Friday, February 29, 2008

One thing I dont understand....

....why is every football analyst proclaiming Jake Long to be a better player than Vernon Gholston?

Gholston simply OWNED Long every time the two played against each other.


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Defending LeBron 5 on 1 - no more of that

Keep in perspective, this is the memphis Grizzlies. They're 14-41, so they're not the best team to use as a measuring stick.

But the Cavs/Grizz game is midway through the third quarter, and it's already completely obvious that this is a whole new Cavaliers team.

No longer are there four guys standing around waiting for LeBron to do something. Players are slashing to the rim, setting up for open 3-point shots, setting picks. On defense, the Cavs have more options inside, and LeBron is not constantly forced to crash the defensive boards.

What this trade means to Cleveland is that opposing teams will actually have to devise a REAL defense against the Cavs. No more "double-and-triple team James and force somebody else to play basketball."

As I'm writing this, Delonte West just dribbled around the right wing and came off a pick by Ben Wallace. West quickly passed it to Wallace, who delivered a sky-high one-handed slam dunk. It was gorgeous.

Now, imagine what these guys will play like when they've actually practiced with each other.

UPDATE - The Cavaliers won this one easily, 109-89. Here's the major statistical figures;

-LeBron James had a near triple-double with 25 points, 11 assists, and 8 rebounds
-Zadrunas had a double-double with 22 points and 13 rebounds
-Ben Wallace had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds
-Joe Smith had 14 points and 6 rebounds off the bench
-Szczerbiak had 10 points off the bench
-Damon Jones had 11 points off the bench

This team looked like it wanted to find an open man FIRST, rather than shoot the ball, and it showed. They had 27 assists on the night.

Best moment of the game - With three minutes to play in a game that was out of reach, Wallace scored an easy bucket, then quickly jumped on the Grizzlies point guard on defense. He successfully forced Memphis into a 5-second violation.

Chicago Bulls fans should be piiiiiiiiiised........

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Inspiration lost?

As you might have read earlier this week, Buckeye Commentary was going to call it quits. Keith has been writing at that site for a long time, and in his own words he was "tapped out".

When I first read that, I was bummed out and began to write a tribute to Buckeye Commentary. But I couldn't finish it. How do you pay proper closing tribute to one of the sites that originally made you want to blog? It's heartbreaking to say the least. I guess I couldn't finish it because I didn't want to close that chapter just yet.

Before I had The BBC, I was making highlight videos of the Buckeyes. It's no secret that my first video used a lot of clips that were downloaded from Buckeye Commentary. Without Keith, my start in the blogging community is not possible.

Eventually, I began full-game downloads (courtesy TimBUCK 2 at Buckeye Planet), and started editing my own highlights out of the larger file and used those as my basis for later videos. I managed to give Keith's bandwidth a bit of a rest, but I never missed a day of his writings.

Well, BC is not going to die away after all. Keith is no longer going to be running the site, but he has chosen his successor, Massey.

Here's a toast to Keith. We all wish him well in whatever he does in life, and may Massey continue at Buckeye Commentary with the same passion and delight.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Cavaliers are scary-good.....

Heading into tonight's game, the word was that our four new acquisitions would be unable to play at all. Wallace, West, and Smith arrived in Cleveland around 4pm, and Szcerbiak would get here after 8pm. None of them would have the time to even complete their required physical, let alone learn any of the playbook.

So with six warm bodies (and two pickups from the Developmental League), we were in trouble.

Not so fast.

LeBron James had 33 points, 15 rebounds, and 8 assists (barely shy of a third-straight triple double), and Damon Jones had 27 points to lead the Cavaliers to a 90-89 win over Washington. Even Devin Brown had a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards. And to top it off, Billy Thomas scored 9 points within a few hours of signing a 10-day contract.. Yeah, I know. WTF?

With Wallace, Szcerbiak, West and Smith watching from GM Danny Ferry's loge, the arena was buzzing all night long. Fans were anxious to see the new-look Cavaliers, and the players were clearly fired up for the new arrivals.

When the final horn sounded, Damon Jones climbed on top of the scorer's table and emphatically pointed to his four new teammates in celebration. You can feel the excitement these guys have for the new era. I swear, I haven't seen this much anticipation since the arrival of King James. The players are showing excitement that I have not seen in a LONG time (well, except for beating the Pistons last year).

