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In Cleveland, hope dies last

Archive for the category “NBA”

Time for a Heat check

After blowing a 24-point lead on Thursday night, highlighted by a 40-9 run from Orlando, Miami is now a combined 2-7 on the season against Chicago, Boston and Orlando, and 12-16 against teams with winning records.

Starting tonight, the Heat face the Spurs (twice), Chicago, the Lakers and Oklahoma City over their next seven games.

Sounds like Pat Riley needs to get a better supporting cast around LeBron James.

Maybe things really aren’t any better away from home.

Cavs score their biggest win of the season

The Cavs scored their biggest win of the season on Thursday, completing a trade that landed the team the Clippers first-round draft pick in this year’s draft.

The unprotected pick (the Clippers are the best) means the Cavs could wind up with two lottery picks in the draft, a perfect recipe for a team working hard to rebuild. And while there is certainly no guarantee that Cavs will land two impact players, having more than one shot certainly increases the odds that they will end up with one really good player and one really good support player.

In addition to the draft pick the Cavs acquired guard Baron Davis, shipping out Mo Williams and Jamario Moon.

“We’re excited to make this move,” Cavs general manager Chris Grant said in a press conference at the team’s practice facility. “We’re excited about Baron, a very talented player at a position that’s a difficult position in this league. We’ve also created an opportunity for ourselves as we continue to build this franchise and move forward with the draft pick. We feel good about it. We’re eager to keep going and keep moving. Our scouting department just got a little busier, which is a good thing.”

We like the way Grant handled the day. He knows he did a nice job with the trade, but that there is still more work to be done. If the Cavs don’t get lucky in the lottery and don’t pick the right players, this all means much less.

We’re sad to see Williams go, as we’ve enjoyed his play since he arrived in Cleveland before the 2008-09 season. Williams seemed to enjoy his time with the Cavs and he was fun to watch, especially during that first, 66-win season.

Sure, he struggled at times on defense, but he always gave a good effort, which is all fans can really ask for out of a player.

As for Moon … he was nice to have around when the Cavs were winning games by 25 points, but when the team asked him to do more this season it quickly became clear why he’s played on practically every professional team in the world during his career.

As for Davis, who knows? He’s still one of the league’s best point guards – when he wants to be.

“Baron won’t be happy,” a general manager who has had past dealings with Davis told ESPN on Thursday before the trade became official. “This is a worst-case scenario for him. He was just starting to get happy in L.A. playing with [Clippers rookie] Blake Griffin. There’s not much to get excited about in Cleveland these days.”

We’ll let that last remark slide for now.

Davis didn’t always get along with current Cavs coach Byron Scott when the two were together in New Orleans. And Davis often lets himself get out of shape when he’s not motivated.

But we have to believe Scott was consulted on the move and is comfortable that he can make this work. And the Cavs survived the ultimate malcontent in Ricky Davis, and lived through the girth of Shawn Kemp and Mel Turpin; they’ll get through anything Baron Davis may bring.

Luckily, the 31-year-old Davis, who is joining his fifth team in his 11-year NBA career, isn’t the key to the deal, despite what some would have you believe (h/t to Craig at WFNY). The real gem here is the draft pick.

And the fact that the Clippers, who have blown more high draft picks than probably the rest of the NBA combined over the years, reportedly were willing to trade the pick because they think this year’s draft is thin only makes us feel better about the deal.

After all, you don’t become a team like the Clippers unless you repeatedly do stupid things.

Oh, by the way, the Cavs also reportedly acquired center Semih Erden and forward Luke Harangody from Boston in exchange for a 2013 second-round draft pick.

We admit we don’t know much about either player, but in the spirit of the day we’ll chalk it up as another win for the team.

Spanning the globe

Oh sure, now the NBA may want to add a franchise tag for players.

