A City Of Champions Again

Cheesy title but man this was fun. Lots of pent up frustration finally released!

 

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Cleveland Cavaliers fans celebrate after the Cavaliers defeated the Golden State Warriors 93-89 in Game 7 of the NBA basketball Finals, Sunday, June 19, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Cleveland Cavaliers fans celebrate after the Cavaliers defeated the Golden State Warriors 93-89 in Game 7 of the NBA basketball Finals, Sunday, June 19, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

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My neighborhood finally quieted down about 2am. The parade on Wednesday should be one of the craziest times this city has ever seen.

Palms Get Sweaty and Backsides Get Tight

Thanks for the title, Stephen A. Smith

EPIC FINALS?

THE REMATCH.  FULL STRENGTH.  NO EXCUSES.

Cleveland Cavs

This is the year Cleveland, embrace it!

 

The breakout star of the finals will be Kyrie Irving. There’s still some people sleeping on this dude. He’s got the best handle in basketball. He’s perhaps the best finisher at the rim while rarely dunking. His jumper is liquid. He’s almost Steph Curry level in his difficulty to guard.

In last years Finals, on a bad knee he had like 23/7 against Curry before blowing his knee out completely.

Kyrie

Word

 

I can’t argue with the credentials and abilities of the Golden State Warriors. They are not easy to beat. They are beatable but almost impossible to kill in a 7 game series.

This isn’t about them. This is about the new champs taking it from the current champs. This is about power and finesse and hopefully some hard 90’s style fouls.

I don’t have a ton of analysis this year, I just feel it. Cavs in 6 or 5, it won’t get close to a game 7.

Party time this summer

Photo Credit: David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images

Photo Credit: David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images

Gotta Make It Happen

Nice knowing’ ya Hotlanta.

 

Remember, playoffs are a different ballgame. It took us a few years to learn that too. Regular season is actually pre-season in the NBA.

Re-sign your guys and quit crying, Delly is just out hustling you, and we will see you next year. Nice season. Also FWIW Korver is overrated.

Cavs verse Dubs is the main attraction, we’ve all wanted to see it for months. No one can stop either team, and they have several of the best players in the L this year.

It should be a battle. I’m afraid to make a pick at this point and the Hawks must first fall in this extreme elimination challenge. Hopefully for Kyrie and Lebron’s bodies the Cavs can end it tonight and get a few days off before the epic.

 

Mark Price Appreciation Post

Steph Curry knows. Kenny Smith knows. Brad Daugherty knows. Steve Kerr knows.

There were a few years in the NBA (1989-1994: the height of the Jordan years) where the best shooter and one of the best overall point guards in the league went without much notice outside of coaches, players and fans of his team.

He was the 2nd guy ever, after Larry Bird, to average 50-40-90% in field goals, threes, and free throws for a full season, known as the 50-40-90 club.  Since then 5 more players have achieved this shooting mastery: Reggie Miller, Steve Nash (4x!), Dirk Nowitski, and Kevin Durant.

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Considered too slow and a small 6′ for the NBA, especially in those years when the league was stocked with talent, Price was picked in the 2nd round by Dallas and traded to Cleveland. I don’t remember much hype about the small white guard that looked like a 12 year old choirboy.

Since Cleveland also picked big Brad Daughtery 1st overall and talented slasher Ronny Harper at pick 8 that day, it was a haul even before they received the news that another talented rookie Hot Rod Williams would be cleared of NCAA gambling charges and be allowed to play for the Cavs.

Cleveland actually had 4 of the 5 all-rookies that year. I don’t know if that’s been done since.

The addition of prime high-flying forward Larry Nance turned the late 80’s Cavs into “the team of the 90’s” according to Magic Johnson. To be a Laker fan and read that!

So how did Price do it? By being one of the single most awesome players ever with the ball in his hands.

Similar to Steph Curry, he could shoot so fast, so accurately, so consistently that defenses just bent to his will.

