Archive for March, 2014

#CavsRank Number 1: Mark Price

Monday, March 31st, 2014

mark_price

“But we’d play catch.  I’d pretend I was Bob Feller.  He was my father’s favorite pitcher.  I wanted to please him.  I loved the moments when we were done, when he’d put his arm around me as we walked into the house.  He seldom said a word.  But I can still see the genuine smile on his face.”  – Terry Pluto, Our Tribe

There are few bonds in this world stronger than the love expressed when a father teaches his son the game that he loves, and the son, unknowingly, teaches the father what really matters in this world.  Growing up, I recall the players my father loved: Rocky Colavito, Lenny Barker, Joe Carter, Sandy Alomar Jr., and Mark Price.  Growing up, I idolized Mark Price, and my dad fostered the starry-eyed relationship between child and pro-athlete.  To my dad, Mark Price embodied character worthy of my aspirations, on and off the court.  “Practice your free throws; the games are won and lost at the free throw line,” he’d say.  And I did.

William “Mark” Price was born in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, on February 15, 1964, the son of Oklahoma basketball legend William “Denny” Price.  Denny led Norman High School to their first ever state championship and set the Oklahoma tournament record for points in a game.  Denny went on to play college basketball for Oklahoma, and embarked on an illustrious coaching career, rising all the way to assistant coach of the Phoenix Suns.  Mark, certainly, embraced his father’s love of God, family, and hoops.

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Recap: Cleveland 90, Indiana 76 (or, competitiveness, glorious competitiveness)

Sunday, March 30th, 2014
MVP!  MVP!  MVP!

MVP! MVP! MVP!

Today’s matinee loomed large for the Cavs’ fleeting playoff hopes, entering three games behind Atlanta and trailing New York by 1.5, with none of the teams having more than ten games left to play.  Normally, playing the Pacers, sans Kyrie, would look like another nail in the coffin of this season.  In a brutal March that features 18 games though, Indiana has won only 8 of 16.  Their offense is completely dysfunctional and their defense declined from “historic” to “very good”. Playing at the Q, it seemed the Cavs had a chance.

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Recap: Brooklyn 108, Cleveland 97

Friday, March 28th, 2014

Cleveland traveled to Brooklyn, tonight, nursing a three game win streak, with a chance to make up ground on Atlanta and New York. Unfortunately, Mike Brown and the Cavs contracted amnesia and completely forget about the last time that the Cavs played the Nets or the fact that the previous game gave the entire NBA a blueprint for beating Cleveland: make Tristan Thompson guard outside shooters. Instead, Brown decided that playing Tristan Thompson at power forward against Paul Pierce could somehow be effective, even though Pierce and Teletovic destroyed TT last time they played. Thompson, bless his heart, cannot guard 3-point shooters, and could not resist the urge to consistently drift toward the key. This didn’t stop coach Brown from trying to beat a square a dead horse into a round hole in the ground as Brooklyn gleefully launched wide open 3s throughout the game, making 14 of them at a clip of 48.3%. The flawed game plan ultimately doomed them, as Brown tried to find ways to guard the Nets stretch lineups and still score points. He failed at both those tasks.

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#CavsRank #2 – LeBron Raymone James

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

nike-lebron-vi-chalk-2

“It’s fitting in my mind that LeBron James finished in second on #CavsRank. He’s the most talented and decorated player to ever play for the Cavaliers. Whether you like it or not, at some point in the future the Cavaliers will retire his number for all that he accomplished on this team. But he was never able to get to that top spot in his time here; in his surrender and retreat he not only left an incomplete legacy, but a trail of destruction that the franchise is still trying to recover from to this day.”

[Justin Rowan – Fear the Sword]

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Recap: Cleveland 97, Detroit 96 (Or Dion’s Rainbow Magic and Champagne SuperDova)

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

What a win — the most exciting of the year: gritty, exciting, dynamic. There was so much on the line: a win streak, a playoff race, the Drummond/Dion rivalry, Mike Brown’s emerging facial hair… Would Kyrie wear another goofy shirt? Could the Cavs keep winning without him? Could Cleveland execute a late game inbounds play? Dion Waiters answered those last two questions and more.

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#CavsRank Grande Finale

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

It’s the moment of truth. Tomorrow, FearTheSword will unveil the 2nd most highly-ranked Cavalier of all time, as voted by a group of passionate Cavs fans and writers.  On Friday, we will pay tribute to the people’s champ, the winner of #CavsRank2014.  It will appear on Cavs:The Blog.  Buckle your seatbelts.  Predictions?

Get yourself up to speed on #CavsRank and start complaining about all the blown rankings and youth bias on twitter or in the comment sections.

