I mean, we knew that the Cavs had to be one of the closest teams in the NBA. And it isn't just this year, it's every year. LeBron James is like the glue to a team that is so close and so happy, it's infectious. As shown in the famous LeBron-jumps-into-Z's-arms photo after Game 6 of that Detroit series. (That still brings a tear to my eye.
And last year, into this year, it's shown how funny the Cavs are, when it comes to the pregame intro poses, to the music videos that the players randomly put onto YouTube. (Maybe not Cleveland Indians pie-in-the-face funny, but nonetheless.)
A video of Shaq (poorly, but hilariously) lip-syncing to Rick Springfield's "Jesse's Girl" came out today, and it made me laugh out loud. Shaq is hilarious.
And let's not forget Delonte's famous rap...Iced TEA!!!!!!
...and LeBron's acting...
....and of course the LeBron and Kobe puppet...
And Shaq and LeBron dancing...
Friday, April 30, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
Sunday, April 25, 2010
If the Cavaliers' confounding Game 3 loss to Chicago on Thursday night was a "wake-up call," then LeBron and friends spent the first quarter-and-a-half of Game 4 responding to this hypothetical alarm by blearily slapping the snooze button and rolling over for a little extra shut-eye.
When the Cavs finally did come to, however, they did so with a bloody vengeance and played their best game of these young playoffs. As usual with this team, the offense thrived when the defense was making stops. The Cavs strangled the guard penetration and open shots the Bulls used to dice the defense over two-plus games, leading to the smooth transition game that is Cleveland's offensive strength. The half-court offense still needs work as ever - Shaq must go into his move set quicker and the team is taking too many threes. Still, I always enjoy a balanced scoring attack that doesn't include LeBron taking jab-step jumpers with two seconds left on the shot clock.
Really, this was precisely the convincing win this squad needed. Victory is inevitable at this stage of the post-season, meaning how the Cavs compete is just as important as the results. If Thursday's disheartening game ends up being the cold shower that awakens the Cavs for the rest of the playoffs, then so be it.
I was lucky enough to get amazing seats for Game 4 of the Bulls-Cavs series, and got some decent photos as part of a great game. After a lackluster first 22 minutes, the Cavs poured it on to end the first half, and didn't let up through the third quarter. I managed to snap a picture just as LeBron lifted up at half court to shoot...and then, I found out I got on TV (yes I'm the dork standing up in the black Witness shirt.)
From the ABC/ESPN telecast...right after the shot, I'm in between LBJ and Varajao, about 8 -10 rows up.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
The Browns sure don't know how to draft, Reilly writes.
From 1997 - 2007 the Browns have the second lowest number of Pro Bowlers who came from their draft. Including this incredible run. I remember seeing a sign in Sports Illustrated (I think from the Dawg Pound) that said "Courtney Brown or Trade Down". And I was all for that one. I admit, I wanted Ricky Williams in 1999...in retrospect a great pick, then a crappy pick, and now a great pick again. Oh well. You never know.
What slaps you harder is that the Cleveland Browns could've done the same thing, but they screwed the Chihuahua. Their run of No. 1 picks from 1999 to 2002 is the single worst stretch of drafting since the Iraqi Republican Guard. Were they using an Ouija board?
1999 -- Tim Couch, QB: first pick of the draft, 0 Pro Bowls, out of the league after five seasons. But hey, he married a Playboy Playmate. Bust marries bust.
2000 -- Courtney Brown, DE: first pick of the draft, 0 Pro Bowls, didn't marry Playmate.
2001 -- Gerard Warren, DL: third pick of the draft, 0 Pro Bowls. And they passed up LaDainian Tomlinson!
2002 -- William Green, RB: 16th pick of the draft, 0 Pro Bowls. Now your server at Applebee's.
But, as I've been thinking for months...I'm giving Holmgren the benefit of the doubt.
Funniest thing I've heard so far this time...you can't spell Sam Bradford without "Bad for Rams."
Monday, April 19, 2010
It's domination /
Indians and Cavaliers /
Over Chicago /
Great weekend for the Tribe as they sweep the White Sox, and over a thousand (I know, not a huge number) of fans made the trip across the promenade from the Q to the Jake after the Cavs put the Bulls down in Game One.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
I think it was 3 years ago, Game One vs the Wizards, when I was handed a black t-shirt, along with the 20,000 other fans filing into the Q. At the time nobody had any idea what the stark white letters spelling "Witness" meant. The little white Nike logo did supply a clue, however. And within days a giant billboard, and soon an iconic slow-motion tv ad, showed everyone what Witness meant.
And Clevelanders felt it deeper than anyone.
