2018 Finals Recap: Golden State 108, Cleveland 85 (Things Fall Apart)

Everything ends badly. Otherwise it wouldn’t end.

Truth can from the most unlikely places. In this case, Doug Coughlin’s philosophy from the 1988 Tom Cruise “classic,” Cocktail, describes the ultimate game of the 2018 season, and the season itself. Cleveland spent the first half struggling to contain and keep pace with a Golden State team that it had spent the last 361 days preparing for, and rode a nine point deficit into halftime. Beleaguered and hapless, the Cavs folded in the third quarter as the Warriors bounded out of the locker room priming the fuse their typical third quarter explosion. The Dubs held the wine and gold to 13 third quarter points, while scoring 25 themselves, and rode a comfortable 20+ point lead into a 2018 NBA Championship.

Forgive the tardiness of this post. I spent the first half of Friday night, at my local watering hole becoming increasingly convinced that LeBron low key quit in the first half, and the second half in a state of irritation at the world. When I arrived home at the eight minute mark of the third, the Cavs were within striking distance, with a Kevin Love layup cutting the diff to 11. The Warriors stifled Cleveland and their defeated body language for a 16-6 close to the quarter, as Cleveland started throwing up ridiculous shots like Larry Nance 20-footers, and turning the ball over like it was covered in failure oil.

Anyway, my vitriol was dialed up to 11 by the time the game ended. LeBron retired to the bench with nary an acknowledgement from the crowd, and absolutely no prep from the Cavs’ arena staff, which was unconscionably poor planning. On one hand, this is Northeast Ohio, where nothing is given, and everything is earned. And LeBron had quit on this game far before it was over. James’ play wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t the inspiring force of nature it had been up to that point in the playoffs, and his defense was as listless as I’ve ever seen it. James was often content to try to set up his teammates early, and they routinely failed to deliver, with the non garbage-timers shooting combined 20-68 on the night.

On the other hand, this was the 40th minute of James’ 104th game of the season, a season that saw him play the most combined minutes since 2011, and he’d taken this team to its fourth straight finals. Planning a celebration of his accomplishments probably seems like the right choice. But I’m one against planning for failure. It seems I’m too much like Dan Gilbert: too bitter and petty, or too incompetent to plan for these possibilities.

In some ways LeBron reminded me of some of Kobe’s petulant games against the Suns in 06-07, when Kobe would refuse to shoot or refuse to pass just to piss Phil Jackson off. But here, he was probably testing his teammates to see if they could give him anything, and to see if they could pick him up. They couldn’t. George Hill was especially awful giving James and the Cavs three points on 1-7 from the field and tying Kevin Love: -26 in their minutes on the floor. Love was similarly shooting, though the victim of more than one uncalled foul, as he went 4-13 for 13 points and nine rebounds. Kyle Korver? 0-6. Jeff Green? 2-8. Rodney Hood? 4-14. The Cavs missed open looks and missed covered looks as the Warriors were especially adept at protecting the rim with 13 blocks.

And again, Tyronn Lue refused to make any adjustments to the Cavs game plan: running the same starting lineup and the same rotations (with Rodney Hood getting 26 minutes) as he had in previous games this season. Hood, Korver, and Nance, despite the poor shooting were -1, -1, and 0 in the plus/minutes department during their stints on the floor. Perhaps switching up the starting lineup for one of these guys might have helped. I imagine LeBron saw all this and realized it wasn’t worth leaving every ounce of energy on the floor. It was ok to take a few plays off from the thousands he’d played this season. I’m more of a Don Quixote: giving hard fouls and screaming at shooters when down double digits until the game ends, the other team quits, I get punched, or thrown out of the Y. James is smart enough to live to fight another day.

It was probably to no avail. The Warriors are incredibly difficult to beat at full strength, and a fully operational Andre Igoudala makes them an almost impossible opponent. The Cavs left him open, and he made them pay with 11 points on 3-6 shooting from downtown. Steph Curry tried to recapture his MVP form with 37 points while shooting 27 shots (7-15 from downtown), and Durant put up a James-esque triple double with 20-12-10 to go along with three blocks and a steal with just two turnovers and a ridiculous +30.

I turned it off with six or so minutes to play, and turned it back on when I found out Cedi was in. Osman stuffed Curry shortly after entering the game and then smothered a Swaggy P. “Oh, Ty” I lamented… Ante Zizic danced his way into four quick points. I think he can become a player. Then I flipped off the TV before the inane celebration began. It was best summed up by our own Tom Pestak.

I spent the next 12 hours in a daze. I was up till almost in the morning doing anything I could not to think about the Cavs, Cleveland, the world, life. It was all too raw. Not raw in the way of a real tragedy, just raw in the way that someone feels when their succor is taken away. Sports are supposed to be a refuge, an escape. But I could only remember how I felt in 2010 when everyone talked about how inadequate the place were I lived and the people I care about are. I could only think about how I know far too much Dan Gilbert, his penchant for bad decisions, and his politics.

I could only think about all the hours I’d given to watching and writing about this game, and whether they were worth the time I’d devoted to them. And it fell all too current to be focusing on the best parts of the last four years. I’d been putting off the possibility that this could be the end of the season or the end of an era. In my insane mind, it’s defeatist to admit the possibility of defeat when there is still a chance, however small, that it can be avoided. That mental energy is far better spent staving off defeat, and somehow I can project my mental state into the minds of my fellow fans and the players. I know. My fandom is a form of insanity. Forgive me if my rage and my alcohol induced lack of a filter spilled onto the pages of the live thread.

