The Championship Parade

Wow this was fun. Felt amazing. Very little trouble, just joy and celebration from a region that has waited for this for generations.

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Getting around was not easy


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Here’s where we stopped – E.9th and Superior. After waiting about 2 hours JR Smith finally parted the crowd and started the fun.


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Look at that crowd up East 9th! This is from the top of the building we were in front of on Superior & East 9th


CLEVELAND, OH -  JUNE 19: Fans fill a parking garage with in view of Quicken Loans Arena during the Cleveland Cavaliers NBA Finals Game Seven watch party  on June 19, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Wherever fans could get up to get a look they went for it. Here’s the Q parking garage at the start of the parade.


Cleveland Cavaliers' J.R. Smith stands in the back of pickup truck as he greets fans during a parade celebrating the  basketball team's NBA championship in downtown Cleveland, Wednesday, June 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

JR was the first guy in the parade and he stood shirtless the whole time. The joy in his face was amazing and infectious. 


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The crowds were so big that the police and volunteers couldn’t keep the road clear. The parade slowed as they had to creep through the crowd. Literally a single violent issue reported – a teenager shooting another teenager in the leg on the way home.


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The King posed in front of his sign and people went nuts! The two princes are up front.


As the parade started the end of the route clogged completely.

As the parade started the end of the route clogged completely. I’m in this picture – one of the wine-colored specks to the left of the tree center-bottom.


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Downtown was swamped. This is the intersection of Prospect/Huron/East 9th


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K Love smiled more in one day than he had in 2 years! He had his championship belt and the love of the fans to get him through to the rally at Mall C.


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You know several of the Spiderman movies filmed in Cleveland…


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Using the camera zoom lens down East 9th to see if the parade is starting yet


A good overview of the parade in route.

A good overview of the parade en-route. It started at the Q (top left – slanted roof), then (counterclockwise) up Ontario, left on Carnegie, left on East 9th, all the way up to Lakeside, then another left to Mall C. You can see the rally crowd already formed top center with the Browns stadium beyond them.  Methinks that’s more than 1.3 million folks.


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A shot of the rally crowd on Mall C waiting for the parade to complete. You can see the Rock Hall in the distance.

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.

We Have A Series

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3-2 at this point. 1 game left in Cleveland. Possible game 7 back in Oakland.

I said 4-2 Cavs so I’ve been disqualified for a bit now. I did predict Kyrie’s breakout.

The Warriors are a resilient, tricky bunch.

The Cavs have a lot of talent and heart too.

We all want a game 7, I think even Warriors fans want a game 7. They don’t want to clinch away from home again.


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Steph Curry has been disappointing in The Finals again. The regular season MVP seems to have some issue when high-level defense is played on his perimeter trick shot game.  When Curry isn’t making 3’s he isn’t doing much for his team. All this whispering about injury is bull. You either play or you don’t, phantom injuries that you won’t speak about don’t matter.

Cavs really need some offensive output from JR Smith and Kevin Love. I’d like to see some contribution from Channing Frye also.

Should be a battle Thursday. Here’s hoping the Cavs live to fight one more day. Game 7 winner takes all I like my chances with Bron and Kyrie.

Palms Get Sweaty and Backsides Get Tight

Thanks for the title, Stephen A. Smith

EPIC FINALS?

THE REMATCH.  FULL STRENGTH.  NO EXCUSES.

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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

2015 NBA Finals Post Mortem

It’s over. Congratulations to the Golden State Warriors, 2015 NBA Champs. They earned it by plowing through the regular season, rolling to the Finals, and catching an injured Cavs squad that didn’t have the bodies to match up. They complete their historic season with MVP Stephon Curry and rookie head coach Steve Kerr.

Lebron is dead! Lebron is dead! Ding dong, Lebron is dead!

Lebron is dead! Lebron is dead! Ding dong, Lebron is dead!

 

If we had a healthy Cleveland team featuring Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love to go along with Lebron James – that would have been a heavyweight battle for the ages. Instead we got to see Lebron try to beat the Warriors more or less by himself, and he got amazingly close, but just didn’t have the talent left on the bench to put down the Warriors. 5 of the 6 games were close but as the time wound down the Warriors had the depth and energy to persevere.