Similar to Lebron James, he could utilize teammates, spacing, picks, and inventiveness to break your press and decimate your defense.

His secret weapon was his split dribble. See, the Cavs fed off of pick and rolls with their talented big men. Defenders could either plan to fight over the pick, go under the pick, or switch. As they were deciding this he attacked, dribbling directly between them and forcing them off-balance.

It worked like a charm because of his shooting skills – wherever defenders went, he had a play and could get his shot. And usually drain it, bottom of the net, or use glass.

He also impressed in the 1993 3-point shootout, at one point hitting something like 3 racks straight.

In Cleveland he wasn’t even the most famous Cavalier. They were stacked and I remember people considering him a John Stockton knockoff. That’s probably racist, like there’s only room for 1 caucasian point guard? He could out-shoot the Hall of Famer Stockton, and if he had the health and the stability of Stockton, and the mailman, he’d be right there.

Looking back, Mark Price really was the best player on those stocked Cavs teams. He couldn’t even dunk but man that dude could play some basketball. Unstoppable, made everything happen everywhere, and the model for guys like Steph Curry. Mark Price was 6′ Larry Bird, one of the best ever.

 

 

Premature Super Team Thoughts

It’s the new Big Three, the new Power Trio in the (l)eastern conference. NBA fever has hit Cleveland again in the name of Lebron, teaming up with Kyrie, Dion & Andy, adding Love to the new mix that already includes Mike Miller, James Jones, and possibly Jesus Shuttlesworth himself, Mr Ray Allen in a Cavs uniform (man I wanted that like 12 years ago!).

So — who’s buying it?

I really enjoyed watching the 2010 Miami Heat struggle. I really enjoyed watching them fight and perservere all the way to the finals. And man did I enjoy watching those arrogant punks lose to Dallas.

Then they started winning – two dark years in Cleveland basketball history – Bron In Black was everywhere winning everything. We had to endure the “Heat Watch” and all the Beibers court side with James’ ice jersey. El Heatles. Blech. 2 years to go from millions of Witnesses to 14000 Beliebers leaving the arena early at a Finals game.


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So now he’s back – thinner, older, wiser, and hopefully not slower. What will Lebron’s new trio do as compared to he’s previous unit?

I just don’t have a read on it yet. I’m an observational guy, and with so much new with coach Blatt and all these ex-Heat players, the mess that Mike Brown’s rehire/refire trick left, my head is swimming trying to predict how this team stacks up.

 

I know a starting five of Irving, Waiters, LBJ, Love, and Varajao is not a problem in any way. That’s a ton of scoring, passing, rebounding, garbage work, slashing, shooting, and just enough defending. Cavs should put up 100+ a night without too much trouble.

I know a bench rotation of Thompson, Dellavadova, Miller, Jones, and Haywood isn’t too shabby either. You got a scrappy defensive guard, 2 big forwards, and 2 shooters. Add Ray Allen to that bench and it’s that much stronger, but pretty old. There are also several rings on that bench.

He has lobbied against it, but Waiters on the 2nd unit might be the most efficient lineup, replaced by Mike Miller in the starting lineup. Miller gives Lebron his wing spacing and more length, and Dion could be sixth man of the year as the only pure scorer off the bench.

End of bench guys look to be rookies Joe Harris, Dwight Powell, and that 7 footer Kirk we just signed. Don’t expect much from these three but you need depth. There’s always hope one of them is the next Boobie Gibson, elevated from the end of the bench to temporary superstar in LBJ’s wake.

