Even by Cleveland sports fan standards, what happened Thursday night was just cruel. I, for one, have not been able to get my thoughts together very much since then, and certainly have been through the 12 stages of grief a couple times.
I had visions all week of a smirking David Blatt at the Game One postgame, on how he made the Kyrie Irving injury seem worse than it really was---and then for four quarters of Thursday's Game One, that was actually what it seemed to be. Kyrie was absolutely electric, including one of the most amazing, unforeseen, unbelievable plays that I have ever seen, with that from-behind block on Steph Curry's open layup in a tie game under a minute to go.
It wasn't just Kyrie, of course. It was a ton of LeBron James who powered the Cavs. During the first quarter and first half runs, when some other Cavs actually did something, it seemed that the Cavs were giving all the national media one big shitburger to eat. Naturally, the Warriors fought back, but the Cavs still could have won. And of course, the Cavs didn't play especially well. no production from the bench, virtually no fast break points (no foul line dunks from LeBron in Game One, you'll not recall), and no help from the officials.
Could have won. Should have won. Would have won. If only...
Enough has been said about the last regulation possession. But come on, LeBron. You were unstoppable in the lane all day long. From deep, you haven't been unstoppable in weeks. Please drive that. That was only the first gut punch. An inch more arc on Shumpert's desperation fling, and none of the rest of the nightmare would have happened. Crushed in overtime. A fractured kneecap on Kyrie Irving that is now leaving the Cavs three season-opener starters short of a full team. (And one that feels like has a key symptom of discontent between Irving's camp and the Cavaliers.)
And that led to the desperate depression Friday (and Saturday) for Cavs fans. SMH means shaking my head to the kids these days, and I did that so much this weekend I need a chiropractor. I'm sure a Cavalier or two felt the same way at first too. But that time is over.
All of a sudden stories are popping up about the Cavaliers' admirable production without Irving and Love, but with LeBron. Now I don't know what we can actually make of that, if anything. And everyone knows the odds are long, to say the least. But at least it's hope--because let's not forget we have the absolute best player in the planet on the team. And there are still players around LeBron James who can shoot from outside, or roll to the hoop, or D up, and grab rebounds. It will take herculean efforts from not only LeBron, but also Tristan Thompson, Matthew Dellavedova, Mozgov, and especially Shump and JR Smith to make it happen.
The ingredients are:
-LeBron lifting up the spirits of his teammates and the entire state of Ohio, King of the White Walker style
-LeBron hammering the lane and drawing two or more defenders
-JR, Shump, and Delly knocking down the open shots they get from that
-Delly getting in the face of his man nonstop, and driving and dishing on the offensive end...to...
-Moz and TT for easy oops, and tons of offensive rebounds.
Those asks are not impossible. Not easy, to be sure, but not impossible.
We are #ALLinCLE.