Sunday, May 31, 2009

It's over
It was, without question, the greatest regular season in Cavaliers' history. Playoff series against the Pistons and Hawks did nothing to tarnish it.

No excuses. Our guys got beat by a better team. The Magic outplayed the Cavaliers and deserve to go to the NBA Finals.

One is tempted to bemoan the curse that seems to have engulfed our professional sports teams. Two years ago, I didn't believe in such things. But I must confess I muttered about it during this series.

I can't imagine any force greater than humanity would care about Cleveland sports. What we are left with, I think, is just bad luck. Who knows when it will be lifted. But we have to keep thinking it will be. No matter what, the Cavs are and will continue to be our best chance for a world title. If LeBron stays in Cleveland (which, I believe he will) it's hard not to imagine a title washing up upon the shores of Lake Erie.

Great season, bad ending.

Have you heard that before?


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Not over
Of all cities, we should know that a three-games-to-one lead doesn't mean the end. Ask the 2007 Indians.

Look, it doesn't appear good. But I'm not ready to mail this season in just yet. The Cavs should have won last night. A few favorable bounces, and things will start going their way.

I'm not going to make a Mo Williams-esque guarantee. But the Cavs best basketball in this series has to be ahead of them.

It's not over.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Williams better back it up
Back when Joe Namath made a prediction, people took notice. They probably wouldn't have had the Jets lost the Super Bowl. Most outside of Cleveland probably don't recall Browns' rookie receiver Kevin Johnson claiming that his winless Browns would upset the eventual Super Bowl champion Rams in 1999.

In the day of drive-by TV and Internet media, when athletes cease to be athletes and become recycled quotes, Williams' guarantee that the Cavaliers will come back and beat Orlando got attention, but not as much as many might think.

If Williams wants to predict a comeback, he better look in the mirror, and play more like he did in the regular season than in the playoffs. His struggles, combined with practically everyone else not named LeBron are the biggest reasons the Cavs face a close-to-must-win tonight.

Players do this all the time now. They talk before they show. All Williams did was put more pressure on himself, which he probably didn't need.

The Cavaliers aren't dead in this series. A win tonight and the series looks totally different. But for that to happen, the Cavs have to be different than they've been in the first three games. As much as I wish or once believed it was, winning this series is not up to LeBron. It's up to the supporting cast. Williams, DeLonte West, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and even Ben Wallace need to step up, like they did so many times in the regular season.

This group of Cavs is superior to the 2007 team. But the Magic are superior to the 2007 Pistons.

It can happen. The Cavs can come back. But it better start tonight.

Williams made the boast. Now he needs to back it up.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Being beaten by the better team
Knowing that the Magic gave the Cavaliers the dreaded "matchup problems," I figured Cleveland still would win for a simple reason.

LeBron wouldn't let them fail.

Instead, I'm watching something stunning. James is playing some of the best basketball of his life, and it isn't enough.

The Magic have answered every punch. The only reason they didn't Friday was because of a miracle shot and there was no time left to answer.

This series has been sobering. Tempted to blame it on a Cleveland Curse? In my most irritated moments, yes. But look at what the Magic have done. Leave them open, and they drill it. Foul Dwight Howard, and he makes the free throws. Go up by 23, and watch them fight back.

Maybe the reality is the Cavs have the best player, but the Magic have a much better team.

My thought was that if it didn't happen this year, it probably wouldn't happen. I want to believe the Cavs will rally. I want to believe LeBron can get some help. But to win the series, Cleveland has to win in Orlando, maybe more than once.

It just doesn't leave me optimistic. It'd be a shame to remember this season like all the others.

Don't make the Finals, and that's exactly what it'll be.


Monday, May 04, 2009

LeBron is the MVP, now it's time to show why
Logically speaking, the Cavaliers should be able to handle the Hawks in the second round of the NBA playoffs.

But logic rarely enters into Cleveland sports.

It's true that team-for-team, the only ones who could give the Cavaliers any kind of problem is the Lakers, maybe the Magic.

But games are not played on paper. Yes, the Cavaliers looked outstanding against the Pistons, but in Detroit, Cleveland was facing a squad that had mailed in its season.

I don't think the Hawks will do that.

The key for the Cavaliers in any series is LeBron James. He essentially has the ability to not let his team fail.

Objectively, logically, the Cavaliers should handle this series without much drama.

But logic and Cleveland sports are not even distant cousins.