Sunday, May 31, 2009

A.L. Casoni Presents- "You too can be an NBA analyst"

Chris Broussard of ESPN published an article after last night's game entitled, "Cavs advanced as far as they could." He picked the Cavs to win in 6 before the series started. Jalen Rose was seen on Sportscenter late last night saying that he knew the Cavs just weren't ready for this stage. He chose the Cavs to win in 6. J.A. Adande stated on one of the weakest sports shows on t.v. (Around the Horn) after game 4 that the Cavs don't have a chance to win the crown because of Cleveland's lack of talent besides LeBron, and he even said he had been saying that for months. Surprisingly enough, Adande casted his vote for the LeBrons to win in 5 games. I can keep going, but for what? Does the term hypocrite mean anything to these guys? Since when are you just able to completely change your mind after things aren't going as you predicted? To make matters worse, if the Cavs had come out to a 2-0 lead in the series, these guys would be saying "I told you so." Did the Cavs lose to a better team? Maybe, maybe not. I really don't have an opinion on that. The Magic are a very talented shooting team, and had a great game plan in part by Stan Van Jeremy. They got the rock to a physical beast down low, and when we doubled, he kicked it out to the best shooting 3 point team in the league. And Cleveland had the coach of the year this year? Brown didn't know what hit him. The so called "experts" are all over Brown for getting outcoached. I even heard Tim Legler say they should choose the coach of the year after the season. While I agree with that, Legler had the Cavs in 6. These guys can say the Cavs just aren't a complete team right now, but that wasn't the case 2 weeks ago. Nearly everyone had them in the finals. Of the 10 experts that picked every series in the playoffs for ESPN, all 10 of them chose the Cavaliers. So, if you are unemployed in today's pathetic economy, pack up the bags and move to Bristol, CT. There's hope...


And So It Ends

As fast at it seemed to come, its gone. The Cavaliers were exposed this series against the Magic as being exactly what they were all season long. I realized it after Game 3 but didn't want to say it. I didn't want to believe it. But its true.

The Cavaliers were a team that played hard night in, and night out during the regular season.

Sounds simple, but in an NBA where teams take regular season nights off on a routine basis, the Cavaliers never did during the regular season. No matter who was in the line-up they played defense, they attacked the rim, and they enforced their regular season will on their opponents. Some nights, they beat teams with more talent by out executed them. By out hustling them. By playing harder then the other team.

But in the playoffs, everybody plays hard.

Nobody takes nights off. With all else equal, talent wins out. And the Cavaliers simply do not have enough legitimate talent to keep up with the Orlando's, Lakers, and Nuggets of the world.

If you look, as I am sure you have, at the (3) other conference finals contenders, you will find 3-7 players on each team that would not only start for Cleveland, but could very well be the Cavs second best player.

Case in point:

Orlando: Howard, Hedo, Rashard Lewis, and Petrus would all be the second best player on the Cavaliers; specifically, they are all better than Mo Williams. Jameer Nelson might be as well, and at times Alston looked light years ahead of Mo, but I can't quite go their for sure.

Lakers: Kobe aside, Pau and Odom would be the second best player on the Cavaliers. Ariza would possibly start, and on an aside, Shannon Brown looks better than Daniel Gibson at this point in their careers.

Nuggets: Melo, Chauncey, JR Smith, would be the second best player, and Martin, Nene, and Birdman, would all start for sure.

What this brings me back to is the offseason: The Cavaliers needed to add a significant piece. Nobody thought that piece was Mo Williams at the time, and as the regular season wore on it looked like maybe he was. But he's not. At the trading deadline there was a clamoring to add a piece. I wrote about and supported Danny Ferry's move to stand pat on a number of sites, and I still can't blame Danny for the demise of this team, but it obviously needs something.

So on to the offseason. And the Cavaliers will likely add something, but to what nucleus. I have to imagine that Mo's confidence is no doubt shaken, and how will he respond? Z looks like he doesn't have too many starting center games left in him, and the Cavaliers have far from a top flight bench. Can you continue to start Delonte West and Mo Williams together? That back court kinda looks to small these days no?

So what do you change? What do you add? Who knows. But the Cavaliers need to do two things somehow if they are going to compete for the title next year. Get bigger, tougher, and more athletic inside, and get bigger, more athletic, and more consistent from the perimeter.

And while last night was tough. While people dressed in Cavs gear were ready to explode downtown last night, only to head home at 11, and while the disappointment of waiting another year stares us straight in the fact this morning, we still can't overlook the season the Cavaliers had. They didn't choke, they just aren't really good enough yet. The roster's not there, Mike Brown's not there yet, and the experience is not there yet, LeBron James aside.

This team overachieved this season whether you can admit that or not. And while the Cavaliers do have the best player in the world, he can't beat five good players by himself, and this is as much of an understatement as the fact that Cleveland hasn't won a championship in long time.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A.L. Casoni Presents: Look on the Bright Side-

In order to get everyone's minds off the Cavs and their struggles, I thought it would be a good idea to look at some other struggles Cleveland has endured. Let's see, let's make it a nice round number and look back at the past 25 years. So here it goes, here is my list of the most dissapointing moments in Cleveland sports over the last 25 years, 1984-present. This is completely an opinion, so I am certainly interested in fellow Clevelanders' input as well. Keep in mind this is 1984-present only.