Fast forward to today, as I wear the same, slightly worn black Witness shirt, I run into another, undoubtedly hopeful Clevelander, on a street corner 350 miles from The Q, wearing the same shirt.
I don't know whether this year's slogan is "Rise Up," or "One Goal," or what, but whatever it is, it's a day of hope and unprecedented anticipation in Cleveland, and among us everywhere.
Hard workin' town, hard workin' team.
Whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh! C'mon Cavs!
Sunday, April 11, 2010
The LeBron James free agency media circus became approximately 17% more annoying thanks to Frank Isola, who pens a column called “Knicks Knation” for the New York Daily News. In an odd case of what can only be deemed as sportswriter penis envy, Isola calls out by name Plain Dealer Cavs’ beat reporter Brian Windhorst, who wrote a piece about the “stay-in-Cleveland” buzz now apparently permeating from LeBron’s camp.
Frankly, Windhorst’s supposition is vague (which he freely admits), and doesn’t offer much in the way of new information. Criticizing Windhorst for publishing such non-news would be within journalistic boundaries of integrity, but the second half of Isola’s piddling and awkwardly constructed rebuttal reads just a hair short of well, weird:
Are the Knicks out of the LeBron James’ sweepstakes before the playoffs even start, much less the free agent recruiting period?
The Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting that the “vibe” being sent out from James’ camp “whether it is private conversations or discussions about new business or plans for the near future - is that James currently is leaning strongly toward re-signing with the Cavs.”
The vibe? Is Don Cornelius now part of James’ camp?
The report also states: “That may sound vague and, as always, it continues to be fragile. Yet there is no denying the gradual shift within James' circle and, it is assumed, by James himself.
James has declined to talk publicly about free agency since November. But as one source said, “I have never been so sure that he's going to stay in Cleveland than I am right now.”
First things first. The writer of the article, Brian Windhorst, has now known LeBron since the self proclaimed King was a high school sensation in Akron. (Brian thinks of himself as a sensation as well.)
I've got Jerome James on my speed dial and Windhorst has LeBron. Okay, so life isn't fair. I also know that Brian has his resume sitting in the sports office of every New York newspaper and is ready to pounce on one of our jobs should LeBron sign with the Knicks.
I sometimes think that Brian wants to come to New York more than LeBron. He’s a huge “Sopranos” fan and fancies himself as LeBron's underboss.
I'm guessing it absolutely killed Brian to write that LeBron is leaning toward staying. It must be true because Brian desperately wants to get out of Ohio and is essentially the best thing the Knicks have going for them: a spy on the inside working on their behalf.
But it appears that LeBron’s next move will be to re-sign with Cleveland for the next three years. As for Brian, it essentially means the parole board has rejected his early release from Cleveland. Three more years for you as well, buddy.
I suppose I can give Isola marks for originality, as I’ve never seen a sportswriter criticize a guy from another market in such a pointed manner. The fact that he comes off as a junior high school girl pathetically squabbling with a more popular rival over who has the best Robert Pattinson fan-page should not detract from the novelty of his jealous attack.
Still, to say I’m tired of the various permutations of East Coast entitlement journalism is an understatement. In recent weeks we were treated to another photoshopped shot of LeBron in a Knicks uniform thanks to the launch of ESPN's New York-centric website. The playoffs, instead of quelling this incessant speculation, will likely only magnify it. As fans, we must brace ourselves for the continued media onslaught, while at the same time enjoying the heart-attack inducing fun of the most important post-season in Cavs’ history.
My dream scenario is a championship (of course) followed by LeBron revealing at the parade his intent to re-sign with Cleveland. I’m not a petty person by nature, but LeBron staying here would be a glorious, neon-lit "Eff You" to the Isolas of the world who arrogantly dismiss the city I love. The first step toward that hoped for announcement begins in one short week.
Friday, April 9, 2010
Well I live in Chicago now, and this week was like manna from heaven--after a long off season, the Indians open up the season in Chicago. I was able to take off work Monday and go to a perfect weather Opening Day, 75 degrees and sunny in early April. Unfortunately the weather was the only glorious part as the Tribe's bats were silent and they fell 6-0 to the White Sox. To paraphrase Harry Doyle "Four G*d Damn Hits??!? That's all we got?" Anyway, the Tribe bounced back with back to back wins over the Sox on Wednesday and Thursday, and as they say, if you win every series, the season might just turn out okay.
Then I made it over to the United Center Thursday for the Cavs-Bulls. Sounds fun until I realized that maybe without Boobie, Delonte, LeBron, and Shaq, it's not exactly the same thing. Great game actually, and despite losing, that pushes it closer to a Bulls-Cavs first round series. Wait a minute, why does that make me cringe?
Anyway--thinking maybe I should stay away from any playoff games. We'll see.