Thursday, April 16, 2009


Anybody worried about having to face Detroit in the first round? Be honest. Is there really any reason to be concerned?

Any uneasiness may stem from the fact that the Pistons have much better talent than their 39-42 record indicates. They are also a team used to the grind-out style of playoff hoops, and Rasheed and the boys would love nothing more than to spoil our good times before they even got started.

The Pistons just don’t have that eighth-seed “cannon fodder” feel, even if they couldn’t hold a 10-point lead at home against Chicago to stay out of that final spot. Perhaps you'll be calmed by the words of Detroit Free Press columnist Michael Rosenberg, who doesn’t think Cleveland fans have much to stress about come Game 1 on Saturday:

“You don't want any part of Cleveland,” Rosenberg writes. “This could easily be a sweep, and it is hard to imagine it going past five games. LeBron James will turn this team into playoff witnesses, and sooner rather than later.”

I mostly agree with my fellow landsman. I have little doubt the Cavs are going to win this series. I’d just rather see Chicago when the opening bell sounds. Yes, the Bulls have actually played very well since a trade with Sacramento that brought them the talented John Salmons. And Derrick Rose is immensely quick- the type of point guard that has given the Cavs fits in the past.

However, the Bulls are mostly a perimeter team with virtually no playoff experience. (Doesn’t that describe most every eighth-seed in NBA history?) The Cavs would have eaten Chicago alive.

The Pistons skew that comfortable equation, do they not? They’re like an old grizzly bear that may just have one good swipe left in its ragged claws. Fellow CST blogger SamVox, who has been known to make outrageous claims, so take this next with a grain of salt, insists he would be “surprised, but not shocked” if Detroit found a way to win the series. He points to Detroit’s defensive mindset and the nerve-shattering possibility of a 78-75 Game 7-grinder at The Q.

This series won’t be easy, but I don’t think it’s going to come to that, Sam. The Cavs really are that damned good: They have home court advantage, the best player on the floor, a solid surrounding cast and their own defensive mindset that only seems to tighten as the post-season goes on. This is not the soft-bodied Dallas team that lost a steeplechase to eighth-seed Golden State a few years ago. These Cavs have a history with Detroit; LeBron and friends will treat this series as such.

I implore my fellow Cleveland fans to enjoy the ride. We have an honest-to-God chance to win a championship here, which naturally fills us with abject terror. We cannot fear success. The Cavs are likely going to lose a game or two in the forthcoming weeks and (hopefully) months…we cannot lose our minds when that happens. Please, CST contributor Froms and other nervous wrecks, let’s keep a cool head, and by all means have fun. I will very much try to practice what I’m preaching…Lord knows I will try.
Much love to Plain Dealer columnist Mary Schmitt Boyer for making the most disingenuous statement I’ve seen in the sports pages for some time. In an April 15 article, “Finale for fans just the start,” Boyer maintains that LeBron knows how much a championship would mean to Cleveland.

“James knows what you want. He suffered with you through John Elway, Michael Jordan and Jose Mesa.”

No soap, Mary my dear. First, LeBron was a freaking Jordan fan. LeBron is also a well-known Yankees honk, and was strolling the Dallas sidelines when the Cowboys came to Browns Stadium last season. So, his handlers coached him up on a few sentimental terms (I think LeBron mentioned “The Drive”) and now he’s “one of us?” Mind you, I think he knows about our sports history, I just don’t think he cares.

Which is fine: I don’t care if LeBron is a frontrunner. I’m way over the Yankee hat thing. But Mary…did you actually believe what you were writing? A better question: How did such a cockeyed declaration get through your editors? That’s just sloppy journalism, kids.