Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

Love’s Labour’s Lost… And the 5 Stages of Dealing With It

Friday, May 1st, 2015

[If you haven’t taken a listen to Tom’s terrific chat with Mark Neal… please read no further until you have done so…]

This past week has been a challenging one for Cavs fans, myself included. What should have been the joy and satisfaction of victory, easily sweeping a first round series against a scrappy Boston team, turned rapidly into the agony and pain of a nightmare injury scenario in one awkward yank.

I hate admitting it, but I’m old enough to have witnessed the painfully devastating Jim Chones injury that effectively ended the “Miracle of Richfield” season in 1976. But, be you a long time, die-hard believer in the wine and gold like me, a relative newcomer to the “All In” bandwagon, or somewhere in between, the now nearly unfolded saga of the dislocation of Kevin Love (both his arm from his shoulder socket, and his presence in the starting lineup of his team) has likely sent you careening with me down the rabbit hole of the infamous Kübler-Ross model for the Five Stages of Grief. And if it didn’t, then you are likely either numb or immune to the concept of the curse of being a Cleveland sports fan… or you are a robot.

The stages themselves (for me at least) have arrived on an almost daily basis, with each passing 24-hour frame offering up a new layer of information, media attention and discussion about the joint in question. So, it seemed fitting to break them down that way…

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The Point Four-ward: Love-less and More

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

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[Note: if you haven’t checked out David Wood and Evil Genius going at each other in a classic Cavs: The Duel, from earlier today, go here first.]

Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) The pop Cavs fans heard when Kelly Olynyk “got tied up” with Kevin Love wasn’t Love’s shoulder separating from its socket — the acute anterior inferior glenohumeral dislocation with the corresponding ligament/labrum tearing and humeral head bone bruising. It was almost as if Love’s shoulder was mic’d up at that moment of “incidental contact” with Olynyk, as a crushing, sickening popping sound echoed throughout all of Cavs fandom. It was that moment that a wheel popped off of what had, until this point, been a very fun ride on the Cavs bandwagon.

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The Case for Cleveland

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

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Editor’s Note: This piece was written before the events of Sunday, but I believe it is more relevant now than ever. As someone who didn’t grow up in northeast Ohio, but adopted it as my home and chose to raise a family here, this piece resonates with me. I believe a Cleveland championship is still within this team’s grasp. I believe that, at their best, sports have the ability to elevate and unify us as citizens of this great country and this great state. That is something worth hoping for. We all could use a dose of hope today. Hope and anticipation always trump despair and worry when rolling over the potholes on the road to a goal. Thanks for writing this, Cory. -Nate

We all have to come from somewhere and have little choice in the matter. A long time ago, ambitious men drew lines on paper to divvy up soil to segregate ourselves from one another, and our minds are so powerful, or so weak, that today we believe that those boundaries are natural. As time passed those lines defined where we were from and who we are. Different sets of customs, speech and mores arose. Where you’re from is probably something simple like where your grandfather found work or where your mother forgot to take a pill. For Northeast Ohioans, that work was breaking their bodies in the mile long mills that built America. Coke ovens spitting out heat so hot that it would make the devil himself blush forged the ivory tower of the American Empire. Our lines are often described as flyover country, a place to ignore in between the flight between the coasts. It’s a time and place to be forgotten. Every passing year, the powerful marriage of iron and carbon is forgotten a little more, and the red headed bastard child slowly percolates. The rust is swallowed by the rich glacial soil that once feed our grandfathers. The rust is in our rivers and lakes. The rust is in our corn and apples. The rust is in the breast milk we feed our young.

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The Point Four-ward: The Ballad of the Slow Gunslinger

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

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Four points I’m thinking about the NBA Playoffs and the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) Nothing about the Cavs overall performance in their first two playoff games against the Boston Celtics really qualifies as reason for alarm. The Cavs have taken care of business winning Games 1 and 2 by 11 and nine points respectively. Some expected the Cavs to steamroll the Celtics a little more than they have, but these games have shown the Boston squad to be made of just the type of pluck and gumption that makes for a good story this time of year.

A good story, though, does not a winning team make.

This doesn’t mean the Cavs have played fault-free ball since the league’s second season tipped off. In fact, one of the things that has been most troubling about this Cavs team so far is that they seem to need to take a good shot from a more spirited opponent before playing their best ball.

The Celtics, it turns out, are in no short supply of shots.

The Cavs have started both games slowly, giving the Celtics shooters (I mean, if that’s what you want to call Marcus Smart…) space and allowing relatively easy access to the rim, while the Celtics have been draped over LeBron James and Kyrie Irving from jump.

So far, this Cavs team is the rare slow gunslinger who may not get off the first shot, but, in the end, is still able to walk away from the showdown.