I spent Saturday with my family, and eventually realized that it was, after all, just basketball. I project my angst onto sports. The world and its inadequacies seem far too insurmountable to take on without losing one’s sanity, and so projecting onto something that I feel can change is a way to exercise some form of control, even if all I can influence is readers’ perceptions. Thank you for allowing me that influence over the years. But for most of us, and even the greatest of us, control is an illusion. Even the greatest basketball player in the world, LeBron James, lost control of his stranglehold on the NBA championship conversation. The emergence of Golden State has rendered the championship as silly and arbitrary in our minds as it really is. I think that’s why 2016 meant so much to so many of us. It gave us a chance to see what it was “To be indeed a God”  like LeBron James. He and the Cavs channeled Whitman.

O to struggle against great odds, to meet enemies undaunted!

To be entirely alone with them, to find how much one can stand!

And yet, he’s not a God. Age and time, despite his forestalling, will take their toll on him as it does on all of us, as it will till technology solves that problem and makes the richest of us no longer human. So Saturday, I decided that it was far more important to spend time with my family and to “Let us enjoy this wonderful French Toast.

In the wee hours of Saturday morning, though, I had still peaked at the news, and found out that LeBron punched a chalkboard after Game 1 and has basically been playing with a broken hand. That explains his struggles from outside the arc, and also that he is, in fact, not a God: fully destructible (though how many could play with a broken hand?!) And as I glanced at my phone throughout the day, snippets of news  caught my eye: “LeBron is Gone…” “Ty Lue Intends to coach next year…” “LeBron’s options are multiple and constrained…” I avoided the temptation to troll in the gutter of speculative sportswriting. It’s all just noise, and there are far more important things to focus on…

The world seems as if it hangs on a precipice, much more so for some of us than others: 43% of children in this country live below the minimum income level necessary to meet basic needs. Opioids could kill 500,000 in the next decade. Ice caps are melting and climate change is happening so rapidly no one knows what is going to happen. We’re dismantling controls on pollution in the air and the ground. We’re destroying the alliances formed after WWII. Income inequality in this country is at record levels, while people work to suppress the vote of the most marginalized of us. We’re separating families at the border and treating requests for asylum like a criminal act. The U.S. is attempting to become separate and master of the world rather than apart of it. In light of all this it feels incredibly silly to be so invested in basketball or to worry about what LeBron James’ options are in free agency, and whether he’s prepared to make another alliance with a man who supports so many things James stands against.

I wondered if basketball was worth all the time I’d invested in it. I gave up on football some time around 5-6 years ago. I just couldn’t take watching people I care about debilitated and killed. I have regular arguments on Facebook with a friend who feels that basketball isn’t any more worthwhile or morally redeeming than football, and rather that sports in general are a fallacy that teaches us that every equation is binary and that every negotiation and interaction produces a glorified winner and a pilloried loser. I have to admit, despite my boisterous defense of the endeavor, I’ve given his words a lot of thought in the last year. Did you know that Men’s basketball concussion exposure rates were not all that far off football’s. There were an estimated 773 concussions per year annually in Men’s college basketball between 2009 and 2014. Do sports contribute to the greater good?

Words fail me when I try to think of a defense for his arguments, and all I can do is go back to my 2013 article about the Cleveland Indians, “Nothing is ‘All for naught.'” It’s the best thing I ever wrote on this blog.

The obsession with “championships” in sports are a completely invented 20th century phenomenon. “Championships” are marketing magic and clever salesmanship designed to make one game or series mean more than any other. That marketing has been wildly successful. Those games “matter” more because of the mob mentality of our culture. As a team wends its way toward a “championship,” they gain more exposure. The throng becomes more aware of them, and as the team wins or loses, more people remember them and form flash impressions of the individuals involved in those events. Then, fans tuck those championships and playoff victories into the consumer profile and personal zeitgeist they use to build up their identity…

This loss of respect for history and process is at the root of the corruption of sport. “Winning” becomes more important than how a team or person won — what they went through to get to that moment. “Winning,” as Charlie Sheen famously proclaimed, becomes everything: a one word declaration of victory, identity, superiority, morality, justification, and process. Because of this, victories are praised and then vacated in college sports, whole decades of baseball become steroid addled statistical anomalies; schools, from junior high to the Ivy League sacrifice their academic and institutional mission; football players become concussion-wrecked, walking cardio-pulminary nightmares; all in the pursuit of that great icon: the trophy.

And I guess, what I’m hoping for, what I’m asking, is for everyone to step back from the brink. Remember the process. Enjoy the process. Live in the moment. Be the fan, the coach, the player that remembers and enjoys each day you get to do or watch something you love, and if you don’t enjoy it, and if it only brings you misery, go do something else. I got to coach my daughter’s 3rd grade basketball team last year, and I hope to again this year. It was one of the best experiences of my life, and definitely the best experience with sport that I’ve ever had. There’s few greater joys than watching people you care about practice and get better at something through teaching, listening, and working. There’s a divine joy in the elan of seeing someone do something they’ve never done before, something they previously thought impossible, or something honed through pure dedication, whether that be watching an eight-year-old make her first layup or seeing a goofy seven foot center correctly hedge a pick and roll.

I wrote that before the Cavs “won it all” in 2016. And to so many of us, our argument, was that that one, meant so much more to us than any number of championships could have meant to almost anyone else. It’s why none of us could hold much ill will towards Cubs fans that year, because in both cases it was the validation of all those little moments of fandom piled up over decades of love and heartache, but also the realization that something was coming together than was bigger than the sum of its parts and that the journey to get there that year and to watch all these guys grow together was almost as much fun as seeing them win it all was.

