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