#CavsRank Introduction and Authors

#20: Mo Williams & Nate Thurmond by Carter Rodriguez, Real Cavs Fans.
#19: Craig Ehlo by David Zavac, Fear the Sword.
#18: Lenny Wilkens by Jacob Rosen, WFNY.
#17: Bingo Smith by Scott Raab.
#16: Ron Harper by Ben Cox, WFNY.
#15: Andre Miller by Kirk Lammers, WFNY.
#14: Jim Chones by Ryan Mourton, Fear the Sword.
#13: Campy Russell by Ryan Mourton, Fear the Sword.
#12: Shawn Kemp by Robert Attenweiler, Cavs: The Blog.
#11: Hot Rod Williams by Kevin Hetrick, Cavs: The Blog.
#10: World B. Free by Scott Sargent, WFNY.
#9:  Anderson Varejao by Andrew Schnitkey, WFNY.
#8:  Kyrie Irving by Mallory Factor, Cavs: The Blog.
#7:  Terrell Brandon by Ben Cox, WFNY.
#6:  Austin Carr by Cleveland Jackson, Stepien Rules.
#5:  Zydrunas Ilgauskas by Kirk Lammers, WFNY. Nate Smith, Cavs: The Blog. Tom Pestak, Cavs: The Bog.
#4:  Larry Nance by Robert Attenweiler, Cavs:The Blog.
#3:  Brad Daugherty by Robert Attenweiler, Cavs: The Blog.
#2:  LeBron James by Justin Rowan, FearTheSword.
#1:  Mark Price by Tom Pestak, Cavs: The Blog.

Links To The Present: Maturity Edition

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014
The constant professional

The constant professional

After the first couple weeks of the season, I didn’t think mature was a word I would use to describe this Cavs team’s mindset or even my own.  It’s happening slowly, but it’s happening, and I hope the Cavs are able to hold on to this change.   When Luol Deng was traded to the Cavs, he brought an above average defense and often times struggling shot in his suitcase .  He also brought some maturity. He knows no rash emotions and it shows when he is asked about missing the playoffs for the first time in four years in this Bob Finnan piece. (more…)

Recap: Cavs 102, Raptors 100 (or, just add water and sunshine)

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

The Cavs built a 21 point lead only to watch it slip away.  They didn’t so much win the last six and a half minutes as lose less.  All five starters finished in double figures and took turns making an impact.  The Jonas Vs Tristan debate could go on for years, but tonight, TT won the bout in a TKO.

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#CavsRank – Number 3: Brad Daugherty (and Brad’s Bacon-Cheddar Special!)

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

I used the above video as header for the last piece I wrote that mentioned Brad Daugherty. Likely, I will use it somewhere in every piece I write about Daugherty.

More than his five All-Star trips in eight seasons wearing the only pro uniform he ever would — the orange “Cavs” or “Cleveland” as short a distance over his number 43 as the basketball rim was over Daugherty’s own head — more than his 10,389 career points (a club best when he retired and still good for third best now), more than his distinctive drawl and a hairline that, at times, was practically Boozerian in its encroachment (Carlos Boozer’s, of course, attacked from below, from his upper chest, while Daugherty’s threatened to cover his lower brow as thoroughly as Batman’s cowl), more than all of that, memories of Daugherty — for me, anyway — endure because he had his own card and sandwich.

bdaugherty93topps1 Beyond Brad’s Bacon-Cheddar Special, my own relationship with Daugherty the player (not the pitch man), involved decidedly less salivation.  I came to the Cavs at a time when those Lenny Wilkens-coached teams were still in their prime. But it was a post-“The Shot” world and our eventual narrative — that it was a time when a fine collection of Cleveland players just never could get over the number 23-shaped hump that was Michael Jordan — was already sketched out, if not yet fully inked in. So, the baby steps of my first rabid sports team attachment were not made in awe of how good this team was (and just how difficult it is to find players that good and make a team work that well) but, rather, in abject dissatisfaction that my chosen team was made of the stuff that breaks hearts. My dissatisfaction centered, unfairly so, on my team’s center, on Daugherty and the “soft” label that clung to him like an early-90s mock turtleneck.

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Links to the Present: Contracts Edition

Monday, March 24th, 2014
These shoes may some day have Kyrie Irving's name plastered all over them.

These shoes may some day have Kyrie Irving’s name plastered all over them.

The NBA revolves around contracts.  Teams give players contracts to play, and companies give players contracts to endorse.  The Knicks even signed a contract with the devil to have a win streak for the rest of the season to make the playoffs.  The Cavs null and voided that contract, but I know it was there in some way.  Look at the roster they were winning with.

Kyrie Irving’s contract with Nike is done after this year.  It’s unlikely he will go anywhere else, and Joe Sherman even thinks Kyrie is the perfect point guard for Nike to design a shoe for.  Nike currently lacks a point guard signature shoe, so that is leaving them out of the market for the nations’ dribbling and driving shorties.  (more…)