This is a team that KNOWS they have the talent to go far in the playoffs, and now they KNOW they are the scariest team in the East. An inside enforcer, a 45% 3-point shooter, two more experienced guards who average double-digits...and you are adding that to a team that just won playing 8 warm bodies.


And now they're energized for the stretch run.

Oh, and by the way...did I mention that we get Anderson Varejao back on Sunday.


Tonight's Cavs game is gonna suck

If you read all about the blockbuster deal the Cavs pulled off yesterday, you've got to be excited for the new look of the team. Tonight, Cleveland takes the floor against the Washington Wizards.

But the game will not be pretty for the good guys.

First of all, Daniel Gibson will not be available for another 4-6 weeks. His severely sprained ankle will keep him out until the final week of the regular season, most likely.

Sasha Pavlovic and Anderson Varejao are also not going to be in uniform, both still sitting out with injuries (AV will be back soon, but not tonight).

Wally Szcerbiak and Delonte West were 2,500 miles away in Portland, Oregon Thursday when the trade was announced. They have about 28 hours from the trade to gametime to get packed, get themselves into town, get situated, learn the team's gameplan and get on the court. I'll be surprised if either player sees the floor tonight (and if they do, it's minimal time at best).

Ben Wallace was in Chicago when he was told of the trade, but he expected to be sent elsewhere. He was probably on a plane already last night and may have arrived in Cleveland already. He might get some game time, especially since his biggest task will involve defense (a team concept much easier to adapt to than the offensive scheme is). But again, I'd be shocked if he got a lot of game time.

Joe Smith was also in Chicago, but I'm not sure if he was prepared to be traded. But if Wallace is in Cleveland, so is Smith. The Cavs would have put him on the same plane. However, Smith's appearance tonight isn't expected.

So where does that leave us? Here's our roster for tonight;

LeBron James
Zadrunas Ilgauskas
Devin Brown
Eric Snow
Damon Jones
Dwayne Jones

Yep. That's it. Six guys.

If you're paying attention to sports radio today, expect to hear about a few players being signed from the NBA Developmental League. A bunch of 10-day contracts are about to be awarded, which will really only last for one game, but the Cavs will still have to pay the 10-day salary.

A small price to pay for what this team is now capable of.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Thirty minutes that changed an entire perspective

At 2:50pm today, Cavalier diehards were on the edge of their seats. Danny Ferry, General Manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers, has been hailed as the guy to keep Wine and Gold dominance possible for years to come. But over the past seven months, grumbling has begun over the team's inactivity from the front office. LeBron James wants help and dammit, he's gonna get it.

So as the minutes ticked away towards the end of the trading deadline, Cavs fans were ready to heave Ferry into Lake Erie. Either he pulls off a big trade, or he risks losing Lebron James to a team with higher aspirations at the end of his contract. And that would be devastating to Cavalier fans. Yes, it would be a crushing blow......think along the lines of Ted Stepien.

Three o'clock passed, and ESPN analysts were still discussing the 3-team trade that involved Bonzi Wells leaving Houston. No word on the Cavs pulling the trigger. Blood pressures all over northeast Ohio rose. No activity would NOT please LeBron, and it would NOT please Cav fans. This was a day that must go well....or else.

At 3:20 pm, everything changed. The deal was announced.

The Cavaliers, in need of an outside shooter, a dominant force inside, and a point guard, got the trade they needed.

Ben Wallace, the dominant center, is now a Cavalier.
Wally Szcerbiak, the outside shooter, is now a Cavalier.
Delonte West, another guard with experience at point, is now a Cavalier.
Joe Smith, another forward, is now a Cavalier.

In exchange for these four players, the Cavs unloaded the following;
- Larry Hughes, whose shooting touch is coming around but at a high salary.
- Drew Gooden, the quiet performer that can match up on the boards often.
- Donyell Marshall, who can hit a three now and again, but played no defense.
- Ira Newble, an incredible guy but never much of a factor in games.
- Shannon Brown, a flop from the start but could do well with a fresh start.
- Cedric Simmons, yeah who cares?

In my eyes, this is a HUGE trade in favor of the Cavs. They got what they needed, and they dumped off a lot of baggage.