According to The Sporting News:

“The franchise tag is something the owners will bring up in the collective bargaining agreement, but now you’re going to have to get that by the players’ association, get them to buy into it,” said NBA TV analyst and former Timberwolves GM Kevin McHale. “It is an interesting concept – there is something to that. It would give the team that drafts a guy, develops a guy, more of an opportunity to hold on to the player. … Having the talent distributed all throughout the NBA is much better for the NBA, and the health of the game depends on having competitive teams in all different types of markets.”

Great. They couldn’t have figured that out before LeBron left town?


Too bad Liverpool couldn’t give Kenny Daglish a win in his first match in Europe as Liverpool manager, as the Reds drew 0-0 with Sparta Prague in the Europa League.

“It is special but every time you go into the dugout for this club it is special,” Daglish said in published reports. “It is a club with fantastic tradition and pride and to get a first opportunity to take the club that I served as player and manager before into Europe was fantastic.

“It was an honour for me because of the history this club has in Europe. Tonight was a bit of a milestone for myself because it was the first game in Europe I’d been in charge of the club.

“It was a difficult game for us. We would rather have been more offensive but circumstances dictated the way we played with the players we had available. Nil-nil is not the best result we could have got but it is not the worst either. Next week you can anticipate it being a different game.”

The return leg at Anfield certainly will be a different story as the Reds should advance. And this year’s experience will pay off in the team’s inevitable return to Champions League play.


We guess, when it comes to Alabama, it’s true that “stupid is as stupid does.


Finally, a home-schooled Iowa high school wrestler defaulted on his first-round state tournament match rather than face one of the first girls to ever qualify for the event.

Because rolling around on a sweat-stained, germ-infested mat is OK when it’s with another guy, but girls are icky or something.

It’s right vs. wrong, not new vs. old

Dan Le Batard at The Miami Herald apparently doesn’t get it.

In his latest column, he cries that “new” journalism is ruining it for everyone else.

He takes Deadspin to task for its recent story on Mark Sanchez, but somehow lets The New York Post off the hook for doing something far worse (bolding is us):

“What did this week was wrong by all the previous measurements, although those measurements mummify more every day. It wasn’t news to report that a 17-year-old girl had maybe slept with Sanchez. That age is legal in New York. It wasn’t news that she had photographed proof of Sanchez’s bedroom. (This is what The Kardashian Generation has wrought; the famous get screwed, and the screwed get famous.)

“The girl wanted it published, then didn’t, but Deadspin published it anyway — and traffic soared. And you know what happened next, right? The New York Post followed by publishing the girl’s name and picture for her high school classmates — something even Deadspin avoided. This is how it happened with Favre and Rex Ryan’s wife, too — old media deciding to follow what everyone was talking about because that’s where the money, eyes and marketplace were.”

You can argue how close Deadspin got to crossing the mythical ethical line that journalists and newspapers deal with on a daily basis, but how can you even try to defend what the Post did? You just don’t publish the name of a minor, especially one who didn’t do anything wrong. That’s sleazy, no matter where you fall on the journalism age line.

But apparently that’s OK because the Post is “old” journalism and they are just trying to keep up. So rather than take the high road and do the right thing, it’s OK for the Post to trash a high school girl because Deadspin opened the door, the Post had no choice in the matter, they just had to follow.

Le Batard also misses the point in regard to Tiger Woods:

“There appears to be a fascinating sexual tension growing between old journalism and new journalism. A startled and exposed Tiger Woods discovered this the hard way, when both journalisms barged into his bedroom together with a kind of zeal that had no precedent in American sports.

“There is the feeling that a divorced and broken Tiger Woods should have been more discrete, should have known better. But he couldn’t have. The rules changed on him, and for all sports figures, while he was getting undressed.”

The only thing that Tiger Woods discovered is that he can’t do anything he wants without repercussions.

If you’re married you don’t cheat on your spouse.

We’re pretty sure that rule predates the creation of both “new” and “old” journalism.


From UniWatch comes this link to Hoopism, a site with several sophisticated and interactive NBA-centric infographics.