That love of the day to day –  the ability to appreciate “moments of greatness in their own right, rather than as simply rungs on the way to a trophy” is what was so missing this season. This year was a slog: a way to get through to the end without going through a journey of love to get there. The Cavs tried to short circuit so much; they chose players whose former glory outshined their current abilities, and whose selfishness and ability to play one-on-one basketball over those whose individual abilities were far outstripped by the leadership, selflessness, humor, and ability to play five-on-five basketball. Guys like Richard Jefferson, Channing Frye, and James Jones were left behind for the likes of Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, and Isaiah Thomas. Those castoffs’ humor and dedication to craft were so obviously missing from this teams’ day-to-day, that when the Cavs did make their big trades, they didn’t have the leadership in place to integrate guys like Larry Nances, Jordan Clarksons, and Rodney Hood. The young guys were thrown into the playoffs with nary an expectation of how to approach the game, or what to do in a given situation on or off the court.

And we all know my issues with the coaching staff, but you have to know that those guys’ absence and ability to take the edge off contributed to Ty Lue’s anxiety level. I have so many issues with this coach, but I also empathize with him so much. The pressure to win, despite the paycheck (or maybe in part because of it), was enormous. It was so obvious that he had a hard time dealing with it, and as fans we were less empathetic than we could have been. Kevin Love also struggled with similar issues. One can’t help but wonder if LeBron’s one foot out the door mentality had a negative effect on all these guys.

I was crestfallen to hear James’ interview comments with Rachel Nichols about what was going on with the Cavs and the Kyrie trade in the summer of 2017, and Kevin Love’s comments throughout the playoffs about what life would be like with Kyrie, instead of focusing on the players the Cavs do have. How do you think those comments made the rest of their teammates feel?The constant noise about “next year,” and “last summer” instead of the moment built into an overwhelming cacophony that made it impossible to focus on the here and now. James’ and Love’s lack of focus moment belied that they didn’t believe that they could collectively raise their team’s game in the moment. I’ve always said, that if you don’t believe you can win, you can’t.

I can only hope that wherever Mr. James decides to play basketball next year, he signs a long term deal, and reflects what he said in his letter: that his “calling here goes above basketball.” I hope he commits to building something long term for the betterment of his family, his community, and his country. I wouldn’t even mind if he retired to focus on one or all of those, though I doubt his love of basketball will allow him to do so until his powers are spent. I know I’d still be playing if I could.

In my mind I remember a quote from a press conference early on after LeBron returned that said something to the effect of, “I’m committed to being here as long as Dan Gilbert is committed to spend to put together a championship level roster.” Since this piece is already 3000 words, I don’t have the heart to research if that’s the exact syntax or if the quote’s just a figment of flaws of memory. Mr. Gilbert has spent at a championship level (though not necessarily made decisions at a championship level), and I’ve been grousing that LeBron owes it his word to stay. Of course, that’s completely unfair.

One could easily argue that not spending to keep David Griffin was an abdication of Dan’s commitment, and one could argue that the way words are bandied about in American discourse now has gone from Clintonian slipperiness to Trumpian mendacity; only what was said last and loudest matters. But in the end, it’s LeBron’s life and his choice whether to leave Cleveland and Dan Gilbert. I certainly would bear him no ill will, and as much as I’d miss his excellence, I’d love to see him go some place he can be great on both ends of the court for 34 minutes a night rather than finding ways to conserve energy on offense and defense for 40 minutes a night. I’d also relish the opportunity to see players I like grow again: Cedi Osman, Ante Zizic, and yes, even Jordan Clarkson. Like I said do “something you love, and if you don’t enjoy it, and if it only brings you misery, go do something else.”

For all the play on the court, though, if James does leave, I think I’ll miss his relevance and voice most though. He’s made Northeast Ohio matter in a way no one else has nor probably will for a very long time. James’ perspective and gravitas is needed here more than it’s ever been needed in some coastal bastion of wealth, elitism, and cultural orthodoxy. Here in the purplest state James has brought so many people of disparate backgrounds together on multiple nights per week more than almost anyone else could.

If he goes, or if he stays, that’s the legacy I’ll cherish more than any other: a touchstone and a community that has grown up around this team and this site that might be diminished in his absence. Still, in the grand scheme of things, it’s but a trifle. Despite the world often seeming as if it’s on the brink, we live in relatively peaceful times. By percentages, we’re far more safe, well fed, and healthy than we have been as a species than at any point in our history. We forget the millions killed by Spanish Flu, the world wars, the black plague, the Great Chinese famine. The vast majority of those who read this blog have the luxury of cultural touchstones, fast food, and high definition televisions, and the luxury to kvetch – not over whether our house will be bombed tonight, if we have enough to eat, or if we’re going to contract Malaria – but over whether our favorite player is going to go play for the Lakers. So maybe we ought to channel our angst into a force for good.

“Things fall apart” The Yaets poem and the Achebe novel say, “the center cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,” a world that is in a state of constantly breaking and reforming itself. The truth is that you and I, common decency, every day people of goodwill are what keeps it from falling into the abyss. I hope that’s what this community stands for more than anything. We have been incredibly lax at this blog about an opportunity that presented itself at the beginning of the Finals to do something special, and it’s my regret that we’ve been lazy. I should have put this up sooner.

If you ever read this blog and wondered how we put this much time, money, and effort into something and never put up any advertising or asked for a subscription, it’s because we know how many awful for profit sites there are out there, and because we wanted to put up something of quality because we love writing, basketball, this community, and the Cavaliers. If you ever wanted to pay us back, please click on this link below and give something to the greater Cleveland foodbank.