Lebron dropped historic offensive numbers while picking up the slack for his injured scorers. The 2 replacements from the bench (Tristan Thompson and Matt Dellevadova) had to play heavy minutes, completely depleting the Cleveland bench and leaving Coach Blatt with very few options.

The Cavs did get a little pat on the back for effort, the Cleveland fans showed out nicely (louder than the “roaracle”), and Vegas gave the city of Cleveland it’s “wait for next year” hope by making the Cavs the early favorites as the 2016 champs!

 

20k inside the arena, 20k outside the arena. Well done.

20k inside the arena, 20k outside the arena. Well done.

3-2 Warriors – Cavs Facing Elimination

First off, what a year for these two teams. The Warriors completed a dominant regular season with an unorthodox style led by their shooting, often times quick hit 3’s early in the shot clock. They played defense, they mowed through the West, and they are 1 game away from their first title in 40 years.

The Cavs were the story this year in the NBA, and they didn’t fail to deliver some drama. Much of it was little more than hype by the press but there’s no denying that a first year coach, 3 all-stars that had never played together before, and the feel-good retribution story of Lebron and his hometown of Cleveland/Akron was compelling.

Driving this outfit of undermanned misfits to a ring might be too much even for Lebron. But it’s been a fun ride. If the Cavs succumb he will take an unfair hit for his overall finals record and not given the credit he deserves for this season.

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My prediction of Cavs in 6 is out the window, and unless Kyrie’s broken kneecap heals by Tuesday it’s tough to see them winning 2 straight in the condition they are in now.

Tough but not impossible though — if the Cavs can hold home court Tuesday night I’ll take my chances in Game 7 with Lebron, no matter where it’s played. Cleveland equals tough, so don’t get overconfident Dubs fans!

I say Cavs in 7 with at least 1 more 40/15/15 game from LBJ. Or Cavs are out of juice and Warriors in 6. If so it will be sad to see them celebrate in the Q.

Either way, good finals, hard fought, the Warriors are a little dirtier than I thought they’d be (not a bad thing), and it does have the feel of the first of several future Finals matchups. It’s a testament to Lebron and Blatt that the Cavs are here at all, missing 2 all-stars.

1st and 2nd overall pick, 2003.

1st and 2nd overall pick, 2003.

2-1 Cleveland With Momentum

The Warriors MVP woke up, finally, towards the end of game 3, down by 20. It was good but scary as a Cavs fan to see Stephon Curry hit 3 straight.

Other than that, Cleveland has owned this series. Through their own inability to close they are up 2-1 as opposed to 3-0, winning nearly every quarter of this series so far.

The Cavs seem to want it more, the Cleveland crowds are better, the city is rocking, things are looking up. But it’s only 2-1, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The Dubs and Cavs have come back from 2-1 already this year.

Dellavedova breaks arms, legs, neck. Will play game 4

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Series Reset 1-1, Moving To Cleveland

Why The National Media Continues to Favor The Warriors

1. They refuse the Eyeball test. Stats are interesting, insightful, and of course the most important single stat determines a win or loss. The new generation of analytics along with our visually mobile culture create an environment where we are easily swayed by charts and graphs. Basketball is suffering through this currently. There are ‘new method verse old school’ arguments around, and in this case I split the difference. Show all the stats and graphs you want, but don’t disregard the eyeball test! Lebron looks like he wants that Trophy more than he ever has before, his team is wounded and scary, they are bigger, play better defense, and who picks against that? Warriors look like they’ve never been there before, the coach and entire roster. Oh yeah, they haven’t. 9 rings on the Cavs, 17 Blatt trophies, and that shows in that no one on the Cavs are sweating (except Kevin Love at every mention of Kelly Olynyk.)

SLAM!

SLAM!

2. Know the sport.  There are fundamental rules in the NBA game that many people miss. First – Playoffs are different than regular season. Regular season is actually the pre-season and people never understand that. Everything is harder in the playoffs. Everything s l  o   w    s   down, every window closes, every gap is smaller, every possession matters. You know the rule that good offense beats good defense? Reversed in the playoffs. Teams shut other teams down, destroy their offense, sweep them out at every level of the playoffs. No team would beat the same team 4 games straight in the regular season but the playoffs are different. Therefore, any analyst that talks about the regular season during the finals is rubbish.

Regular Season? You talking about the Regular Season? We ain’t talking about the Finals, we talking about Regular Season? We ain’t talking about The Finals. The Finals. You asking me about Regular Season?