10. Cavs fall short to the Celtics in the 2008 playoffs- after a truly magnificant series, the Cavs are eliminated in Game 7 by the Celtics even with a 45 point effort by LeBron.

9. Jordan hits "The Shot" in the 1989 playoffs- while some Clevelandlers would rank this higher as a dissapointment, I do not. Its dissapointing since everyone has seen it at least 387,463 times, but the truth of the matter is that it was the first round of the playoffs.

8. Tim Couch turns in to one of the biggest busts of all time- Fans excited we got our team back, players excited to take the field, quarterback is a bumb. Couch is part of the reason to blame the Browns are still struggling to this day.

7. Browns lose to the Steelers in the 2002 playoffs - After the Browns finally make it in to the playoffs for the first time since 1994, the Browns give up a late score to the Steelers in the final minute. Despite a 429 yard passing effort by Holcomb, the Browns came up short.

6. Indians lose 101 games in '87 despite S.I. article- Don't believe in the S.I. jinx, huh, tell that to the '87 Tribe. Despite the cover boys Corey Snyder and Joe Carter under the heading "Indian Uprising" predicting the Tribe to make the series, the Indians rip off 101 losses which was good for last place in the A.L. East

5. Cavs swept in the '07 finals against the Spurs- The Cavs finally reach the NBA finals for the first time in franchise history, and are decimated by the San Antonio Spurs.

4. Tribe loses game 7 to the Marlins in the '97 series- Just as we think are woes are over as we head in to the 9th with a 2-1 lead, the Tribe chokes game 7 and the non-championship streak continues.

3. The Fumble (1987)-Byner fumbles at the goal line, need I say more.

2. Browns move to Baltimore in 1996 - Modell, you are just the worst type of person. You took away the team that has the best fans of any team sport in professional sports.

1. The Drive (1986)- While I contemplated putting the Tribe losing to the Marlins in Game 7 in the #1 spot (as that was are closest chance at a championship), my love goes to the Browns. John Elway marched the Broncos 91 yards to send the game to overtime in the final minutes to end a chance at the Super Bowl. 91 yards, seriously Elway?

Well, that's my top 10 list. You know, the best part of being a Cleveland sports fan is that we are the most deserving city in the country for a championship. As much as the Browns, Cavs and Indians dissapoint, we love them and continue to love them. And mark my words, it will be the greatest party in the history of mankind in the streets of Cleveland the day we take home a trophy in any of the 3 major sports. Here are my odds of who will win a championship first.

Cavs- 75%
Indians- 20%
Browns- 5%


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Speechless; We're All Tied Up

The Shot that Saved Cleveland. Le-Shot. The Chosen Three.

Call it whatever you want.

After all these years, now its Cleveland that has that player, that makes that play. Its Amazing. I can't wait for the commercial.

(Picture is courtesy of Tracy Poulian, The Cleveland Plain Dealer)

Friday, May 22, 2009

LeBron Calls For Sasha to Step In, and Step Up

Thursday morning we said that you might need to call on Sasha Pavlovic to counterbalance the mismatch issues the Magic exploited on Wednesday night.

[See Takes From Game 1 - As scary as it is to say we might have to trust Sasha with some meaningful minutes in this series.If Z continues to be cold and can't improve on the pick n roll we could go stretches with Andy on Howard and not have a huge drop off and put Sasha on Lewis ]

Friday Morning, LeBron James Agreed.

From LBJ via

"I think Sasha can be huge for us," James said. "Mentally, if Sasha's in tune, he could be really good for us with his 6-7 or 6-8, 240-pound frame, he could really help us on the defensive end, and he's also an offensive threat. You just cannot leave him open on the offensive end because he can make shots. Mentally, if Sasha's in tune, which I think he can be, and if he's called upon, I think he can be really good for us. We need that type of active body on the defensive end who can take a little bit of the load of myself and Delonte. . . . We could use him out there."

But make no mistake. LeBron did not say 'Mentally, if Sasha is in tune' twice, by accident. Its a big if, but looks to be a needed move here.

Go Cavs Tonight. One Goal.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Takes from Game 1

Disappointment obviously doesn't even begin to describe what occured last night. Especially since that crowd was in a frenzy unlike any I've been a part of at the Q. During Lebron's dunk-swat-three sequence I actually turned to my pop at the game and yelled something and didn't hear the words coming out of my mouth. You have to give credit to the Magic for overcoming that type of atmosphere on such a stage.

First off on Lewis' three, there is no way that dagger should have ever been thrown. I know it's a lot to ask Andy to go out in space and stop Rashard Lewis. It's just not his game. But under no circumstances can you allow a three to even be taken there. Even if Lewis gets by him and converted we're tied up, we take the last shot, if we miss we get 5 extra minutes at home against a Howard-less Magic.