We’ll be here to look at the draft soon enough, as wounds of the postseason heal, and we all remember that it this is all supposed to be fun, and about something more than just competing for trophies. Until then, and after, I’ll be enjoying my summer and trying to get through a life that has probably had far too outsized an emotional focus on Cavalier basketball. In the interim we should all fill the void with figuring out one or two ways to push the world back from the precipice, and one or two ways to make ourselves better people. I pray for that for myself and the world every night, so I hope you will be trying. I will.

Share
daspec90
Guest
daspec90
2 months 4 days ago

Speaking of Windhorst, he put out an interesting article today about some of the options:

http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/23303509/lebron-james-hit-free-agency-again-anything-possible-nba

I’ll let the Dude summarize: “This is a very complicated case, Maude. You know, a lotta ins, lotta outs, lotta what-have-you’s.”

daspec90
Guest
daspec90
2 months 4 days ago

I’m sorry. The Dude.

RightDownEuclid (the first)
Guest
RightDownEuclid (the first)
2 months 4 days ago

Coitus?

Simmo
Guest
Simmo
2 months 4 days ago

Haaaaa!

Jason
Guest
Jason
2 months 5 days ago

I hate to say it but I think Bron is probably gone.

When he says he needs to play somewhere they have the minds to compete with GSW.

That ain’t us. Lue. Gilbert. JR. TT. Clarkson. Those are not the basketball minds I would bet on.

Oh, I agree we could have used Wade in the Finals. Would have won game 1 for certain & maybe game 3. Though probably not the series.

warriorsfan
Guest
warriorsfan
2 months 4 days ago

Only place he can compete with dubs would be Rockets if they don’t lose their current big 3 in the process and for sure has to lose Tucker and Ariza, which means Lebron either has to take a discount or will go to a team that is not deep. If Cavs make it clear that they will not do sign and trade, his options may be limited only to Lakers, 76ers, Jazz, Mavs and Kings. My guess, it is between Cavs and Lakers. Lakers may even send Randle and few pieces to Cavs.

Vintage
Guest
Vintage
2 months 5 days ago

Such a difference in attitude from Coach Lue:

Arch Stanton
Member
Arch Stanton
2 months 5 days ago

Kerr is becoming pretty annoying.

warriorsfan
Guest
warriorsfan
2 months 4 days ago

He is not kidding, he played Bell, Looney and Cook and will be playing Damian Jones, warriors 2 way player Chris Boucher and 28th pick. It is a long season.

JOHN B
Guest
JOHN B
2 months 4 days ago

All guys that would be borderline nba players on other teams without so many weapons/talent.

newnomad
Guest
newnomad
2 months 5 days ago

I do not know or understand salary cap—was talking with one of my coaching friends today—he said after this year both J.R / T.T. ‘S contract are expiring contracts for only 2 or 3 million —is this correct—if so that would be inticing I would think for some teams –?????— please educate me —thanks !!

warriorsfan
Guest
warriorsfan
2 months 5 days ago

Here are the salaries for 2019-20. JR is guaranteed only 4 mils, Korver only 3.5 mils but Tristan about 18.5 mils.

http://www.spotrac.com/nba/cleveland-cavaliers/cap/2019/

Vintage
Guest
Vintage
2 months 5 days ago

JR’s contract is 3.87M if he waived by June 29, 2019 (after next season)- so pretty much before next year’s draft. If he isn’t waived before, then he gets the full $15.6M.

George Hill’s contract is only guaranteed $1M for 2019-2020.

To my knowledge, TT is fully guaranteed.

It’s actually not a bad cap situation after this upcoming season – but might just be one season too late.

newnomad
Guest
newnomad
2 months 5 days ago

mike p—agree why make a statement like that now—–timing is totally f***** up —-I mean why “poke the bear —–when at present— the bear NEEDS STROKED “—–AT TIMES UNCLE DAN HAS A SEVERE CASE OF ” FOOTINMOUTH —-am sure his comments have made it back to LeBron

MikeO
Guest
MikeO
2 months 5 days ago

Windhorst reported that Gilbert thinks he can build a championship team without Lebron…LOL…Kay Felder would be a good start, I suppose…

daspec90
Guest
daspec90
2 months 4 days ago

Oh boy…

Mike Podracky
Guest
Mike Podracky
2 months 5 days ago

I am sure James loves hearing this. What a stupid comment to make now. Almost as bad as cavsdan saying Cleveland would win a title before Miami, when LeBron left the first time. Gilbert must figure he is gone, or he is even more tone deaf than what I thought. Like I mentioned below, just shut up Dan.

Jwhodey
Guest
Jwhodey
2 months 5 days ago

I look at last Summer’s Kyrie trade and the February deadline deals as setting a precident and readying the General public for LeBron’s/Cavs Dan’s next moves….

Much like Trump’s current rash of presidential pardons are laying down a frame work for his future rash of Russian collusion related pardons for his cronies, LeBron has rolled out the red carpet for dealing himself to LA and trading Love to Boston in exchange for a disgruntled, broken Kyrie…

Will the American Public/average joe Cavs fan sit back and let Comrade Ainge fleece us again? Will General Magic Johnson cry FAKE NEWS at the quid pro quo of Cavs Dan taking an injury prone Nance and a tunnel visioned Clarkson off his hands in exchange for the King?

#postsweep #dystopianfandom

DaveR
Guest
DaveR
2 months 5 days ago

Good write up. I was more angry after Game 1 than 4. It will be interesting to see what happens this summer in the draft and Free Agency. Exciting whether good or bad.