The best one shows word clouds for every NBA team based on who played the most minutes for each team. The one for the Cavs is pretty sweet.


Sure, when the Indians lost Albert Belle and Manny Ramirez and Jim Thome and C.C. Sabathia and Cliff Lee and on and on that’s just the way it goes.

But now that Albert Pujols might leave St. Louis, suddenly it’s a problem?



Would the Browns consider bringing Braylon Edwards back in free agency?

Someone at Bleacher Report thinks it’s a good idea:

“Bringing Edwards back might allow him to mentor younger receivers such as Mohamed Massaquoi and Brian Robiskie, both of whom struggled in only their second seasons. It would also give Colt McCoy a legitimate No. 1 receiver.

“Fans need to forgive and forget when it comes to Braylon Edwards. Sure, he dropped passes, but there is not a receiver in the league worth his salt who hasn’t.

“The only thing Cleveland fans need to worry about is whether adding Braylon Edwards will make the team significantly better.

“And the obvious answer is yes, it will.”

We’re going to go out on a limb and say that’s never going to happen.

Cavs break streak, lose identity?

The Cavs finally broke their historic losing streak with an overtime win over the Clippers on Friday night.

The Clippers should have known better as the Cavs are at their most dangerous in overtime – their last win prior to Friday game against the Knicks in OT on Dec. 18.

Now that the Cavs have finally won again and are no longer the team with the losing streak, they can go about their business like just another NBA team.

Of course, your average NBA team isn’t 9-45, but nobody ever said rebuilding was going to be easy or quick.

As Clay Davis explained it to Stringer Bell on The Wire: crawl, walk, then run.


Wayne Rooney’s goal Saturday against Manchester
City was sick.

Cavs flirting with absurdly historic lows

OK, we admit it, we talked ourselves into the Cavs not being completely and utterly awful this season and, clearly, we were wrong.

We knew the team would struggle post-LeBron, but we didn’t know they could potentially become not only one of the worst teams in franchise history, but in NBA history as well:

  • Tuesday’s lost to Boston was the Cavs 22nd consecutive on the road, breaking the team record of 21.
  • The Cavs have also lost 18 consecutive overall and 28 of their last 29 games.
  • The Cavs can tie the franchise record for consecutive defeats in a season if they lose to Denver on Friday. If they can’t get past the Nuggets, the record will certainly be broken Sunday against Orlando.
  • The Cavs are a threat to break their franchise record for longest losing streak – 24 games – that was sent over the course of the 1981-82 and 1982-83 seasons.

But wait, it gets worse.

According to Sports Illustrated, the Cavs could finish the season last in both offensive efficiency (points per 100 possessions) and defensive efficiency (points allowed per 100 possessions). The Cavs are currently last on the offensive side, and next-to-last on the defensive side.

If the Cavs pull it off, they would join the 1986-87 Clippers and 1992-93 Mavericks as the only teams to hit that dubious achievement since the 1979-80 season (the start of the 3-point era).

In the process the Cavs have become a team that opponents worry about – because they don’t want to be the team that loses to the Cavs. Plus there are plenty of teams looking for payback for the beatings the Cavs put on them the past few years.

While the current team is playing as poorly as the 1981-82 squad that finished 15-67, they are no where near as dysfunctional. That Cavs team went through four coaches – Don Delaney (4-11), Bob Kloppenburg (0-3), Chuck Daly (9-32) and Bill Musselman (2-21) – was plagued by in-fighting and was owned by the infamous Ted Stepien.

Say what you will about Dan Gilbert and his fondness for Comic Sans, but he’s no Stepien (although Gilbert can’t be happy with the latest news from Forbes, which said the team’s value has dropped 26 percent since LeBron left). And we can only imagine what Stepien would have been like with access to a Twitter account.