Take a look at what Cleveland can put on the court now;

Forward - All-Star LeBron James. The best player in the NBA today.
Center - All-Star Zadrunas Ilgauskas, who averages a double-double
Forward - All-Star Ben Wallace, the enforcer inside with defense written all over him. 4 Defensive Player of the Year awards in 5 seasons? Hell yes.
Guard - All-Star Wally Szcerbiak, the guy who shoots 44 freaking percent from BEHIND the 3-point stripe.

Now we can focus on putting Daniel Gibson at point guard and letting him run the show. We no longer need his shot as much as we previously did, and Boobie can focus on just one aspect....running the point.

Off the bench;
- Delonte West - West's only putting up 6.8 points per game this year, but gets 10 points per game in his career. 10 points per game from a backup guard? Yes, thank you. He also shoots over 33% from 3-point range.
- Anderson Varejao. This guy will be a nightmare for teams who SHOULD be relieved to see either Z or Big Ben sit down for rest. We should have him back in a week, with plenty of time to get used to his new team in time for the playoffs.
- Joe Smith - The guy averages 11.2 points per game! And he's backing up LeBron James! I'm in heaven!
- Sasha Pavlovic - Sasha has potential to become big-time, but needs to clean up the rust. The experience and and guidance he will get from this new position will be crucial and he gets another two seasons before he has to be "the man". It'll be huge for his confidence. Pavs can properly return from his injury and he'll have two weeks to get ready for the postseason...and we won't have to rush his progress back so soon. He can be in full swing at the right time!
- Damon Jones - Holy Crap, will any team playing against us get to rest ever? Jones has a wicked outside shot and we know we can count on him already.
- Devin Brown - The guy has put in some quality minutes and been a nice surprise for us all year. It's sad that he'll be our 11th man.
- Eric Snow - A decent backup point guard. We'll be counting on Snow to show the ropes to Boobie and lend his wisdom to the kid. Other than that, we're just letting him ride out his contract.

In 30 minutes we went from burning effigies to praising the skies above.

On paper, it looks fantastic. Now let's get these guys into town and see them in action. The Cleveland Cavaliers defense of the Eastern Conference Championship, Version 2.0 begins tomorrow night at the Q.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Aaaarghhhhh....I can't stand it!

I turned on the Ohio State-Indiana game today. Ohio State was up 2-0. Shortly after I began watching, Indiana went on a tear and led 8-2 in a hurry.

So I switched away.

Played a couple songs of Guitar Hero III with my 9-year-old daughter. Then we finished packing up the cut-out cookies we made for her Valentine's Day party at school this week.

Then I went back to the game. Ohio State trailed by 2 points early in the second half. As soon as I started watching again, Indiana went on a 7-0 run to take a 9-point lead.

So I switched away.

I have no idea what the score is...because I refuse to watch. I think I'm bad luck today. I'm taking one for the team.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Pryor's non-sign - Bad for OSU, worse for Michigan

When Terrelle Pryor decided to hold off on his decision this morning, it disappointed a lot of college football fans around the midwest. But the story between the lines runs pretty deep.

Pryor had been set to sign with Ohio State, and he has now decided to take a longer look at Penn State and Oregon. He now has until April 1st to make his choice or he cannot play college football in 2008. Word is that he'll decide much sooner than the NCAA deadline of 4/1.

Ohio State was his first choice, but it's now been pushed back to a "possible selection" with Oregon and PSU getting another look. That's not good for the Buckeyes, but all we have to do now is hope that we put on a good enough presentation than the Ducks or Lions.

But Michigan....they're on life support right now. They were already 2nd on the list according to all the experts and friends close to Pryor. Now the Wolverines have to pray that Oregon and Penn State do not impress much, and THEN pray that somebody ELSE convinces Pryor to give on Ohio State, the school that he was "within hours of signing with".

Translation - Michigan, start warming up Threet at QB. He's your man. Pryor will be playing at Michigan Stadium sometime in 2009....that's the next time that either PSU or OSU comes to the Big House for a game.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Where will YOU be at 12:05 tomorrow afternoon?

I already have my place to watch the announcement tomorrow....

Terrelle Pryor has announced that he will disclose his college of choice on Wednesday afternoon, a few minutes after Noon. It's down to three schools, Ohio State, Penn State, and Michigan. Frankly, I doubt that Penn State is even in the running, but it's still among his listed schools.

