Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Say it Aint So, Joe! Orlando Magic, 3, Cleveland Cavaliers, 1. A Fan’s Rant.

The Cavs are down 3-1 in the Eastern Conference Finals! I know some people would point out that 8 teams have come back from a 3-1 deficit and won the series, and to those people, I say: Yes, miracles do happen…just not in Cleveland. I’ve been a Cavs fan all of my life. I was practically in love with Bob Sura when I was younger. I’m one of those crazy Cleveland people who support all of my Cleveland teams, losers that they are. I won’t pretend that I watch every game. I may see the occasional game during the season (except for when Bob Sura was playing, back then, I rarely missed a game), but I’m always there for the playoffs.

Now back to the situation at hand. What I don’t get is why the Cleveland sports teams, can’t just lose games? Why do they always have to lose big games in heartbreaking ways? Why are the fans always left with ifs, and could of, should of, would ofs? What happens if the Cavs don’t turn over the ball so many times in overtime? LeBron’s shot could have, should have gone in, just like Delonte’s three at the end of game one and Mo’s desperation three at the end of game one. Why is it always the opposing team that gets the roll, the bounce, the key play?

As a Cleveland fan, I wondered what ailment would besiege us this time, because it’s always something. Now we find ourselves staring down the barrel of elimination. Am I surprised? Not really, this is a Cleveland team after all. Failing this season would be the typical Cleveland thing to do. The surprise would have been if they actually made it to the Finals and won.

I’m not trying to take anything away from my guys. It was a great season! The best in Cleveland Cavalier history! So good in fact, that the fans, eternal optimists that we are, actually believed for a moment, that maybe, just maybe the curse had been lifted and Cleveland’s drought would be over. I’m not going to say the standard Cleveland refrain of “there’s always next year” because I’m sick of that phrase. When will it be “this” year? When will we be able to say, “we’ll win again next year and repeat!” Of course we’re Cleveland, so our chances of actually winning the first time are slim to none, which means the probability of winning two years in a row is pretty close to non-existent, but it would be nice to have a championship win under our belts.

I said it at the beginning of this series and I’ll say it again: Cleveland teams do not fare well in close games. Yes LeBron saved us in one game, but what is one game if you lose the series?

Orlando rained threes on Cleveland’s hopes and dreams and all I could do was watch. I knew at the end of the fourth quarter that the game was over and the Cavs would be returning home down 3-1. When overtime started and a fatigued LeBron had some careless turnovers, it only confirmed what I knew to be true. Cleveland lost. It’s what we do best.

I don’t mean to sound like a whiny fan, but if all of your city’s major sports teams had a history of being seconds or half an inning or one play away from winning big games, you would understand. It’s something that you begin to expect, but never really want to see.

I’m a witness alright. I witnessed another typical Cleveland let down. I’m not bitter though. I’ll still be cheering on my Cavs next year. It’s what we do here. We lose and move on.

I think all of Cleveland’s fans and players should hold hands around Quicken Loans Arena and bring in a shaman to lift the curse, and then after we finish there, we should march over to Progressive Field and do the same thing and then head down to Browns Stadium and do it there too. I figure if we try to lift the curse off of all three, maybe we can luck out and actually lift it off of one of them, and hey, if we’re really lucky, our prayers will work for all three.

If all else fails, we should change the name from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Toledo Cavaliers or any other Ohio city that isn’t Cleveland, because the Cavs have changed venues before, so the curse is obviously with the name, not the building, right?

I know, I know, there is no such thing as a curse. The Orlando Magic beat us, we should deal with it. To people who say that, I say, go look at the game footage and put your team in the place of the Cavs. How would you feel if your team lost the way the Cavs lost?

I understand that I should have hope and that I should believe that the Cavs will win three games in a row and make it to the finals. I know they are physically capable of winning the next three games, but as a Cleveland fan, I know better than to hope or believe in such madness. It is possible that they will win but I’m not willing to hold my breath on it.

The Cavs definitely need to make some personnel changes. I’ll address those later though.

The only good thing that will come out of the Cavs season ending is that my posts will finally stop being about sports for a while.

Status: Looking forward to next season and still proud to say Go Cavs! It’s not your fault you couldn’t escape Cleveland’s sports history this year. Maybe next year, right? Lol.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Cleveland Fans Got What They Wanted…But Are They Happy?

I said it before and I will say it again: Cleveland sports teams have a long history of not being able to win big games if they are close. I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s something in the water or the psyche of the players or the city, but it’s true. Some Cleveland fans have been begging for a more competitive series. I have been content with the blowouts. Blowouts may be easy and not as entertaining to watch, but blowouts are safe. As I watched Orlando cut in to the Cavs lead, I got an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. And then it happened: the Cavs lost their first game of the playoffs, but it wasn’t a regular loss. As Mo Williams’ shot touched the rim and came off, I watched the Cavs lose home court advantage. Now the Cavs will have to win in Orlando. It’s not optional.

As for all the people, my father included, saying that it was too much of one man and LeBron James can’t do it by himself. I say, “LeBron James played his ass off last night. It’s not his fault his teammates forgot that basketball games have two halves.” I don’t know why his teammates were having trouble scoring, but they were. If not for LeBron, the Cavs would have been blown out last night. I agree that one man can’t win a game by himself, he needs his team, and LeBron’s team went in the locker room at halftime and forgot to come back out. Yes Delonte West and Mo Williams hit some big shots down the stretch, but it was too little, too late. By the time Delonte and Mo woke up, Orlando already felt that they could win the game. I’m not going to blame Delonte missing a three pointer in the final seconds, or Mo missing a miracle last shot at the buzzer because it shouldn’t have come down to that. I’m going to blame the entire Cavs team, with the exception of LeBron, because I didn’t recognize the team that played the third and fourth quarters. The Cavs let Orlando come back on them and they let Orlando steal a game.

