Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Archive for the tag “Cleveland Cavaliers”

Cleveland is title town once again!

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We had planned to write something following the Cleveland Cavaliers claiming the first title in franchise history – and the first in Cleveland since 1964 – but, frankly, the game was so exhausting we had nothing left on Sunday night.

Then the plan was to do something during the day today, but it is still hard to put the emotions into words as we honestly had started to doubt if we would ever see the day that a Cleveland team won a championship.

We’ve been there for just about every disappointment since the Cleveland Browns won the city’s last title in 1964. The Miracle of Richfield that broke along with Jim Chones’ foot. Red Right 88. The AFC Championship Game losses to the Denver Broncos. The playoff frustrations against the Chicago Bulls. Game 7 of the 1997 World Series.

All of it bad. Until last night.

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Can the Cavs avoid another Cleveland moment?

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The Cleveland Cavaliers did the improbable on Thursday night in forcing a Game 7 against the Golden State Warriors.

Tonight, they have the opportunity to do the seemingly impossible in delivering Cleveland its first major pro championship since 1964.

On that December afternoon at Municipal Stadium, the Cleveland Browns defeated the supposedly invincible Baltimore Colts – a similar situation facing the Cavs against a Warriors team that many were calling the NBA’s best ever after a 73-win regular season.

Tonight’s game will be just the second time since 1964 that a Cleveland team has been in a title-deciding game and, again, the situation has a familiar feel to it.

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David Blatt firing the latest “Only in Cleveland” moment

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As Cleveland fans we’ve come to realize that we can’t expect championships from the local sports teams.

But that doesn’t mean things are ever boring.

The latest example came on Friday, when the Cleveland Cavaliers firmly took hold of the “most dysfunctional team in town” title by firing head coach David Blatt at the midway point of his second season.

In doing so, the Cavs are just the third team in the past 40 seasons fire their head coach the season after an NBA Finals appearance. They also become the first team in NBA history to fire a head coach with a winning percentage as high as Blatt’s, which is at .732 after Thursday’s win against the Los Angeles Clippers.

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Cavs just the latest Cleveland team on the what if list

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They gave everything they had for as long as they could, but in the end it simply wasn’t enough.

So now their watch has ended.

After a franchise-record 102 games, four rounds of playoffs and the second trip to the NBA Finals in franchise history, it finally came to an end on Tuesday for the Cleveland Cavaliers, who ended the 2014-15 NBA season the way they began it – with a loss on their home court.

As disappointing as it was to watch the Cavs miss out on the first title in team history and, in the process, end Cleveland’s ongoing title drought, it’s hard to see how this could have turned out differently. Because of injuries to Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving, too many players were forced into roles where they were asked to do too much as head coach David Blatt simply ran out of options along with healthy bodies.

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Cavs four wins away from something special

When the NBA Finals tip off tonight at 9, it will mark the beginning of the end for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Cavs entered the 2014-15 NBA season with raised expectations after the return of LeBron James, but even the most hardcore Cavs fan knew that tonight was far from a certainty. The team had a new coach who, while not a rookie in the true sense, was new to the NBA, and a roster full of players who had never been tested in the meat grinder of the NBA Playoffs.

“Anybody talking about us winning it all, I think they’re being unfair to those great NBA teams that are out there that have either won it or have been there to win it, and also to us as a team that’s talented but new,” head coach David Blatt said a few days before the season opener. “We have a lot of work to do before we can start claiming anything before it’s time.”

A large part of why the Cavs are one of the two teams still playing is due to the changes the squad made during the season.

There is probably no way the Cavs would be in the finals if Dion Waiters was on the team rather than Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith. And while general manager David Griffin may still have made the trade for Timofey Mozgov if Anderson Varajeo hadn’t suffered a season-ending injury, there is no way of knowing for sure. As good as Varajeo is, Mozgov brings a different dimension to the defense and the post-season may have played out differently if Varajeo was on the floor rather than Mozgov.

Even with a dominant presence like James on the roster, the Cavs are a team in just about every way you want to define that word, which is part of why the looming end of the season is a touch bittersweet.

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Five the hard way


Today we celebrate the five-year anniversary of the launch of our site.

In some cultures the number 5 is considered a lucky number, but it is also one that comes with a bit of a price. People who believe that 5 is their lucky number often judge or enjoy things with their senses, rather than through deep thought, meaning that they often end up with a bad result.

Which pretty much sums up the day-to-day existence of your average Cleveland sports fan.

Sticking with the numbers theme, since we made our inaugural post:

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From the editor’s notebook …

conflicted on the cavs

We were talking with some friends over the weekend about the current state of the Cleveland Cavaliers and wound up at the end of the night not really sure how we currently feel about the team.

Make no mistake, the Cavs are once again one of the most entertaining teams to watch when they have everything working. And you can’t really feel bad about the 20 wins in the past 25 games run the team is currently on.

The Cavs also looked so good when they took apart Golden State a couple of weeks ago and when they had a big road comeback against Toronto last week.

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Are we in the golden age of Cleveland coaching?

david blatt cavs

David Blatt seems to think so.

While Cleveland has gone a collective 145 years and counting without a championship from any of its three professional sports teams,* that doesn’t mean we haven’t see our share of quality men calling the shots in the dugout or on the sidelines.

And we might currently be in the golden age of Cleveland managers and coaches.

The argument for the greatest NFL head coach of all-time begins and ends, of course, with Paul Brown. If you went solely by his time in Cleveland, Brown’s .750 lifetime winning percentage would be third best in NFL history, behind only Guy Chamberlin and John Madden. (And ahead of a guy named Vince Lombardi; maybe you’ve heard of him.) But even adding in his time with Cincinnati, Brown still checks in at No. 11 on the all-time list.

New England’s Bill Belichick is rightfully considered the best coach currently in the NFL, but even Belichick has not taken the Patriots to 10 consecutive league title games, let alone win seven of them. As good as Belichick and Tom Brady are, they are not now, and never will be, Paul Brown and Otto Graham.

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The unexpected playoff team: Remembering the 84-85 Cavs

CLE_Free_World_BIn just a little more than two months the Cleveland Cavaliers will open a first-round playoff series as the team tries to win the first NBA title in franchise history.

It’s been a forgone conclusion that the Cavs will make the playoffs this season ever since signing LeBron James in free agency and trading for Kevin Love. But even though everyone has expected the Cavs to be in the playoffs, it will still be nice to see the club return to the post-season after a four-year absence.

This spring will also mark the anniversary of another Cavs playoff team, one that to this day remains the most unexpected playoff team that Cavs fans have ever seen.

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From the editor’s notebook …

kyrie irving 55It was Kyrie Irving’s world on Wednesday night at Quicken Loans Arena, and we were all just witnesses.

Irving set an arena record by scoring 55 points in the Cavs win against Portland. In addition, Irving now holds the franchise record for 3-pointers made (11) and attempted (19). He joins LeBron James and (bonus points if you remember) Walt Wesley as the only Cavs players to break the 50-point mark in franchise history.

Irving’s 55 points are the fourth-most by a player whose team did not score 100 points in a game in NBA history. He joins George Mikan, Michael Jordan and James on that list. He becomes the first former Duke player to break the 50-point barrier in an NBA, and joins Wesley as the only other Cavs player with a  50-point game at home. Wesley’s 50-point game came against Cincinnati on Feb. 19, 1971, while James’ eight 50-point games as a Cav have all come on the road. (All according to ESPN Stats & Information.)

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