maybe even win it in five without concern. Don't be fooled.

- The Nets have just taken a series from Toronto, who finished the season at 47-35....only three games back of Cleveland.
- Jersey has won 10 of their last 13 games.
- When they needed a win to get the 6th seed, they crushed Chicago, the hottest team in the East.

So let's all come back to earth and realize that this is the playoffs. The eight best teams in the league are left standing, and Jersey is one of them. They are here for a reason....actually, two of them. Vince Carter and Jason Kidd. Two players who would each complete any roster in the NBA and carry them to the finals. And we have to take on both of them at the same time.

Carter's going to get his 25 points per game. Count on it.
Kidd's going to dish out 10 assists every night. Count on it.

The key to winning this series is shutting down Richard Jefferson. Jefferson is the guy who buries a team when they're too busy double-teaming Kidd and Carter, or they're trying to take away the pick-and-roll that Jersey plays so well. Stop Jefferson and you win the series.

Kidd and Carter will get theirs. Stop Jefferson.

Tipoff is tomorrow at 1pm. Go Cavs!

Friday, May 04, 2007

It's official....New Jersey is coming to town

The entire state of New Jersey breathed a collective sigh tonight.

Richard Jefferson scored a basket with less than 10 seconds left, then stole the inbounds pass to seal the deal as the Nets beat Toronto 98-97. Had Jersey failed to win, the series would have shifted back to Toronto tied at 3-3, and all the momentum in the world would have been with the Raptors.

Instead, the Nets advance, but it won't be very easy for them. They've just finished an exhausting series, and they have to play a well-rested Cavaliers team less than 40 hours after leaving the court tonight.

The entire Round 2 schedule has been released. Here it is;

Game 1 - Sunday, May 6th - 1pm
Game 2 - Tuesday, May 8th - 8pm
Game 3 - Saturday, May 12th - 5pm
Game 4 - Monday, May 14th - 7pm
Game 5 - Wednesday, May 16th - TBD
Game 6 - Friday, May 18th - TBD
Game 7 - Sunday, May 20th - TBD

This season, the Cavaliers went 2-1 against the Nets. We lost a tight game on the road in December 113-111, then won both home games by scores of 96-91 and 94-76. I'm always worried about a team with Vince Carter and Jason Kidd on it, but I'm convinced that the Cavaliers can take this series in 5 games.

The Nets victory over Cleveland back in December, in my opinion, was a complete abberation. The Nets shot 57% from the field, while the Cavs shot 42%. And we only lost by two. I do not expect to see Jersey shoot like that, but it's possible. If we keep our rebounding advantage throughout the series, it will be the key to victory. We outrebounded the Nets in all three games this year, including a 42-26 advantage three weeks ago.

I'm thinking we close it out in 5 games and move on to the Conference Finals. But I'm biased...I have floor seats to Game 5.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Round 2, Game 1 is scheduled....sort of

Last week, the Central Division of the NBA's Eastern Conference decided to create a nightmare for the league. The Central's three teams (Cleveland, Detroit, and Chicago) all swept their first round playoff opponents, and have been sitting around waiting for their next round to be scheduled.

In fact, fans of the three teams involved have been showing frustration with the NBA's foot-dragging. But the NBA has resisted, and have continued to take their time scheduling second-round games while the first round is still way up in the air. The NBA reasoning is that they can't allow a Detroit-Chicago series to get underway too far ahead of another series.

More reasonable fans have chimed in, asking for the league to at least schedule the games, even if it is placing games a week from now. One can understand how the fans (and the teams involved) are frustrated.

I'm one of those frustrated fans. I have plans for a date to the Cavaliers' second round (Game 5, to be exact). I'd love to be able to set up my night out, but I can't do it. In my own personal case, I can understand that New Jersey and Toronto have not finished yet, and I can't rightfully demand a solid day for Game 5 until we at least know when the Nets or Raptors will be ready to take the floor again. But I can completely sympathize with the plight of Bulls and Pistons fans.

Well, it appears as if the NBA has heard the complaints. They've supposedly leaked a potential schedule for the Cavs second round.

New Jersey and Toronto play Game 6 on Friday night, Game 7 on Sunday afternoon.

If Jersey wins the series on Friday night, they hop a plane quickly and play Game 1 in Cleveland on Sunday Afternoon. If a Game 7 is needed, the winner plays Game 1 on Tuesday night in Cleveland.

There. Was that so hard to do, NBA?

Update - Chicago-Detroit starts on Saturday. Game 2 is Monday.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


Yes, I know. We were supposed to win this series anyway. Hell, even the Wizards fans knew that the series was over, judging by the number of empty seats in the Verizon Center last night.

I heard that they didn't do player introductions before the game. They wanted to save time, so instead they had every fan in attendance stand up and tell a little something about themselves.

What impressed me about last night is the way the Cavs won the game. Washington threw everything they had at this game, desperate to keep their lockers from being cleaned out for one more game. But yet, the Cavs prevailed. The stats that jump out at me are the ones that have me smiling as we face off against New Jersey or Toronto.....

- LeBron James had 31 points, 11 rebounds, and 7 assists
- James was 14-17 from the free throw line
- As a team, we shot over 90% from the line (LBJ's 3 misses were the only misses all night)
- Z had a 20-point, 19-rebound night
- Larry Hughes had 19 points and one turnover

But the stat that I am most thrilled about is the way we won WITHOUT having to rely on LeBron. 18 of our final 20 points were scored by Z and Hughes. We are a team that often stands around and watches to see if LBJ will win the game. Not last night. The rest of the team took control instead.

So now we sit back and wait. New Jersey and Toronto play tonight at 7pm. If the Nets win, they advance to the second round to play us. If Toronto wins, Game 6 takes place on Friday night.

There is no word as to when the second round will begin, even if NJ advances tonight. The NBA has not released any second round schedules yet, even in the case of Chicago/Detroit, who both advanced over the weekend. In years past, the NBA has been hesitant to start any new round until the previous round is nearly completed on both sides of the league.

I'd like to see the Cavs get some rest, but I can't see us playing again until at least three days after Jersey or Toronto advances. Detroit and Chicago may get a reprieve and start soon, but expect to see their games all get two or three days between each other. It could be very, very ugly if they allowed that series to start too early. For example, if one team swept the other, it could end up forcing a full 7-10 days of down time, especially if NJ/Toronto goes 7 games, followed by a 7 game series against Cleveland.

My crystal ball says that Toronto wins tonight, Jersey finishes the series at home on Friday, and the Cavs/Nets begins on Monday or Tuesday of next week.