JoeyB
Guest
JoeyB
2 months 5 days ago

Love & the pick for Kawhi. Do you do it? This would be with the intent of getting LBJ to stay. I don’t think I’d do it if he leaves.

warriorsfan
Guest
warriorsfan
2 months 5 days ago

Pops took a big risk with Aldridge, who looked like misfit for Spurs. Same with Love, would be a misfit for spurs who add only defense only or two way players.

cavs_fan_since 1980
Guest
cavs_fan_since 1980
2 months 5 days ago

SA would ‘want’ big pieces for Leonard… whether they get it or not is diff question. I do not think we can get Leonard here.. but some writer mentioned Kemba and PG here and trade Love, 8th pick and few other junk pieces we have… but still doubt we can even do that.

JMay
Member
2 months 5 days ago

Not enough for SA to do the deal…

JoeyB
Guest
JoeyB
2 months 5 days ago

Maybe not. Love would excel there, though, and the 8th pick ain’t nothing.

Gordon
Guest
Gordon
2 months 5 days ago

This was spectacular. Thanks, Nate.

worldbfree
Guest
worldbfree
2 months 5 days ago

superb insight about lebron’s impact in the most purple of states. i think he’s aware of that and it means a lot to him — one of the things i’ve always admired about him beyond his game and his philanthropy.

it’s a shame gilbert makes it so hard for lebron to swallow his pride and stay.

Treize Khushrenada
Guest
Treize Khushrenada
2 months 5 days ago

Despite how profoundly frustrating Game 1 vs. Golden State was, I feel this was a successful season for the Cavs, relative to expectations, and maybe merely adequate for the Warriors.

My favourite moment of the year was the 19-3 run the Cavs went on right after halftime of Game 5 vs. Indiana. It made me confident Cleveland would win the series and get all the way to the NBA Finals before suffering obliteration.

Nate’s piece here demonstrates how thoughtful writing after some introspective deliberation is far more valuable than the instantaneous outbursts our culture seems to crave lately.

Vintage
Guest
Vintage
2 months 5 days ago

Thanks for the heartfelt piece, Nate. You’ve beautifully captured in words what many, if not all, of have been feeling. For me, there were many points of frustration this season that made me question why I spent so much time and energy caring about the Cavs and NBA in general – as others have stated, it’s about the shared experience and commiseration with a community that gets it just as much as you do. Thanks CtB for being a giant part of that and thanks to the Cavs for giving us 2016.

ChrisKorvalier
Guest
ChrisKorvalier
2 months 5 days ago

Absolutely fantastic piece. This is one of the many reasons CavsTheBlog has the best sports content on the internet. it’s much appreciated.

Raffy22
Guest
Raffy22
2 months 5 days ago
Nate – this was a fantastic article. I live in Chicago, but flew to game 7 of the finals in 2016 (one of the greatest days of my life) and game 1 of the world series later that year (another awesome night with the raising of the banner at the Q and then Cory Kluber being lights out in game 1). I flew back for game 4 on Friday not because I thought the Cavs would win the series, but because it was to celebrate one of the greatest eras in Cleveland sports history and to get one last chance to watch Lebron (just in case he left). You’re right that it’s all about the journey, and more specifically, sports is all about we people with whom we share the experience. I’ll always remember those nights, mainly because I spent those nights with close friends who went through the journey with me. Winning or losing becomes secondary over time – the memories become about the shared experience. Anyway, I hope we all realize how lucky we were to WITNESS four straight NBA finals – that is extremely rare and something I’ll take with me forever. Thanks to Cavstheblog for being… Read more »
Mike Podracky
Guest
Mike Podracky
2 months 5 days ago

Great story !

Simmo
Guest
Simmo
2 months 5 days ago
Welp, I admit to everything getting a bit too much for me a few weeks back. Nate’s paragraph above on the state of the world hit home when I read it. Have been struggling with some family health issues recently, & the world seems on a downward slope right now. Add to that I could, like many of us, see what was likely going to happen to the Cavs. Deleted my social media accounts, stopped watching news & sports, and chose to focus on my family. Reduce the clutter. Go back to basics. It was liberating. No doubt healthy. But I missed supporting the Cavs & CtB. Silver lining – I missed Game One, and will likely never watch it. I’ve also sustained a damage hand from punching a wall during a VERY bad day at work a few years ago. OK, it was a cork board, but thin AF & the wall behind it …. not so much. Stupidest thing I ever did, so I have no desire to see what makes another man do that. Nate, your article was beautiful. Like reading my mind man. Don’t you ever let anyone make you think your writing (and the rest… Read more »
Mike Podracky
Guest
Mike Podracky
2 months 5 days ago

Nice to hear from you Simmo. Best wishes on your family health issues. Missed you.

Simmo
Guest
Simmo
2 months 5 days ago

Thanks Mike. While I canned most social media, you can still reach me on FB messenger if you want to talk marathon stuff – sounds like you are on top of training though last time we talked. I am still hoping to get a BQ in a few months & if so will be over to race Boston April next year. Will certainly give you and CtB a shout out on approach. Would love to drop in to the 216 again for some Great Lakes beer, company would be good :)

Simmo
Guest
Simmo
2 months 5 days ago

I am now printing your message like it’s a voucher.

Keep y’all posted.

JMay
Member
2 months 5 days ago

Should LeBron leave (still firmly planted in the “he’s not going anywhere” camp) it will be interesting to see what Lue does with a roster that forces him to use young guys. When there are no, or very few, veterans to play major minutes, what’s he going to do? I loathe the idea of watching even one more game coached by TLue, but whatever, DG isn’t calling me up for my advice…

Nick
Guest
Nick
2 months 5 days ago

Nate, this was a great read. I have always loved everything about this blog in the fact it can talk about our favorite team, other teams, other sports, things not related to sports, has great writers, people can argue and voice opinions, and the pieces written at times make you think and appreciate not just sports but what we have. This piece you wrote did that. Thank you for writing such a great article.