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The Point Four-ward: A Merciful End to the Regular Season

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

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Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers on the final day of the 2014-15 NBA regular season…

1.) While the Celtics won’t be pushovers in the first round, it’s clear why the Cavs would prefer to play a relatively young Boston team over a resurgent (until the last two games, anyway) Brooklyn team and a Pacers team who have given the Cavs problems all year and just got their star player, Paul George, back for the stretch run and likely beyond.

The Celtics are hot at exactly the right time. Winners of four straight and seven of the last ten, head coach Brad Stevens’ squad ranks third in points per game (111.5), third in assists per game (26.3) and first in steals (13.3) over the ten game span prior to Tuesday night’s game against Toronto.

Also, in the month of April the Celtics have been allowing only 97.4 points per 100 possessions, good for fifth best in the league. They feature a dangerous scorer in Isaiah Thomas (20.7 points and 5.5 assists in April) and some lively big bodies in Brandon Bass and former Cavalier Tyler Zeller to go along with an absolutely dogged perimeter defense led by Avery Bradley and rookie Marcus Smart.

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The Point Four-ward: Looking (Somewhat Ambitiously) Ahead

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

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Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) J.R. Smith’s three point explosion against the Chicago Bulls on Sunday (8-17 FGs… all three pointers) had many Cavs fans on Twitter talking about the team’s starting two guard and his contract status. After all, Smith has a player option for just under $6.4 million for next season. If he were playing like he was as a member of the New York Knicks earlier this season, Smith likely would have picked up that option. And, right now, $6.4 million for the type of production Smith is providing is a bargain.

In Cleveland, Smith has thrived and the team has thrived with him. Cavs head coach David Blatt has referred to Smith as “a godsend” and LeBron James has said the 6-8 Smith has been “everything we needed and more.”

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The Point Four-ward: Delly Roll(ing)?

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

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Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) Matthew Dellavedova may have saved his spot in the rotation with a strong recent six game stretch.

Prior to the trade deadline, the Cavs were known to be looking to shore up their back-up point guard spot. As previously discussed in this column, the Cavs were seriously considering former NBA players then playing in China who would become free agents at the conclusion of the CBA season.

Following an early-season knee injury, Dellavedova was still showing all of the grit and hustle that has made him beloved by each of the last two Cavaliers head coaches. Only now he seemed a step slow(er) and his offense had taken a dip, going from “feisty” to just “showing the occasional twitch.”

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An Open Letter to Earl Joseph Smith, III

Friday, March 27th, 2015

Dear Earl,

I have two words for you… I’m sorry.

I don’t know if you’ve already heard this mea culpa sentiment from other former doubters, haters or pessimists, but I for one can say in all honesty that I completely misjudged what your impact on this team would be from the start. (more…)

The Point Four-ward: What Is And What Should Never Be

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

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Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) Not long after Steve Nash announced his retirement last week, this story broke: had Nash asked for a buyout from the Lakers around the trade deadline, the Cavs had interest in bringing the 18-year vet on board to spell Kyrie Irving for limited minutes. The move made some sense because a.) LeBron James has always been a big Nash fan b.) both Cavs GM David Griffin and Director of Player Administration Raja Bell are close with Nash from their time together with the Phoenix Suns and c.) the Cavs, at least at the time they were considering this move, were looking to shore up their backup point guard spot.

Nash, however, chose to stay a Laker, the organization with which he wanted to end his career. And, really, you have to wonder if Nash would have been able to give the Cavs even the 10-15 minutes a night they were looking for, as he has not played in a game all season and has only played 65 games for the Lakers since they acquired him prior to the 2012-13 season.

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Kevin Love is Not Fitting In (to your Preconceived Notions of Kevin Love Fitting In)

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

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Editors Note: This piece was published with editorial contributions from Nate Smith and EvilGenius, and with scouting contributions from Ben Werth. Also, please check out David Wood’s Links to the Present published earlier today.

On January 13, the Cavaliers lost their sixth game in a row to drop below .500 (19-20).  Kevin Love played particularly poorly, shooting 3-11 from the floor and posting a team-worst -19 in under 27 minutes.  He rode the pine for the entire fourth quarter.  (It was not the first time Love had been benched for the entire fourth quarter of a non-blowout: on December 26th, Coach Blatt, searching for answers, ran with an ultra-small lineup of LeBron-Delly-Dion-MMiller-TT in the fourth quarter and it worked – the Cavs outscored the Magic 27-14 and won by nine.)  Despite the fact that Markieff Morris (or as LeBron referred to him “one of the Morris twins”) torched King James in the fourth, Kevin Love’s lackluster defense and poor shooting was the story of the game, and the “Kevin Love’s Not Fitting In” theme was an undeniable reality of the young (but not that young) season. But ten weeks later, is that “theme” still even relevant?

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