 

My worries include:

  • Are we are getting the old, soon to deteriorate James? His weight loss this offseason is the first major body change I’ve seen in him since he bulked up around his 4th-5th year in the L. He says it’s to get faster. Some say it’s to save his knees. Some even whisper that he’s lost it in the gym, being a dad and hanging home eating pop tarts like the rest of us. We shall see, but I expect nothing short of domination from him, because that’s what he’s always done. He doesn’t push through and dunk over everyone like he did 5 years ago, he’s more efficient with his offensive variety now.
  • Are the snipers shooting at Kevin Love correct? Is it because he’s a white guy, playing in cold distant Minny, buried in the western conference, that he is underrated? Or wait – Overrated? Who can tell with so many opinions out there. I think the guy is a Top 5 PF and can be compared to a Tim Duncan in his overall effectiveness. If Bosh worked well enough with Lebron, Love should be lights out. Love’s offensive game is more varied and creative than Bosh’s.
  • Will Kyrie stop being a defensive liability? If your PG is a turnstile you can’t go all the way, even with Lebron (see Jeff McInnis). The PG has to disrupt the play from the top, or otherwise disturb the opposing PG within the 2nd pass or he’s useless on defense. Most offenses will get whatever shot they want. Kyrie needs to take pride in shutting down the other PG, getting some steals, and taking some charges. His crazy fast feet could make him a much better defender but he just doesn’t seem to try as hard at the defensive end. This could be the fatal flaw to the Cavs Trio.
  • Will Dion Waiters get the love and respect he deservers as one of the most exciting young guards in the L? Guys like Oladipo get more pub but on a nightly basis Dion is more exciting to watch. He’s capable of almost anything on the court, including some crazy shots, but I know that Lebron loves his game, and I do too.

Camp hasn’t even been announced yet, Love isn’t even on the team yet (or Allen), and the new uniforms haven’t been displayed (stab). I will be watching the Cavs SuperTeam, as most of America will, and will prob have lots more to say on it.

I can’t put them as any kind of favorites to win anything more than a lot of games. I said the Heat would struggle early and they did, eventually making it to the finals in their first year and losing. If the Cavs make the Finals in the first year that would be amazing, given the lack of playoff experience in the young players. Chicago, Indiana, and Washington are still my favorites in the east, this year.

But the Cavs Power Trio is for real, coach Blatt is seemingly the best man for such a job (win now or go home), and my team will be on national TV 29 times next season. That’s star power and it should be fun to watch (again).

39 With The Flu

Like Jordan used to – when Kyrie ain’t feeling good he seems to play that much better. Dude dropped 39 with the flu bug the other night against the Bucks, putting down some of the sickest crossovers into layups ever.

Is this the return of the layup? Kyrie can dunk just fine, but man he can flip the ball of the glass every which way, as good as anyone I’ve ever seen.

The End of That

“At the end of the day, all the people that was rooting on me to fail? At the end of the day they have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life that they had before they woke up today” James said. “They have the same personal problems they had today.”

“They can get a few days or a few months or whatever the case may be on being happy about not only myself, but the Miami Heat not accomplishing their goal, but they have to get back to the real world at some point.”

 

Sorry Lebron I think we are done forever now. I went online & on-record and defended him over the years. My eyes saw what most of you saw – this kid could be the best baller ever. He had game falling out of his pockets by the time he was 16. By 19 he was unstoppable. Most of the rumors around town about LBJ’s attitude seemed just that, rumors and jealousy. His game started to peak. Every season wasn’t enough and whatever new skill he developed over the off-season wasn’t enough to get any chips.

Then the rumors started up again, but this time they were far more serious than being a bad tipper — “he doesn’t have it, man, he’s just along for the ride” said the whispers.

A love lost

When he stiffed the Cavs and his most loyal fans in summer 2010 I refrained from posting anything based on pure emotion — after all, most people in cleveland would strongly consider taking a job offer in Miami. That’s cool I get it. But do you shit on your people on the way out? Do you tell everyone in your new place they have never had it as good as now? Thank God Miami, your savior from Akron has arrived. Yeah right! He was our savior and our savior only, and he pissed away that role years ago.

I guess that’s all I have to say on it. After the game last night when Lebron gave us “I’m rich bitch!” I actually felt bad for him for the first time since he was 19.

He doesn’t get it and that’s that. Money does not equal happiness nor can it buy a championship. The Cavs start rebuilding this year and life goes on.