Leo
Guest
Leo
2 months 5 days ago

really weird season or seasons in one to experience; I’m hoping the Cavs can create a younger identity, even if Lebron returns; i think the days of TT and JR and Korver are over; would like to see what they have in Cedi, Zicic, maybe even Holland, and then grab some FA and possibly a trade of their pick if the player/price is right. Also not sure if Love should still be around. If Lebron decides to leave, cavs have to regroup with younger more active players and develop a high tuned offense in order to remain somewhat relevant. Doubtful Lue is let go, but do think coaching staff changes need to be made, like Longabardi needs to go for sure, make Perk an assistant, get someone to develop the young guys better, and force Lue to play them throughout regular season.

Joeyb
Guest
Joeyb
2 months 5 days ago

Thanks Nate. Love you.

Warriorsfan
Guest
Warriorsfan
2 months 5 days ago

Nate, Thanks for putting sports in perspective!!

newnomad
Guest
newnomad
2 months 6 days ago

EVIL THANK YOU FOR THE HOOSIER CLIP—-ONE OF MY ALL TIME FAVORITES—–IT IS A ‘MUST ‘ BEFORE ALL OUR BASKETBALL SEASONS BEGIN FOR THE PLAYERS TO COME OVER TO COACH NOMADS HOUSE FOR HOT DOGS AND WATCHING HOOSIERS !!————

JRL
Guest
JRL
2 months 5 days ago

That sounds cool.

west coast cav
Guest
west coast cav
2 months 6 days ago

Nate, your 2013 article on the Indians and obsessions with championships is now the second best thing you’ve ever wrote. Thank you. Perspective is in short supply these days.

Charlie E
Guest
Charlie E
2 months 6 days ago

Thanks, Nate.

I like to remind myself that all we ever really wanted was the one. And we got that, and we’ve had two grand runs at the chip since then, and to have an even chance we needed some bit of luck that we never got. Of course, it could have been different — better. We never had the coach that could create a culture bigger than LeBron, that could develop players in a system that could win without a superstar. But those guys are hard to find.

I expect LeBron to go to LA, to begin building the business/media empire that will take him beyond basketball. The Lakers will make some trades and presumably put together Cavs 2015 2.0.

Hopefully, the Cavs will find good a good place for Kevin Love, and net themselves with some interesting, developing players. It stands to reason that the next few years will be lean ones, but there are things to enjoy during the rebuilding. Whatever comes, I’ll be there to amateur-analyze and cheer them on. I know at CavsTheBlog I’ll be in good company. GO CAVS!!!

Peter
Guest
Peter
2 months 6 days ago
I feel to this day that Cavs could have won the 2015 title if Kyrie and Love were not hurt. The Warriors were novice in the big stage then and were most vulnerable in these 4- year run. The thought that Cavs could have won more really hurts because luck played a huge part ( the Love- Irving injury in 2015 and the salary cap spike in 2016 that enabled the Warriors to add Durant). It takes a superstar and a great organization and luck to sustain a championship run. Upon reflection, maybe the Cavs were at least more successful than people have given credit for. In the 21st century, only a handful teams had greater success than the Cavs. In the East, only Miami’s 3 titles, 5 Finals appearances was better than the Cavs’ 1 title, 5 Finals appearances. The Cavs are actually better than the legendary Boston Celtics which only had a title in two Finals appearances and Detroit Pistons , also with a single title in two finals stints. In the West, only the Warriors (3 titles, 4 Finals), the Lakers (5 titles, 7 Finals) and the Spurs (4 titles, 5 finals) were better than the Cavs.… Read more »
Mike Schreiner
Editor
2 months 6 days ago

Thanks for this, Nate. You put a wonderful perspective on things.

believeLAND
Guest
believeLAND
2 months 6 days ago

I wonder what Love, Nance and the 8th pick could get us- probably our best assets. Need like Kawhi or AD in return, which is obviously unlikely.

Elijah Kim
Member
2 months 6 days ago

Thanks for sharing. I too tend to get worked up and get a little twitter fingers, triggered.

At the end of the day, we should strive to fill the void in more positive ways than stewing at every “report” or “source” trying to determine if another man (queue the “he puts his pants on one leg at a time” stuff) wants to play for the team I root more.

TV63
Guest
TV63
2 months 6 days ago

We’re commiserating. This is the 1st blog after the loss. We kinda expect everyone to be all over the place and maybe even irrational at times on this one. We will get back to positive in due time. Please be patient with us. Thank you

EvilGenius
Admin
2 months 6 days ago

Thank you Nate. For this. For all you do for this site. I went back and re-read your entire post in Gene Hackman’s voice. My only wish is that Ty Lue had just a little more Norman Dale in him…

Mike was right in his sentiments below… you were wrong about one thing… that 2013 piece is no longer the best thing you ever wrote on this blog…

I do hope everyone who reads this gives as they can to the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. No kid should ever go hungry.

JRL
Guest
JRL
2 months 6 days ago
TV63
Guest
TV63
2 months 6 days ago

LoL I enjoyed that one!!

JRL
Guest
JRL
2 months 6 days ago
Peter
Guest
Peter
2 months 6 days ago

Lue doesn’t want to resign – he wants to be fired. That remaining 3-year, $21 M is just too good to relinquish. We all hate it but we would have done the same.

TV63
Guest
TV63
2 months 6 days ago

Lue won’t change his coaching style and he will keep Lebron playing big minutes.

JRL
Guest
JRL
2 months 6 days ago

That’s why he needs to be replaced by a competent coach. I can’t imagine that happens if LeBron leaves. If LeBron stays, and one of his requisites is for Lue to get canned, I’m sure it will happen.