What's it gonna be, Terrelle? Are you going to Olde Tex, or U.C.C?

It means a lot to both OSU and UM. But I think it means A LOT more to Michigan....if they don't get Pryor, they're stuck with one quarterback. He's some kid named Threet, who has never taken a snap in college. And he was going to be behind Ryan Mallett, so how scary could he be? If they get Pryor, they've got a star right from the start, and if they don't get him they are saddled with HUGE problems on the offensive side of the ball.

If Ohio State doesn't sign Pryor, we have get ready and prepare for the rivalry to take a new turn. Pryor would play to our weaknesses on defense, and we'd have ourselves some trouble defending him. But if we DO get him, we've got two bonuses. One, we've got ourselves a quarterback controversy in 2009 between Pryor and Antonio Henton. Two, we kept him away from Michigan. That alone is worth it's weight in sweet, sweet gold.

So saddle up boys and girls...tomorrow's a big, big day!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

New York Giants - 1, Bill Belichick's ego - 0

OK, let me get this out of the way....I was wrong. I said that the Giants would never win this game, and I was wrong.

That being said, let me just say this.....the New England Patriots are the 2nd-biggest chokers in the history of sports. UNLV losing in the Final Four back when I was a teenager is still tops (they were something like 34-0 and hadn't been in a game decided by less than ten points all year). When you're 18-0 and favored by 2 TDs over a team that shouldn't even be in the Super Bowl, you'd better win. They didn't, they get the silver medal for all-time chokes.

But the reason for this defeat? Bill Belichick's ego.

The Patriots had the ball at the Giants 31-yard line in the 3rd quarter, and faced a 4th-and-18. Their kicker is a young stud who can kick it from beyond 50 yards easily, and there's NO FREAKING WIND in the dome. The Pats didn't kick that FG because Belichick thinks his team can score anytime they want anywhere they want....and it bit him in his oversized classless ass.

Had Belichick actually COACHED this game instead of merely sit back and expect to win, he'd have sent his kicker onto the field. But those of us who know BB and all his whiny-baby attitude (example - Browns fans who remember Bernie Kosar's final pass on the lakefront), well, lets just say we are enjoying this moment.

Belichick's ego couldn't even allow him to stay on the field with his team for the final play. He high-tailed it into the locker room with one play left in the game. That's low-class, and richly deserving of Belichick.

I for one enjoyed every second of the game, watching that historical defeat. My hat is off to the New York Giants. Long live Eli Manning, who began the season as my Fantasy Football QB, but pissed me off so badly that I traded him for David Garrard. It was a good move, since my season ended in Week 15, but I'm glad the Giants didn't give up on him so easily.

Oh, and one last note to Tom Brady....remember when you laughed at Plaxico Burress for predicting a 23-17 Giant win? Here's what you said....

"We're only going to score 17 points?" Brady said before chuckling about it. "OK. Is Plax playing defense? I wish he had said 45-42 and gave us a little credit for scoring more points."

You WISH you had scored 17.

So go back to your fancy cars, and your designer clothes, and Victoria Silvestedt, Playmate of the Year.....

Friday, February 01, 2008

Time to play catch-up!

OK, everything is in order and I'm ready to get back at this blogging thing. I want to thank EVERYBODY for their kind words and e-mails. But I've missed a lot since early January, so I've got some ground to catch up on.....

Let's go pro first, shall we?

Cleveland Cavaliers

Raise your hand if you wrote the Cavaliers off for dead. OK, everybody put your hands down now.

After a meh November and an absolutely horrifying December, the Cavs are looking like the strongest team in the NBA right now. They've now won 13 of their last 17 games, and they even looked strong in three of those four losses. Hell, they even came close to winning on the road in Seattle last night without LeBron James on the court.

Currently occupying the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference, the Cavs have managed to get the critics off their backs by....well, let's be honest, they're fucking scary right now.

If you want to see how good they are, look at last week's Lakers game. They started the game without Sasha Pavlovic, Anderson Varejao went down with a bad injury in the 3rd quarter, and Zadrunas Ilgauskas fouled out midway through the 4th quarter. You put those together, and you're usually going to lose. Plus, it was being played IN Los Angeles against a Lakers team that is playing like they FINALLY should be.

