(dəˌtərməˈnāSH(ə)n) noun 1. Firmness of purpose; resoluteness. “He advanced with an unflinching determination.” Synonyms: resolution, resolve, willpower, strength of character, single-mindedness, purposefulness, intentness; staunchness, perseverance, persistence, tenacity, staying power; strong-mindedness, backbone; stubbornness, doggedness, obstinacy; spirit, courage, pluck, grit, stout-heartedness; Informal: guts, spunk, balls, moxie; Formal: pertinacity. “It took great determination to win.”
In the wake of yet another season-ending injury to a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ “Big Three” (and the third major injury to an original starting five that now features only the “Chosen One”), the easiest path to take is the least painful one… the one of least resistance. The world expects Cleveland (the team and the town) to quit, to tap out, to “Cry Uncle!” after the loss of Uncle Drew. They’d like us to believe there’s no shame in surrender. After all, our team is thin. We’ve lost two of our best three players. Two All-Stars. Even LeBron, as great as he is, can’t possibly carry the weight of this team, this franchise and this city on his muscular shoulders by himself… Can he?
Kyrie Irving has a fractured left kneecap and has been ruled out for the rest of the NBA Finals, the Cavaliers announced Friday. He limped off the floor midway through overtime of Game 1 and left the arena on crutches.
According to the team, Kyrie will have surgery and is officially out for 3-4 months, putting his status for the start of next season in jeopardy. The injury was discovered in an MRI taken earlier today.
Kyrie looked good following the eight day break between the Eastern Conference Finals and The Finals, recording 23 points, six assists, four steals and a game-saving block on Stephen Curry in the final seconds of regulation. But he went down midway through overtime with an injury to his already ailing knee.
I want to thank everyone for the well wishes. Saddened by the way I had to go out but it doesn't take… https://t.co/zXY3mtV2vg
After more than a week of off-days, re-hashed narratives, overheated theories, injury smokescreens, supreme anticipation and absolutely zero actual basketball games, Game 1 of the 2015 NBA Finals finally got underway last night at Oakland’s Oracle Arena. What was advertised by many (outside of the State of Ohio anyway) as the beginning of an expectedly lopsided series between the “best team in the NBA” and the “best player on the planet” was decidedly much closer in its outcome.
The Cavs shelled the Warriors early, building as much as a 14 point lead on their wide-eyed hosts, before letting Golden State’s deep stable of bench workhorses charge their way back into the fray by halftime. From there, both squads traded blows, drawing even at the end of each successive quarter, and forcing the issue to overtime, to the delight of impartial fans of the game and network executives who suffered through a paucity of Conference Finals contests.
For Warrior fans, the final shot of regulation that fell just centimeters short resulted in a sigh of relief at dodging the closest of calls. For Cavalier fans, a groan at seeing a small window for stealing the opening game on their opponent’s floor evaporate into five of perhaps the toughest minutes of the season. After all, close rarely counts, and sometimes, the small stuff just sweats you.
Never before has eight days seemed like such an eternity. But in just four hours, we will finally witness an end to that excruciating wait with the tip-off Game 1 of The Finals. The storylines have been dissected, regurgitated and picked apart ad nauseam. Articles have been written. Pods have been cast. Analytics have been scrutinized. Debates have raged. And now, the games will, at long last, be played.
Can the best player on the planet overcome the best team? Exactly what percentage of Kyrie will be available? Can either the current MVP or the four time MVP be stopped? Who will Delly be accused of knee-capping next? Which “rookie” coach will pull off the unimaginable? Will TT or Draymond be the bigger man underneath? Which “Son of Akron” will bring home the hardware? All of these questions and more will finally be put to the test on the NBA’s two grandest stages.
OMG The finals are here! Northeast Ohio is buzzing. Excitement and anticipation are in the air. After nine days of hype, David Wood, EvilGenius and I jumped in the podcast booth to give a hard core Finals breakdown: stopping LeBron and Steph, the rebounding battle, the turnover breakdown, x-factors, Steph’s Horoscope, the Shaq factor, prop bets, and more. Are you as excited as I am!?
Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers as they are about to tip-off their NBA Finals match-up against the Golden State Warriors…
1.) A lot of talk leading up to the Finals has been about each team’s likely inability to shut down the opposing team’s star player: LeBron James for the Cavaliers and Stephen Curry for the Warriors.
Just ask James how to stop Curry and he gives you the same answer as when you ask him how the Warriors might slow him down: “You can’t.”