JRL
Guest
JRL
2 months 6 days ago

*thing

TV63
Guest
TV63
2 months 6 days ago

I’m most disappointed in Ty Lue more than anyone. He’s allowed himself to be so damn predictable to Steve Kerr. Short rotations, no in game adjustments and not trusting his bench yet again to at least give the starters needed breaks. Front office gave him almost 3 teams to play with Lebron this year and still Cavs get swept in the Finals. At some point you have to look in the mirror and say, “Yeah, it is Me” We all knew it was a long shot to win but Get Swept? Cavs cannot keep going on the insanity merry go round expecting a different result. To beat this Warrior team, coaching has to be much smarter in addition to players that will actually show up in the bright lights. If your starter ain’t doing it, get someone else that will. JR should not have started in so many games. His talent just isn’t there anymore. But in this mourning process, we have some youth that looks promising. Whatever Lebron decides, I agree go Beat the Arrogant Warriors.

JMay
Member
2 months 5 days ago

+1, though I don’t know what to believe about LeBron’s mental health. Maybe this season goes a bit differently if he does take some of those rest days instead of playing in all 82…

TV63
Guest
TV63
2 months 6 days ago

Piggybacking on this. Wade made a tweet that Lebron’s decision wouldn’t be about basketball. I think it will be about health. The guy played his guts out just for Cavs to win Eastern Conference Championship. You have to think that he wants to be on a team with reliable help and a coach that will commit to playing him 35 mins. He can’t keep killing himself like this. Just my opinion

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
2 months 6 days ago

WHAT a competitor !! Lebron kept playing his heart out and shooting for his average despite dealing with a boxers fracture (I’ve had 2 of these from punching drywall) I could barely make a fist or straighten my hand for several weeks.I don’t play basketball but it affected everything I tried to do for over a month . Anybody who thinks he was using it as an excuse to leave , look at Gilbert decision to let griffin go. That was the head scratcher I cannot let go

Simmo
Guest
Simmo
2 months 5 days ago

Yeah, same here – have been stupid enough to hurt my hand punching a wall. I get it. Doubters will say he is making all kinds of excuses, but I’m giving him credit for ponying up & being honest. His anger was completely understandable, given the stakes.

buck turgidson
Guest
buck turgidson
2 months 6 days ago

it is possible that the current team plays better, both individually and collectively, without LBJ (which does NOT mean that the team would be better than it is WITH LBJ).. while LBJ publically indicates that he is part of a “band of brothers”, we don’t really know what goes on in the locker room, or outside of the arena.. it is hard to predict how individual’s will respond to pressure and the microscope on the big stage.. hopefully, they grow into it.. they are supposed to be pros, after all.. as kobe stated a few days ago, hood and clarkson didn’t just lose their talent.. they scored 17 and 15 per game in the west.. they ain’t garbage.. and when they were playing free and loose in their first 2 games against boston and okc.. the team looked pretty f’ng good., and LBJ looked pretty f’ng happy.. without LBJ this crew (with #8) might be a .500 team..

buck turgidson
Guest
buck turgidson
2 months 6 days ago

and probably fun to watch.. re no stress.. just sit back and enjoy the game

buck turgidson
Guest
buck turgidson
2 months 6 days ago

who trades love and the #8 for lillard?

TV63
Guest
TV63
2 months 6 days ago

I thought they can’t trade that pick? NBA Stepien Rule

Brian
Guest
Brian
2 months 5 days ago

They can’t trade the pick now, but they can select a player for another team and trade that player’s rights after the draft, a la the Wiggins pick a few years ago. The Stepien Rule says we can’t trade picks in consecutive FUTURE drafts, so once the pick is in the past, it’s fair game. The other complication is that if we need the player’s contract for salary matching in the trade, then he has to sign the contract and we have to wait the 60 days or whatever it is to trade him. If we don’t need his contract money to match, then he can stay unsigned and we can trade his draft rights as a zero dollar value in the trade, I believe.

JMay
Member
2 months 5 days ago

They can trade the player they draft with the pick. Just not the pick itself.

buck turgidson
Guest
buck turgidson
2 months 6 days ago

should be an interesting 2 weeks.. does porter fall to #8?

buck turgidson
Guest
buck turgidson
2 months 6 days ago

if LBJ leaves, do we get minnesota kevin love back?

JRL
Guest
JRL
2 months 6 days ago

Minnesota Love will never be back.

JMay
Member
2 months 5 days ago

This is a bit of a fallacy. I actually think Love has gotten BETTER since Minnesota. There was no way for him to be the volume scorer he was in Minny with LBJ running the show. Love’s clearly a rhythm player and struggles when he can’t get it going early. But his defense has drastically improved and should we begin to run an offense through him rather than LBJ, I’d expect you’d see his floor game has improved as well. But hey, what do I know, I’m a sort of Love apologist as it is…

Arch Stanton
Member
Arch Stanton
2 months 6 days ago

I’d be okay with this. We do need a PG.

Jason
Guest
Jason
2 months 6 days ago

Me too. I do think we need a secondary playmaker of some kind: Porter, Young, & Sexton all fit that bill.