In Cavs: From Fitch to Fratello, authors Joe Menzer and Burt Graeff detail some of the shenanigans from that lost season:

  • The Cavs traded both Mike Mitchell (an All Star from the previous season) to San Antonio and Bill Laimbeer to Detroit
  • Stepien tried to fire Daly while Stepien was in the midst of judging a lingerie show at a downtown club
  • Musselman wouldn’t use the office phones for fear of being overhead and spied on people during road trips
  • Stepien met with officials in Toronto and actually unveiled a logo for the Toronto Towers – the name the Cavs would take when he relocated them to Toronto

So while things are bad now, older Cavs fans now it could be far, far worse. That’s the one thing about Cleveland sports: when things go bad you can always find a team from the past that was worse.

As frustrating as the Cavs currently are, it’s actually better that they are horrible than a middle-of-the-road team. This team needs to take a beating for a couple of years and rebuild through the draft. With a little bit of luck, this down cycle will not last forever.

Don’t forget, it was only six years after that ’81-’82 season before the rebuilt Cavs were back as legitimate playoff contenders.

For more on the ’81-’82 Cavs team, check out Chris Tomasson’s piece at AOL Fanhouse: Will These Cavs Sink as Low as Old Cavs?

What Should We Do?

Much has been written and spoken over the past few days, weeks and months about LeBron James returning to Cleveland tonight. The key question in all the discussions has been how will/should Cleveland fans react?

Some are expecting a scene reminiscent of 10-cent beer night at the old Stadium, which would play into the hands of the national media who have portrayed Cleveland as a wasteland filled with roving mobs of angry fans.

Others have called for chants, songs and other forms of disapproval vented at LeBron. There’s little doubt that will occur tonight at the Q.

What should we do?

The best way for the fans in attendance to treat LeBron is to show him what he gave up when he left town: a passionate fan base that supports their teams through (infrequent) good times and bad times.

Cheer for the Cavs, reward them for the past few years when they turned the Q into a nightly showcase for exciting NBA basketball and made Cleveland relevant again in the NBA. Remind LeBron what the cheering sounds like when it is authentic and from the heart, rather than the result of a team’s marketing plan.

Cleveland fans, for the most part, are a solid bunch. You still have your hoople heads who are easily influenced by what passes for sports talk radio in this town, but overall we know what we’re talking about.

And most importantly we care about our teams. And for those of us born after 1964, we all carry the same fear that we will never see a championship in Cleveland in our lifetimes.

But we are still there, game after game, season after season. Boston fans cried over the Red Sox while watching the Celtics and Patriots win titles. Chicago fans whine about the Cubs, forgetting the titles the Bulls and Bears won.

Cleveland fans have no such reprieve, but we persevere. Tonight offers a perfect opportunity to show ESPN, TNT, CNN and the rest of the national media watching just what a Cleveland fan really is: dedicated, passionate and educated.

Ultimately tonight’s game will have little bearing on how the Cavs and Heat finish the season. Win or lose, the Cavs will probably finish the season out of the playoffs; while the Heat will be trying to fight its way through Boston and Orlando.

But for one night we can show the world that, as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.”

Let’s rise up one more time Cleveland.

So … there’s some big game on Thursday?

Did you know the Cavs have some kind of big game on Thursday?

We kid. Obviously LeBron James returning home for the first time since stabbing Cleveland in the back on national TV is a big deal. The game offers fans the opportunity to:

  • Vent their anger
  • Finally have some closure
  • Embarrass themselves and Cleveland on national TV
  • All of the above

In some ways, we’ve been through this before as fans, especially with the exodus of players from the Indians following the late ’90s.

But in reality this is more akin to when the Browns left in 1995. LeBron was more than just a player on one of the local sports teams, we all bought into the notion that he was one of us. And when it turned out he was just like every other athlete it cut deeper than when Albert Belle or Jim Thome, for example, walked away from the Indians in free agency.

LeBron’s leaving tore a hole in the soul of Cleveland sports and everyone is recovering from that in their own way. Thursday night’s game should help with that recovery as LeBron only comes back to Cleveland for the first time once.

