Friday, June 24, 2016

POTUS suggests JR Smith should put on a shirt, Cleveland disagrees

I would think President Obama was calling to suggest putting Earl Smith onto the $50 bill or something.

Hilarious conversation. Insights: President Obama emailed LeBron James congratulations directly. The President apparently watched the whole parade, or at least checked out photos of the shirtless team. And Obama quit playing basketball two years ago. Who knew! That wasn't news??

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Cleveland, City of Light

"It's going to be lit up like Vegas" - LBJ 6/27/03
Let’s start with the hugs and the high-fives.

Hugged old friends and old-fashioned fans, new acquaintances and never-see-you-agains, hotel employees, homeless folks in knock-off gear, Tinder gals in XS throwbacks, hot guys hanging from fire trucks, and hoards of haven’t-we-suffered-long-enough millennials.

High-fived friendly cops and future criminals, prostitutes and pawn-shop pimps, doubters that wielded pitchforks just a week ago, Hodors and Jon Snows, then, Jesus Christ, himself, resurrected right there on Prospect Ave. I may have even stuck my big-ass head through the passenger's side window of that red Hyundai from Boyz in the Hood and dared a foursome of psuedo-gangbangers to "show me u a champion." They obliged.

The whole planet shared in our joy on Sunday night, but only your fellow Clevelanders could comprehend it. This was truly the evening for no words, for locking eyes with strangers and knowing what surged through their bones. We walked the downtown streets we once thought snake-bit and laughed at the person we were just three hours ago. See, it was a collective out-of-body experience for the entire 216. LeBron would use Doris Burke's mic to scream our name, and we made sure he'd hear us shout back by overstuffing social media with Cleveland vanity vids, solely appropriate for celebrations a half century in the making.

Understand, Sundays of our past were five-star Greek Tragedies: Fumbles, drives, shots, and folding tables on dirt mounds (if you never read them, ESPN publishes the Cliffs Notes). But our Finals triumph felt like a rewrite for a new era. If you're like me and planned to retire from fandom and travel the earth in meditation once the title drought ended, you may want to hold off on your Uber to Hopkins. Because Sunday, June 19th, 2016 didn't feel like a journey's end, but rather the beginning of an East 9th Empire. One that has the fortitude to eventually spread north, and conquer the throne at 100 Alfred Lerner Way. Imagine Chief Wahoo, in his last, half-racist stand, with one dying push past the guards at The Factory of Sadness. OK...maybe scratch that thought. But winning breeds winning. Stipe. The Monsters of Lake Erie. The Larry O'Brien Trophy.

King James and The Land. Forever.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

What CST Thinks About The 2016 Finals

2016 NBA Finals
June 2, 2016 

Cavs in 6

It happens. Cavs find the matchups for Golden State's Lineup of Death just enough to squeak out a road victory and hold court at home. The weapons besides LeBron come through, especially from downtown. And Cleveland celebrates before Cleveland burns during the RNC.


Cavs in 6

Up 2-1 with a depleted roster last year gives me hope. But which Cavs team shows up? Locked-in or careless? Two things I know for sure - it will take me less than five minutes to hate Steph Curry's mouthpiece and Draymond Green's every move...again.

Warriors in 7

Cavs losing home court hurts, as does having to face Golden State's wood chipper offense over the course of a long series. Slowing down the Warriors while limiting their own offensive lapses are the only means of ultimate victory for the good guys.

Warriors in 7

Home teams go 7-0, I reckon. The only certainty is that the worst part of The Finals will be Mark Jackson, Curry's pacifier, and incessantly corny commercials from Buick & State Farm.

Cavs in 7

Yes, in 7. That's at least 263 less than the Electoral votes The Donald will get. (Vox: If the Cavs win in 7, I'm your Irish Uncle.)

Warriors in 6

The visitors locker room will smell like Champagne again.

Cavs in 6

Dare I say.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Cavs give the business on way to second straight Finals

Good times
There was an almost a businesslike atmosphere as Friday night's final buzzer heralded the Cavaliers to their second straight NBA Finals. 

Not to say the team wasn't excited, as hugs were exchanged and daps* given. Locker room footage showed the team dousing each other in water and chocolate milk instead of champagne. Asked by reporters about the lack of post-game bubbly, LeBron James replied matter-of-factly, "We didn't have champagne."

No doubt the celebration got more raucous later in the night, but the team's on-camera demeanor was in some part muted and thoughtful, as if finishing 14-2 in the Eastern Conference playoffs shouldn't be cause for Dom Perignon-spritzing joy.

These Cavs are way past the "glad-to-be-here" stage, even as two members of the Big Three get ready for their first real taste of championship-round basketball. Fully healthy and coming off a series where the average margin of victory was a ridiculous 28 points, this squad is playing the best it ever has a unit.

Obviously, that workmanlike attitude comes from James, who along with teammate James Jones will be tipping off his sixth straight Finals on Thursday. This latest run started two summers ago with a famous 'Coming home' letter, where James and/or his marketing team told a hungry fanbase that nothing is given, everything is earned.

Similar sentiments came from James early this morning after putting the Raptors to bed, as reported by Joe Vardon of "We earned the right to be here and represent the Eastern Conference in The Finals," James said. "We're not supposed to be here. We earned our right."

These words echo over a long year that witnessed a mid-season firing as well as stretches of lackadaisical hoopage where the entire roster was seemingly encased in "chill mode." The Cavs play this post-season has been far from chilly, yet the team remains focused, calm and prepared for that next, final step.

*Author's note: "Dap" is street lingo for the knocking of fists together as a form of greeting or respect.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Kyrie Irving's Game One crossover is one for the ages

What a long way the Cavs have come from the subtweeting anxious mess everyone thought they were just three months ago. In their ninth straight playoff win Tuesday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Cavs unleashed holy hell on the Toronto Raptors. This time, not with a barrage of threes, but instead in the easiest at-the-rim game you will ever see in the NBA. Toronto's utter terror of having hell rained down them from beyond the arc caused them to completely abandon help in the paint, and the Cavs took advantage of it. All of the Cavs.

Most of the Cavs, like maybe LeBron James, just decided to just attack--James went 7-for-7 against the likes of DeMarre Carroll and the Raptors--taking the ball to the rim with ease as Toronto refused to help. Reports are that LeBron actually murdered the basketball ring also.

Back cuts, drives, transition passes, alley-oops. The Cavs did anything they wanted to in the paint, and walked away with a 31-point victory.

But the highlight for me was this Kyrie Irving crossover, in which he hesitates, crosses over behind his back (!), breaks both of Corey Joseph's kneecaps, shins, ankles, and all ten toes, and coasts in for one of his many finishes at the rim. This feels to me like, if it were MJ or LeBron, or if it was a Finals, it would be in non-stop NBA highlight rotation forever. Absolutely beautiful, and amazing, and this team and fan base is clicking like nobody expected.

A video posted by NBA (@nba) on