The Finals will come down to more than just James vs. Curry, but it’s still tough predicting how these teams will attack each other — and how more or less likely one team is to shut down the other — come down to two things: 1.) the small sample size of head-to-head match-ups between these two teams and 2.) the fact that this is now the third (at least) iteration of the Cleveland Cavaliers that we’ve seen this season, so who knows what the Cavs will bring?
Recently our insider scout, Elijah Kim, did some digging on an Ohio-based apparel company whose wares have been increasingly showing up on the heads and frames of some of the most motivated personalities of sports, music and culture (including our own LeBron James). He met up with TACKMA clothing’s Danny Victor to get a sense of the company’s unique vision.
I’ll admit I had never heard of TACKMA. FunDisclosure: I buy all my clothes at Goodwill minus my Cavalier T-shirts and other garb. Also, I don’t watch press conferences. But Elijah put together a summary of TACKMA and the LeBron connection (read his thoughts below) and it snapped my brain back to a topic on which I often muse: from where do people draw motivation?
Way back in February, during the All-Star Break when the Cavs were in the midst of their massive second half resurgence, the C:tB crew reached out to five of their long tenured and more prolific readers/commenters and gave them a chance to respond to five questions about their views on many things Cavalier. For some reason, I got selected to be one of the lucky candidates on that occasion, and I was supremely flattered to have the opportunity to contribute my opinions beyond the comments section.
Little did I know, that 5-on-5 piece would be the proverbial gateway drug to me becoming a full-time contributor to this amazing site. The overwhelming support and comments I’ve received in the months since then have really served to add an entirely new dimension, not just to my Cavs fandom, but to my life in general. It’s also given me some genuinely unique perspective on this “Season of Wow.”
Consequently, I thought it was only right to pass along the opportunity to contribute to another quintet from the Commentariat. This time around, the questions go right to the heart of being a Cavs fan, what a potential championship might mean, and some of the more memorable moments from an amazing season at C:tB. So, kick back and enjoy the responses from your readership brethren: Phil Hubbard,cwzagger,Joey B (no he’s not Joey Bosa, but it was the best visual I could come up with), Underdog (who is switching back from U-Dog in honor of the Cavs being “underdogs” in the Finals), and NOMAD (WHO NATURALLY RESPONDED IN ALL CAPS).
1. Who or what is the key to the Warriors winning the series?
Ben: Harrison Barnes. If the Tar Heel can legitimately guard LeBron, it frees Draymond Green to compete on the defensive boards. The Warriors are not a great defensive rebounding team. If Green is busy on LeBron for long stretches, it allows Tristan Thompson to go crazy on the offensive glass against a weaker positional rebounder in Barnes. Green loves to grab the rebound and push the ball on the break a la Charles Barkley. The Cavaliers will eliminate many of the Warriors’ advantages if Barnes can’t handle The King. TT gives the Wine and Gold extra chances while limiting the Dubs’ transition game. If Harrison is up to the task, Golden State becomes roughly impenetrable. Green and Bogut are great weakside defenders. If they are free to cover space, the Cavs are in trouble.
Try, for a moment, to imagine the trepidation of Cavs fans (or just read through the twitter replies) when the #WojBomb detonated. The Cleveland Cavaliers, fragile, rudderless, running out of time, prepared a jersey and a locker for J.R. Smith. J.R. Smith?! With Smith’s reputation, it was almost inconceivable that Cavs GM David Griffin would risk further dysfunction on a team that needed to get righted quickly. The season was not yet completely unsalvageable, and Smith, for all his documented transgressions and the deafening chorus on his inability to be coached, could be considered one of the few role players in the NBA that could win a game by himself. Still, it was like calling for a Hail Mary on 3rd and 8 with a minute and three timeouts remaining.
New York is sending J.R. Smith to Cleveland, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.
Nate Smith is an Associate Editor. He grew up in Anchorage, Alaska, and moved to NE Ohio in 2000. He adopted the Cavs in 2003 and graduated from Kent State in 2009 with a BA in English. He can be contacted at email@example.com or @oldseaminer on Twitter.
Tom Pestak is an Associate Editor. He's from the west side of Cleveland and lives and (mostly) dies by the success and (mostly) failures of his beloved teams. You can watch his fanaticism during Cavs games @tompestak.
Robert Attenweiler is a Staff Writer. Originally from OH, he's long made his home in NYC where he writes plays and screenplays (www.disgracedproductions.com) some of which end up being about Ohio, basketball or both. He has also written for The Classical and the blog Raising the Cadavalier. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or @cadavalier.
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