A friend of mine recently went through one of those demi-divorces where he and his live-in girlfriend ended their relationship about a month before their lease was up. I’ve heard most of the story, and the rest exists in my head: two people, still sort of in love, but not really; trying to be adults about the whole situation; trying not to divide their friends; sharing a bed; having weird, emotional sex still, when they’re both drunk, for some reason; separating their stuff; trying to figure out what to do next; being emotionally exhausted; watching DVDs together; trying to be friends; remembering; talking; supporting each other over this thing they had built, then expunged. I wonder if they both felt an inarticulable anger for a month. Like, I don’t hate you, but I need to not see your shoes next to mine when I leave for work in the morning. I need a shower of flame to burn the smell of you off me. My friend told me some of this, in an unenervated tone, at a bar last week. His eyes were like gas lamps.
There’s some solace is being done with things, is what I mean. Even horrible things that leave you with a gut full of disquiet and day whiskey. Fortunately, no Cavalier fan has had to share a home with this team—your grocery bill would be insane—but I think we’re all ready for the season to be over. To count the bruises and move on. To write draft profiles, count ping pong balls, and never speak the name Ryan Hollins again. There’s not much edifying to be taken from the remaining seven games the Cavaliers have on their schedule. Samardo Samuels isn’t going to bloom into Kevin Love, and Kyrie Irving, whether or not he steps on the court again this season, is one of the best under-23 players in the league. We’re not learning anything or learning to love anyone. Rather, we’re sitting, cramped, maybe a little angry, in this middle space between realizing the end and its arrival. Before the shower of flame.
The shower of flame, by the way, is something I support. Here’s the only part of this dead relationship/dead season analogy that’s completely congruous: I just don’t want these people in my life on a daily basis anymore. Antawn Jamison’s contested pick-n-pop threes with 15 seconds on the shot clock incense me. The dejected face Samardo Samuels makes after he impotently fouls whomever he’s guarding makes me sad. The fact that Anthony Parker, when healthy, is the starting shooting guard of choice causes me to think I know more about basketball than three-time NBA champion Byron Scott. It’s not a healthy relationship. Can the Cavaliers head into the 2012-13 season with Irving, Tristan Thompson, Andy Varejao, Alonzo Gee, Luke Walton (because they, like, have to), Omri Casspi (again, contracts don’t always end when you want them to), and a new squad of also-rans? I have stared at this Rorschach test slide too long and need some new nobodies about whom I can think If that guy develops some chemistry with TT on the pick-and-roll, starts buckling down on defense, and stops turning the ball over so much, I think we might have ourselves a middling backup point guard! I can no longer do this with Donald Sloan. I’m sorry, Donald. I have peered into thine eyes for too long and now see only myself. And I would be a horrible NBA point guard.
I guess this marks the start of what’s going to be a deluge of eulogies in this space where I do these longform-y pieces once or twice a week. Because, outside of silly recaps and draft previews, there isn’t much else to do. The most productive thing we can do is recount our experiences with this team and try to wring whatever useful knowledge we can from them. So, y’know, I’ll be recapping the season. I’m making it sound dramatic when it’s not. But real talk: I’m sad this season has ended the way it has and annoyed it isn’t over already.