Tag Archives: Cleveland Cavaliers

This Too Will Not Pass Soon


In December 1964, I was ten years old. We lived at 2705 East Overlook Road in Cleveland Heights. It was a big Georgian house with a library room with built-in oak shelves. In the corner sat our big black and white TV. Because of what happened next, we would soon get a short-lived first color TV–destroyed when our siamese cat Cleo pissed into it–that would be replaced immediately.

What happened next was that the underdog Cleveland Browns won the NFL championship, their first since 1955, against the Johnny Unitas-led Baltimore Colts 27-0. Frank Ryan hit Gary Collins with three second half TD passes, and Lou the Toe Groza added two field goals. Good times.

Early the next year, my parents decided that our family would watch heartbreak in color.

The cataloging of close, but no dice, big games had come to plague Cleveland. Such moments are in the context of much more broadly deleterious losses due to Reaganomics, the inevitability of the economic process of catching up, and, the somewhat sclerotic “anti-visions” of civic leaders over decades.

But, there was always hope that a Cleveland major league sports team might someday succeed.

Hieronymus_Bosch_Ascent of the Blessed

Yesterday was just such a day. join the party: Cavstheblog.

Time hath, my lord, a wallet at his back,
Wherein he puts alms for oblivion,
A great-sized monster of ingratitudes:
Those scraps are good deeds past; which are devour’d
As fast as they are made, forgot as soon
As done: perseverance, dear my lord,
Keeps honour bright: to have done is to hang
Quite out of fashion, like a rusty mail
In monumental mockery. Take the instant way;
For honour travels in a strait so narrow,
Where one but goes abreast: keep then the path;
For emulation hath a thousand sons
That one by one pursue: if you give way,
Or hedge aside from the direct forthright,
Like to an enter’d tide, they all rush by
And leave you hindmost;
Or like a gallant horse fall’n in first rank,
Lie there for pavement to the abject rear,
O’er-run and trampled on: then what they do in present,
Though less than yours in past, must o’ertop yours;
For time is like a fashionable host
That slightly shakes his parting guest by the hand,
And with his arms outstretch’d, as he would fly,
Grasps in the comer: welcome ever smiles,
And farewell goes out sighing. O, let not
virtue seek
Remuneration for the thing it was;
For beauty, wit,
High birth, vigour of bone, desert in service,
Love, friendship, charity, are subjects all
To envious and calumniating time.
One touch of nature makes the whole world kin,
That all with one consent praise new-born gawds,
Though they are made and moulded of things past,
And give to dust that is a little gilt
More laud than gilt o’er-dusted.
The present eye praises the present object.
Then marvel not, thou great and complete man,
That all the NBA begin to worship Curry;
Since things in motion sooner catch the eye
Than what not stirs. The cry went once on thee,
And still it might, and yet it may again,
If thou wouldst not entomb thyself alive
And case thy reputation in thy tent;
Whose glorious deeds, but in these fields of late,
Made emulous missions ‘mongst the gods themselves
And drave great Mars to faction.

Troilus and Cressida Act 3, Scene 3
William Shakespeare

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When Horrible Is Charitable

The cartoonish mascots or characters or whatever, waddling across the court at Quicken Loans Arena was the most amusing moment on Sunday, on Kid’s Day, as the Cleveland Cavaliers were humiliated by the Oklahoma City Thunder. The game was not as close as the 95-75 score, and, the Thunder didn’t need their “A” game to dispose of the Cavs.

It was hard to watch. The high point for the Cavs was 30 seconds of Boobie Gibson playing his offensive game, and a block and an outlet score on the other end by Gee. Otherwise, the Cavs couldn’t have beaten the Washington Generals with their poor impersonation of an NBA team.

I realized TV doesn’t do the dreadfulness of our basketball team justice. Time and time again the Cavs would somehow get the ball in the paint with almost no velocity, coordination, or ability to protect the ball. Then bad things would happen, very bad things.

The Cavs may constitute the most inept collection of millionaires ever assembled. Why isn’t Ryan Hollins playing beach volleyball?

Hat tip this season to John Krolik and Colin McGowan for documenting this travesty at Cavs The Blog. They write so I, usually, don’t have to watch.

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And, so it ends, and if one is feeling not very charitable, it did so in ignominy.

There was something inexplicable in watching the Cavaliers scramble to catch up, rather than control their on-court destiny. Is it possible they underestimated the degree of difficulty?

Who’s to say, but a lot of words will start to spill. Discuss.

The Cav’s depth wasn’t an advantage. If there were too many pieces to the puzzle, we’ll have to find out later how Dan Gilbert and Danny Ferry adjust to what seemed to be a problem of too many moving parts and not enough role definition and not enough go-to plays. For this fan and viewer, the Cavs seemed to be a bundle of different experiments throughout the season. But what it looked like was a team trying to gel–but with too many unproven recipes in the mix. There can’t be many fans in Cleveland who endorse the “waiting for LeBron to create” halfcourt O.

The Cavs played only two games in the two playoff series where their effort was controlling and determined for all four quarters. Otherwise, what it looked like, if I were to boil it down, was an uncoordinated effort at high risk, high reward, possessions. The Celtics are way to good and experienced to allow such an approach to work. Much of the time the Cavs were in reaction mode. The pattern of the series was to get the score close and then turn the ball over, or rush shots, or, ignore the weak side. The hallmark of the Cav’s stressed-out mode was indelible: fumbling and mishandling the ball, or, trying to bounce or thread high-degree-of-difficulty passes through the Celtic’s wingy ‘D.’ Oh, but then there was their inability to match the Celtic’s will on the glass too… Painful.

The Cavs had more than enough talent. Until the playoffs, the ride the goosy gang provided was a lot of fun. The Cavs are in a predicament in addition to the King’s uncertain future tenure. They have a large group of young players with uncertain upsides. As for LeBron, I’m with the 2,000,000+ in the area who are holding to a certain wish and hope. Be that as it is, we’ve gone from football town to baseball town to basketball town, and, could circle back if need be. Ha! We’d have to!

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Z’ riffic

Z. . .what a mensch!

During the Lebron era the Cavs have most often described by courtside commentators and b-ball media as being something like the King and his sub-stellar crew. This is a way of depicting secondary cast to be nothing more than a setting for the peerless one. So, as the NBA seasons rolls toward the end games, I’d like to wonder out loud how many other NBA teams would swap two or three starters for their choice among the four off the Cavs’ bench, Z, DWest, Varejao, Boobie? The point could be that having LeBron on your team tends to lead to his surrounding crew being discounted. It’s also seemingly the case, Mike Brown’s schemes elevate tightly defined roles and dial down the potential for a player to break out career-wise.

It also seems the Cavs just wear their opponents down. I like the odds.

My suggestion for the King is simple: it’s a-okay to realize the aspiration to be the greatest athlete to ever put on Cleveland colors. It’s just you and Jim Brown and Bob Feller at this point. (Žydrunas Ilgauskas is already the greatest Lithuanian athlete to ever play in Cleveland.) Go for it, King James.

Hat tip to:

Cavs: the Blog

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