 

POW!

POW!

These false experts also forget that the NBA Finals is closer to a pickup game played before the world than any formal event featuring beautiful basketball exhibitions. It’s a blood bath, a grind house, a painful struggle that only true champions survive. Cleveland learned this lesson in 2007 when professional champions from Texas exposed our overachieving newbies and a virgin GOAT. Fools underestimate the Eastern Conference champs every year based on regular season offense, combining both mistakes into the great lie. It’s 5 on 5, 1 basketball, for the chip, and regular season stats, politics, concepts, and offense go out the window.

Shump!

SHUMP!

3. Play the sport. If you, your kids, your brother, even your cousin you hang with spent real time playing basketball then you know a real baller, both playground and organized team. They didn’t need to be great themselves, just good enough to be on teams, go to practice, be on travel teams, good enough to get picked at the courts, and to even hold court. If they were professional or semi-pro they are experts. Yes high school counts, maybe even middle school! Bottom line is until you’ve jammed your hip and ass into some dude’s sweaty crotch over and over to keep him off the boards and chop him down a bit on offense you don’t really know basketball.

Appetizing description, I know, but my point is reading or watching basketball is not playing basketball. It’s a grind, it’s a game of sweat, cuts, poked eyes, bent fingertips, millimeters, frustration, and anger. It’s not stats, a narrative, or psychology. Most analysts never played, and only some of them admit it and let the real experts drive their narrative.

ROAR!

ROAR!

National analysts follow bandwagons and they follow sexy stories. We saw it a decade ago with Lebron. Perhaps the Miami version of Lebron wore out his welcome and the narrative has pushed past him, therefore he is not the sexy story, the obvious story, and this is basketball, not Hollywood. Austin Carr said the Warriors play “good basketball but pretty-boy basketball”. Welcome to the trenches.

Game 2 Notes: Nothing Stunning At All

The Cavs have been having their way with the Warriors for most of the series so far. The first 2 games have been controlled by Cleveland throughout, with leads being elusive and short-lived for these overly-hyped regular season Warriors. It could be 2-0 either way, but each game had the Cavs ahead with the Warriors making late runs to get back in the game.

I sense the virginity at Oracle. True, the Cavs organization has no NBA championships, but there’s 9 championship rings on that roster compared to 0 worn by Warriors. I don’t even think a Warrior player has ever even been to the Finals, whereas the Cavs have 22 previous Finals games on the roster. [See Tales of the Tape for the lowdown]

Steve Kerr is much loved and respected around the NBA. He won 5 rings as a player and was popular on TV. But he’s a virgin as a coach. Blatt has coached 17 championships. 17. Discount that all you want, it’s still more than Kerr.

Steph Curry is much loved and respected around the NBA. Steve Nash perhaps helped the Cavs last week by declaring Curry the best shooter of all time!  But he’s a baby-faced virgin too, on a bigger stage than he’s ever been on.

The media is still amazed at how this supposedly superior Warriors team and being handled by what they consider a 1-man show from a weak conference coached by a newbie. None of this is true, even though it’s the narrative they are all pushing.

Golden State is the latest NBA gimmick, and gimmick’s don’t always win championships. Sometimes they do, and I’m not writing off the Warriors completely. I do believe they were the best regular season team but that means nothing now. They are still capable of shooting 50% from 3 and spanking the Cavs. It’s a long series.

You are now going to see the best basketball player in the world play in front of the best fans in the best NBA arena. Sure Oracle might be slightly louder, but it’s due to the ancient building’s lack of acoustic treatment, not because Warriors fans are somehow more psyched than Cleveland fans.

No California sports fans are out-rooting Cleveland sports fans. Cavs fans know the game, know that defense is more important than “splashing”, and know when it comes down to the game on the line, they’d take Lebron Ramone James over anyone not named Michael circa 1992.


 

Previous Finals Posts:

Game 1: Missed Opportunities

NBA Finals: Tale of the Tape

Cavs v Dubs: The Main Event

Game 1 – Missed Opportunities

Wow what a game, what a story.

The big Russian dunks on everyone!

The big Russian dunks on everyone!

First off, message sent.  Everyone claiming the Warriors were clear favorites, ready to wipe the pathetic “leastern conference” champs out with ease, watched the Cavs handle the Warriors for most of the game. Cleveland responded to every Warriors run, made just as many big shots, and controlled much of the game. The “Roaracle” sat nervously on it’s collective hands.