But the Cavs made Kobe Bryant look like a fool with a stifling defense late in the game, and LeBron was clutch down the stretch, adding up to a 3-point victory in the Staples Center.

Oh, and by the way, if you have front-row seats to a game against the Cavs on the road...PLEASE taunt LeBron during the game. Go ahead. See what happens.

As for the injuries to Varejao and Pavlovic, we're going to have a rough time while they're out, but we should have AV back around February 20th, and Pavs back in late March. That'll mean that we get the full team back on the court with three weeks to tune things up for the playoffs.

And if you're wondering, the Cavs first fielded a full team in the second week of December...about three weeks before they gelled into the team that has rattled off 13 of their last 17.

The Super Bowl

When the Giants kicked the field goal to beat the Packers, I said "worst Super Bowl ever". Frankly, I still believe it.

Yes, I know the Giants have played awesome football in the playoffs. The week off will destroy them. They just don't have the talent to win this game on momentum anyway, and now that's gone, so who cares?

Yes, I know the Patriots have looked weaker the past month. They're not playing a cold-weather game this weekend though. They seem to be weaker in those games. Plus, they're not going to get rattled by the media frenzy in this game. They've been in this spotlight over and over again.

As much as I want to see Bill Belichick and Tom Brady and Randy Moss die a slow painful miserable death on the field, it ain't gonna happen. Maybe their bus will get lost on the way to the game this Sunday.

And if not....hey, at least Mike Vrabel gets another ring, huh? How bout that?

Ohio State basketball

Damn...imagine what we'd be if the NBA had the same age rule as the NFL. We'd have Mike Conley Jr. and Greg Oden on this team. Would we be 21-0 instead of 15-6? Absolutely.

But that's fantasy, and besides...what the hell is so bad about 15-6? The Buckeyes have looked great at times (beating Syracuse and Florida), and have looked rough around the edges at times (the whole second half against both A&M and Butler...did we send the same guys on the floor as in the first half?).

But I can honestly say that of the six games we lost, I think we probably should have lost. Take a look at this week's's who our six losses are to;

- #4 North Carolina (19-1)
- #7 Tennessee (17-2)
- #8 Michigan State (18-2)
- #12 Butler (19-2)
- #23 Texas A&M (16-4)
- Purdue (16-5)

All of those teams will be in the NCAA tournament. Three of those teams have an excellent shot at being a #1 seed, and four of them are leading their own conference (it'd be five, but Duke has a half-game lead on UNC).

Realistically, we're going to need 22 wins to get into the NCAAs. Most teams would not get in with 22, but in order for Ohio State to get to that number, we will NEED to get at least 2 "quality wins". So we need to get 7 more wins, and we have 11 games to do it (but we could have up to 13 chances as we advance in the Big Ten Tournament).

Here's the remainder of the schedule...I think this looks like an NCAA bid for us, but see if you agree with me;

- @ Iowa (10-12)
- Michigan (5-16)
- Indiana (17-3)
- @ Northwestern (7-11)
- @ Michigan (5-16)
- Wisconsin (17-3)
- @ Indiana (17-3)
- @ Minnesota (13-6)
- Purdue (16-5)
- Michigan State (19-2)
- @ 2008 Big Ten Tournament

Four games are "must wins" (@ Iowa, @ Northwestern, @ Michigan, Michigan).
One game is a "should win" (@ Minnesota)

Of the five difficult games, four of them are at the Schottenstein Center (Indiana, Wisconsin, Purdue, and Michigan State). Win two of those five games, and you've got up to four quality wins and your 22-win season. And that's even before the Big Ten tournament.

This team is going to end up between 19 and 25 wins. 19 gets you a nice shiny NIT bid. 25 gets you a top 4 seed in the NCAAs.

Let's see what the boys are made of.

Oh, and by the way...Memphis is ranked #1 at 20-0. Last team to beat them?

One last item....hat tip goes to Boiled Sports for this, in all his douchebaggery, is Chris Berman.

Hey,'ve worked in TV for a long time. How about YOU learn to concentrate and let everybody else do THEIR jobs? As long as they don't wander onto the set and get on camera, what the fuck do YOU care? Concentrate, tubby!