After tomorrow, home games against the Heat become just another game.

And, hopefully, Cleveland fans still looking for closure can find it.


No surprise that there are multiple stories coming out as we draw closer to the actual game:

Well, you get the picture.

No matter what happens Thursday night, it should be another night to remember in Cleveland sports.

Welcome to Thunderdome at the Q

We’re still a week away from LeBron James making his first visit back to Cleveland with the Miami Heat and the national media is already gearing up with the anti-Cleveland propaganda.

In the wake of the news that the Cavs are going to ban controversial signs and apparel for the game, ESPN’s Chris Broussard took that rather predictable news and ran it off in a ridiculous direction:

“… the Cavaliers and the NBA are doing all they can to make sure the emotional and hostile scene does not turn ugly,” Broussard wrote.

Hostile scene? The game hasn’t even taken place yet, what “hostile scene” are we talking about here? Are we no longer allowed to boo?

Broussard continues:

“The Cavaliers have been one of the few NBA teams to have metal detectors at every arena entrance since Dan Gilbert bought the club more than five years ago, but they will go beyond that on Dec. 2.”

Yes, let’s make sure to bring up that the Q has metal detectors. Has no relation, really, to the story, but it feeds Broussard’s preconceived desire to make attending a game in Cleveland akin to walking through a combat zone.

And as we learned during LeBron’s free agency, no Broussard story would be complete without an anonymous quote:

“Honestly, I’m a little bit afraid,” one member of the Cavs organization said. “Some people don’t care. Their mentality is ‘‘I’ve got to get this off my chest.’ There’s so much negative energy around this game. People aren’t excited about the game itself. They’re just like, ‘‘I can’t wait to do something.'”

Oh, c’mon. Since when did attending a game at the Q turn into an Italian soccer game?

Thankfully the Cavs have things under control:

“We don’t want to create a police state,” said Tad Carper, the Cavaliers’ senior vice president of communications. “We’ve always had a real energetic, super-charged home crowd and we want to encourage that for every game, including Dec. 2. We want people to enjoy themselves and express themselves, but we don’t want fans to cross the boundaries of decency. We’re not going to allow profanity and things like that. We’ll have no tolerance for anyone trying to cross those boundaries.”

We probably shouldn’t be surprised by this type of sensationalized garbage from ESPN,; after all they are the same group that brought us Rob Parker’s nonsense following the Browns-Jets game.

And the worst part is the game is still a week away.

Look, we’re Cleveland fans; we know how to handle this. We didn’t burn down Jacobs Field the first time Albert Belle came back with the White Sox. There wasn’t looting and rioting in the streets the first time the Ravens came to town after moving to Baltimore. We’ve been through this before.

Unfortunately the national media won’t recognize that no matter what happens next Thursday.

What Year is This?

We tuned in to tonight’s Cavs game only to find a DirecTV logo where the HD broadcast should be. So we checked the Cavs website and found this:

CLEVELAND, OH – November 24, 2010 – SPECIAL FOX SPORTS OHIO TV UPDATE for Cavs fans watching tonight’s game in Cleveland at The Q vs. the Milwaukee Bucks and Friday’s game in Orlando vs. the Magic: While you can never get too much of a great thing like FS Ohio Cavs game broadcasts in High Definition (“HD”), we are very sorry to say that, due to some highly complex and very rare broadcast system limitations, tonight’s game against the Bucks and Friday night’s game vs. the Magic will be available ONLY in Full Screen Standard Definition (“SD” and that’s a full-screen 9×16 aspect ratio for all the techies out there). That’s the (sort of) bad news. The good news is that Cavaliers regular season games this season are broadcast in HD 78 out of 82 games! That is one of the highest totals in the NBA. That also means the only two other games broadcast in full screen standard definition will be the Cavaliers home games vs. Phoenix on January 19th and vs. Charlotte on April 5th.

Are they serious? What is this, 1955?

We blame LeBron.

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