Mike Podracky
Guest
Mike Podracky
2 months 6 days ago

Wish Gilbert would just shut up at this point. His insistence on drafting Kay Felder and wasting $3 million along with a roster space proved how horrible his b-ball judgment is. And green
Iighting the horrific trade for another point guard bust IT. Stick to loans cavsdan as your basketball judgment since last July has sucked enormously.

buck turgidson
Guest
buck turgidson
2 months 6 days ago

not so fast my friend.. gilbert loved olidipo.. he should have forced grant to draft him, and vetoed the bennett tragedy.. the whole team dynamic changes if that #1 pick was not as empty as deep space

Mike Podracky
Guest
Mike Podracky
2 months 6 days ago

Don’t recall if any respected reporter said Gilbert wanted Victor. Even if true that doesn’t excuse Felder/ IT. And the Kyrie/IT fiasco will prove to be franchise shattering once James departs

buck turgidson
Guest
buck turgidson
2 months 6 days ago

having zip, nada, nothing to show for a NUMBER 1 is far far worse than the kyrie gaff, although, i agree that trading him was really quite stupid, and made worse given the fact that we helped the celtics fortify their future dynasty (they will be the golden state of the ’20s)

Arch Stanton
Member
Arch Stanton
2 months 6 days ago

Yes Gilbert wanted Dipo.

Arch Stanton
Member
Arch Stanton
2 months 6 days ago

Nice job Nate!

Mike Podracky
Guest
Mike Podracky
2 months 6 days ago

Nate, just a superbly written essay. Obviously much more than a recap….almost poetic in nature. You quoted a passage from your piece on the 2013 Indians as said that was your best writing ever. I agree with everything in your essay but that. This Cavs post mortem was your best writing in my 5 years being a participant in this blog. So heartfelt and thoughtful. Take a big bow please and much thanks for putting this piece on the blog.

newnomad
Guest
newnomad
2 months 6 days ago

nate —(wow )—that is great write up —-thank you —–you and all the other writers / contributors make this the BEST BLOG AROUND —feel privileged to be part of —–!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!——ALL FOR ONE —-ONE FOR ALL ——IN THE LAND !!

Peter
Guest
Peter
2 months 6 days ago
The vultures who try to diminish Lebron’s 8 straight finals appearance are just lamentably dumb. Weak conference or not, that ‘s a stupendous feat. The Lakers of the 80s were in a similar situation. The west was very weak then. Other than the Lakers, no other team from the west emerged as champion from 1980 to 1993. That team had Kareem, Magic and Worth- 3 members of the NBA Top 50. They also had former MVP Bob Mcadoo, many time all star Jamaal Wilkes, Norm Nixon, Michael Cooper (the Bird stopper), Byron Scott and former top pick Mychal Thompson. And yet the longest finals’ streak that heavily stacked Lakers ever had was 4. Then they would have another streak of 3. Along the way, they lost to a 40-42 team in the first round. Could you imagine the glee the vultures would have had if Lebron and the Cavs lost in the first round? Magic Johnson was MVP in 1990 yet he lost 4-1 to the 5th-seeded Phoenix Suns. I remember the world mocking MVP Lebron and top seeded Cavs for losing to the Orlando Magic in the 2009 ECF. I don’t remember any mockery for the MVP Magic and… Read more »
Jason
Guest
Jason
2 months 6 days ago

I do not think anyone is trying to diminish 8 straight Finals appearances. It is an incredible accomplishment.

But you cannot cite Kareem & Worthy & all the “other” Lakers without also realizing that Wade, Allen, & Bosh are HOF players also, as is Irving. Love may be shy, but he is in the many time all-star camp. And guys like Battier, Haslem, Miller, Korver, etc are not chopped liver. Point is, Bron has had some help as well. Now 2007 & this year, he had ny far the least amount of help I have seen on a finals team since 2007. 1994 Rockets and the Knicks the year they went with Ewing hurt & Spree & Houston leading the way also come to mind.

That 40-42 Rockets team did have the MVP on it. Moses Malone. And Magic did get grief. They were calling him Tragic Johnson for a while.

Peter
Guest
Peter
2 months 6 days ago
If you don’t think nobody is diminishing Lebron’s 8 straight finals appearance, then I say you are out of touch with the current world. I never said Lebron never had talent all the time he was on this journey. What I was trying so say is that it takes incredible consistency and mental fortitude to be in 8 straight finals. I mentioned the 80’s Lakers for purposes of perspective. They were in a similarly weak conference back then and they had arguably the most stacked talent and yet even they faltered every once in while that they can only string up at most, 4 straight finals appearances. And for a guy who likes to brag about his hoop knowledge, why do you always get many of your facts wrong? Patrick Ewing wasn’t hurt in 1994 and actually pushed Hakeem Olajuwon to 7 games before losing in the 1994 Finals. Spre and Houston weren’t even around in 1994. It was in the shortened season of 1999 when Ewing was hurt and Latrell Sprewell, Allan Houston and Marcus Camby led the Knicks to a losing finals against Duncan and the Spurs. And Moses Malone was not the 1981 MVP, it was Dr.… Read more »
Peter
Guest
Peter
2 months 6 days ago
Great recap, Nate. I hear you and I feel your hurt. This is not to absolve Lebron in any manner, but I think we all have grown numb to his incredible consistency that we are not allowing him to be human. I don’t think people are giving enough weight on mental and physical fatigue Lebron has to endure after 9 finals appearances including 8 straight , 15 years of sustained excellence, 3 Olympics and 2 FIBA tournaments. Sure , Game 4 was a letdown. But hey, even the likes of Michael Jordan and Larry Bird , owner of the supposedly the most indomitable will the league has ever known, succumbed to fatigue despite less mileage on their legs compared to Lebron. The playoff game after MJ scored 63 points, he scored only 19 points in an elimination game. It was just his 3rd game of the playoffs and he only played 18 games in the regular season. He was a also a spry 22 then. Larry Bird in just his 9th season, played perhaps his finest regular season, averaged 30 ppg on 53 % shooting only to average 20 ppg on 35 % shooting in losing in the 1988 ECF.… Read more »
Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
2 months 6 days ago

Well said.Thanks

wpDiscuz