The season is over. Welcome to the funhouse…
As good fortune would have it, the Bulls decided a definitive clinching of the playoffs No. 1 seed mattered to them enough to keep Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson in the last game of the season for extended stretches. That, and John Lucas takes this stuff seriously.
The Cavs entered the day in a very strange spot — a win would have stuck them in a three-way tie with New Jersey and (ultimately) Sacramento for fourth-worst record in the league, while a loss would have given (and ultimately gave) the Cavs the opportunity to share the third-worst record in the league with New Orleans.
It really, really behooved the Cavs to lose.
(It’s a crazy system, I know, but this is how it works.)
I wasn’t sure that the Bulls would bring it today sans Rose and Deng, but they did. Without Kyrie (still recovering from his incoming unibrow), the Cavs have no one to create offense against legitimate NBA defenses…and the Bulls would certainly qualify as that. The Cavs shot 32% from the field. Which was probably by design.
The Kings beat the Lakers (while the Hornets were one quarter away from beating the Rockets!) which increases the Cavs odds to 13.5% in the Anthony Davis sweepstakes. There’ll be much more to come in the next couple of weeks analyzing both this season and the future of the team, but let me kick off the discussion with the following…
I know a lot of you were suffering a wee bit of frustration build-up as half the team was either shipped off or sat down in the latter part of the season…but indulging my occasionally optimistic perspective, I think we kind of got the best of both worlds this year.
Instead of facing the dreaded 5-year record amalgamation scenario for the draft lottery (floated by many during the lockout), the Cavs managed instead to find themselves with another shot at another centerpiece-type player. And they managed to do that in a season that gave us a peak at one of the more exciting point guard prospects in recent memory + a hyper-athletic forward for whom sentiment is still split but slowly improving.
As sucky seasons go, this one was kind of awesome. In fact, until the last month (during which there was no Kyrie)…I think I had as much fun watching rookie Kyrie as I did watching rookie LeBron.
And if we get lucky one more time this year… just one more time… well, than the Kyrie Irving era may have a real chance to exceed any that Cleveland has seen before.
Again, the Cavs have a 13.5% chance of picking first overall and can pick no later than seventh.
Pray for Anthony Davis.
Hope for MKG.
Make peace with Drummond if you have to.
I’ve never felt this good coming off a 32-point loss.
The prodigal contributor,
Ryan M. Braun