Everyone knew going in that this should be a competitive series that’s part of the reason why I was secretly hoping for the Boston Celtics. I wanted Boston to lose to Chicago, but when they didn’t, I wanted them to make it to the conference finals so we could beat them. The Cavs would have easily swept the floor with the Celtics. We almost beat them with Garnett, there was no way they would win four games against us without Garnett. They would have been lucky to win one or two. That said though, what’s done is done. We are playing the Orlando Magic, which means we have to show up to play every minute of every game.

My question is: How did a badly cramping LeBron manage to outplay all of his teammates in the fourth quarter? Hmm…

Status: Not really happy that my prediction was right. I would have preferred to be wrong on this one. Go Cavs!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Give Me My Chalupa

I’m not sure what’s going on with me. I literally worked my ass off all week. I was helping my father get a house ready for a tenant to move in. We did a bunch of repairs and cosmetic things. My week was extremely hectic. I spent the days doing manual labor, the afternoons/early evenings tutoring and then I edited papers for some of my family members and watched quite a few playoff basketball games. Somehow I still managed to go out and celebrate Cinco de Mayo even though I don’t have a Mexican bone in my body, and I went out to eat a couple of times. I’m actually impressed that I found time for some fun things this week.

As a Cleveland fan, I’m happy that the team is winning. I thought it was funny that the announcers made fun of the Cavs’ fans because of their reaction to Tuesday’s victory in which the Cavs scored 99 points and fell one point shy of clinching chalupas for all the fans in attendance. When the Cavs are blowing out the other team, what else do you have to look forward to except for the chalupas? It was ironic though that the Cavs could have scored again, but opted not to because they wanted to show some class, yet the fans were upset about their chalupas. I guess I should point out that it was Cinco de Mayo. You know it wasn’t much of a game though when all the fans have to talk about is not getting free chalupas. I’ve actually heard some Cleveland fans complaining that none of the games so far have been competitive. Are you kidding me? As a Cleveland fan, you should be ecstatic that the Cavs are blowing out the opposition. Have you forgotten how Cleveland sports’ teams historically fare in close games? Need I remind you of “the shot,” “the drive” or the countless other incidents that have robbed us of important wins? Do you want to talk about the homer that lost the World Series for us in 1995 or how we had a one run lead going in to the bottom of the ninth of the seventh game of the World Series in 1997 and managed to let the other team tie and then go on to defeat us in extra innings? I mean we can go down the list if you’d like, but I hope you have lots of time. The Cavs will be tested in the playoffs. That is a fact, but until then, sit down, shut up and enjoy the ride because we won’t coast forever.

Here’s a random poem I wrote. Surprisingly, it has nothing to do with sports.

The Aftermath

Tears fall
And words stay still
Everything about the moment is wrong
There’s movement and nothing
There are frozen thoughts and frantic eyes
And a failure to break the silence
That’s the aftermath of the wrong phrase
Said out loud.

Status: Finally done with the hard work and looking forward to relaxing a little and posting an update to my group.

Friday, May 1, 2009

A Little Basketball Obsessed

This has been quite a long week. I’ve been doing a lot of manual labor in addition to assisting with academic work that is not mine. To make matters worse, I have found myself captivated by the NBA playoffs as if I’ve never seen them before. The Chicago-Boston series is completely amazing and though I want Boston to lose because they took my Cavs out last year, I don’t think I’d be disappointed if either team won because both have put in the work. Wait I take that back, I will be disappointed with Chicago if they lose because the series was theirs for the taking. They had ample chances to win both the second and the fifth game and they squandered them and let Boston close the gap in the fourth quarter and march on to victory. I can’t take another overtime though so they better get it decided in regulation.

I’m ready for the Cavs to go back to action, so hopefully the Atlanta-Miami series wraps up tonight. I wonder if Mo Williams could get away with the things Rondo has gotten away with…hmm, why do I feel like the answer to that is a resounding no? I don’t like to join in on the conspiracy theories, but I’m just saying, if any other player on any other team with the exception of maybe LeBron and possibly Kobe, did the things that Rondo has done, they would have been suspended. Hell, even Dwight Howard got suspended! I guess Rondo has to actually throw a punch before anything happens to him. I was going to say he has to actually hurt people, but I think causing guys to get stitches qualifies as hurting them. I don’t think he’s a malicious thug like some Chicago fans are painting him, but I will admit that he has been doing some very questionable things. I know it’s the playoffs and you foul harder and all that crap, but there’s no excuse for some of the things Rondo has done. Some Boston fans have said that Hinrich started the most recent altercation with Rondo because he was boxing him out unnecessarily, um, okay, so the next time somebody boxes Mo Williams out unnecessarily I guess he should pull them by their arm and then throw them out of bounds and in to the scorer’s table. People may say that Hinrich was wrong for squaring off with Rondo but I don’t blame him. It was the second time he got jacked by Rondo and if the refs aren’t going to defend him, then who should do it? Hinrich manned up and made it clear to Rondo that he was not the one to mess with.

The Second Hinrich Incident:

All that said however, the loss in game five in which Rondo did his best to take out Brad Miller cannot be blamed on the refs not calling the flagrant foul, or on Brad Miller probably being dazed and confused, the blame for that loss belongs to the Bulls and their coach. The Bulls had a decent lead in the fourth quarter and they let Boston come back and win the game. That is inexcusable and doesn’t garner much sympathy from me.

The Brad Miller Incident:

Status: Eagerly waiting to see the final game between the Bulls and the Celtics.