Secondly – what a huge missed opportunity! The first team to get a road win takes the advantage and the Cavs had one right in their hands. They couldn’t finish it out in regulation, let the Dubs take a late lead, then had to tie it and had nothing good for the last shot. Lebron was very good but a stepback three is not needed there, he should have driven and looked for contact.

Then after 44 minutes played Kyrie tweeks his knee again and the Cavs collapse in OT. Uncle Drew had looked good until then, scoring on and defending MVP Curry, but it wasn’t enough.

Warriors are the deeper team but they looked small compared to the Cavs. They are also dirtier under the glass than I thought — holding, pulling, and applying arm-bars all over Tristan and Mozgov, and very few were called. Bogut and Green used every trick in the book to keep the Cavs off the glass, and most of them were illegal, but almost nothing was called.

I’m more surprised than mad about that. The Warriors were more physical than the Cavs and they got away with more dirty plays, and I expected that to be opposite.

I still say Cavs in 6 or Cavs in 7. Lebron, Mozgov and Kyrie played well for the Cavs but no one else really did. Lebron outscored the splash-bros by himself. If/when the Cavs click they are going to blow the Warriors out, hopefully they do it at least once in Oakland.


Previous NBA Finals posts:

NBA Finals Tales of the Tape

Cavs v Dubs: The Main Event

NBA Finals – Tale of the Tape

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These categories are ranked in importance from top to bottom. Notice how Regular Season is near the bottom. Championship experience and pedigree is valued above all else, and in that department the Warriors are total virgins.

As you work down the stats for the Playoffs notice that the Cavs have slightly improved since the regular season ended and the Warriors have slightly declined. Also notice that the Warriors still pass and shoot the ball better than the Cavs.

Coach Blatt is being ignored and disrespected by most NBA types, as they outright dismiss his steady ability to collect championships over a 24 year coaching career. These championships are across various tournaments, leagues and continents, but the same thing happened almost every time – Coach Blatt’s team brought home the trophy. No way can that experience be discarded because it didn’t take place in the NBA. Champions are champions, only the details change in every quest.

 

Other NBA Finals Hype:

Cavs v Dubs: The Main Event

Cavs v Dubs: The Main Event

Finally we have arrived at the main event. Actually, we have to wait 8 days for it (the longest time ever!).

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Update — Check out the NBA Finals Tale of the Tape

 

I’ll be doing some statistical and eyeball analysis over the next couple of days before announcing my pick for the finals. Initial thoughts:

  • Since the Cavs made their big roster shakeup and Lebron’s winter break, they have a better record than the Warriors.
  • Lebron out-ranks everyone in the series in championship pedigree. Knowing how to get one is different than wanting one.
  • The Cavs roster has more playoff experience, more finals experience, and more championship rings than the Warriors.
  • Blatt and Kerr are rookie NBA coaches, but Blatt has coached several major championships around the world over the last 20 years. He’s no rookie coach, he’s a rookie NBA coach. In actual games won he’s closer to Popovich than Kerr.
  • The Warriors offensive strength is their outside shooting. Just like the Hawks, who shot 20% lower against the Cavs than anyone else.

So that’s just some food for thought as they announce the Cavs as underdogs.

 

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.

 

Rematch!

It’s on, starting tonight, a rematch of the best NBA Finals I’ve seen in decade. It’s the legacy of the Spurs verses the hated Heat. So much matchup drama here.

Lebron’s 1-1 against Timmy Duncan in the finals. This is the grudge match.

The Spurs have been there but haven’t won a ring in many years, despite playing stronger than they did winning their last one in 2007 (against Lebron’s overmatched Cavs).

The Heat want the “three-peat”, a term invented by their president Pat Riley and achieved not once, but twice by the man Lebron strives to be, Mike Air Jordan.

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The Spurs will never 3Peat but they have 4 rings already, and that’s 2 more than Lebron.

Is LBJ underachieving? Getting 3 straight, including 2 in a row against Popovich, would do a lot to improve his “best ever” stock.

Get in front of a TV and enjoy the battle of old baldies verse the Heatles.

ITS OVER!!!!  Spurs in 4, they totally dismantled the Heat and made them look old and slow.

 

 

 

 

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