Second, the layoff effected us in this game. It's hard to imagine that being the case considering we were up 15 at half and looked to be the same wrecking ball we've been for the last three weeks. But when you have 9 days off there's no way around the fact that you're going to lose just a little bit of game stamina because you can't simulate that without risking injury in practice. Atlanta was an ideal team to come off a long layoff against because their the kind of team you want to pack it in against and shrink the floor. Unlike the Magic when you have to rotate hard and sprint to close out on shooters on almost every possession. There's no disputing the fact that we were a step slow closing out in the 2nd half last night. Look for the Cavs to maintain their defensive effort for a full 48 minutes in game 2 as they get their legs back.

Third, the bench. Wow! Horrendous. The +/- for our 4 bench players that came in were laughable. This is one of the biggest reasons I wanted to play Boston. Wally has been a very solid producer for us and we need his offense coming off the bench. If we had Boston we would have lost virtually nothing on D because he could've hung out at the three point line with Scalabrine. But now, well, hopefully we don't have to watch him try to check Pietrus anymore. As scary as it is to say we might have to trust Sasha with some meaningful minutes in this series.
If Z continues to be cold and can't improve on the pick n roll we could go stretches with Andy on Howard and not have a huge drop off and put Sasha on Lewis. Probably too early in the series to make that move though.

Finally, if West and Mo shoot around 30% for the series we're done. Plain and simple. But I don't think that'll be the case. Even after struggling all night Mo hit a huge three down the stretch and so did West. Unfortunately neither could hit one more to send the roof off the Q.

With all this being said I'm still liking the Cavs. I'm still on board. As much as it hurt walking down Prospect last night I still think we'll win this series for a few reasons and I think everyone knows one reason. Lebron James. The 2nd is that Orlando relies on those three's. Howard will not beat us by himself. He just can't control the game that way. He had a better half then I could've possibly imagined in the 1st half and they were down 15. They couldn't get it turned around until they started to catch fire from outside. That's why they're one of the better road teams in the league. If they catch fire they'll win anywhere. The flip side of that coin has me optimistic still. If they go cold they'll lose anywhere. I would bet a paycheck on the Cavs winning Game 2 and winning one in Orlando. Step off the ledge for now cavs fans.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Cavaliers - Magic: Series Prediction

Before I give my prediction for the Eastern Conference Finals I want to first send a shout out to Dr. Anklesnap and our good friends over at the Hoop Doctors for the link yesterday - appreciate that fellas.

That said, I really want to agree with his Cavaliers in (5) prediction, but somethings telling me its going to take (6) to dispose of the Magic.

My guarantees for the series are as follows:

The Cavaliers will win Game 1 handily. They will also win Game 6 by at least (15). Other than that, I am not really sure how it will play out, other than the fact that the Cavaliers will lose (2) games somewhere in there; with (1) being at home, and (1) being on the road.

The (2) loses won't be all bad though, as they'll advance to the NBA Finals with a postseason record of 12-2 overall.

So now that that's out of the way, its time for some Le-Bombs...I want you to wake up with sugar all in your hair tomorrow...Go Cavs!

Cavaliers in 6

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Western Conference Finals: Lakers - Nuggets

Game 1 Tonight:

Series Prediction: Nuggets in (6)

While Kobe v. LeBron would be one helluva Finals match-up, I don't see Phillip getting his crew there this time around.

Chauncey Billups is going to be a serious problem for Derek Fisher this series. Fisher had enough problems with second year PG Aaron Brooks last time around, and if Brooks didn't play at stretches like a second year player, the Lakers might be fishing right now. However, in his 7th straight conference finals appearance, Mr. Bigshot is no Aaron Brooks, and he will consistently dominate Fisher, Farmer, and whoever the hell else the Lakers roll out there to try to slow him down, all series long.

On the interior, while the Laker frontline looks great on paper, they were outplayed twice by a Yao Ming-less frontline -featuring Luis Scola, Chuck Hayes, and Carl Landry. The physicality of the Nuggets front line, lead by Kenyon Martin, Nene, and the Birdman, is going to be a problem for Pau, Lamar, and Bynum - none of whom care much for mixing it up.

Kobe is going to play great, and probably win (2) games on his own, but I don't think the rest of his squad matches up well enough to help him win two more. Anthony will be good, not great, but good enough to move on, and face his buddy LeBron in the Finals.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Cavaliers - Magic: Game 3 Wednesday

As predicted here at Shaver Sports on Saturday, the Magic went into Boston and took Game (7) from Celtics. While I would have thoroughly enjoyed completely dominating the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals, I am fine with the consolation prize of eliminating the Magic.

I know we will hear a lot about the frontline of the Magic in days to come. The way they beat the Cavs in Orlando towards the end of the regular season; and how much better Dwight Howard and Rashard Lewis are than Z and Andy. But before all that happens, I want to say this. The Magic have no LeBron James. And while I'll give the edge to the Magic at the 4 and 5 spot, I have to give the edge to Cleveland at the 1, 2, and 3.

In other words, I like Mo Williams over Rafer Alston, Delonte West over JJ Redick, and LeBron James over Hedo a ton.

Cleveland will have to deal with Howard, that's a given, but I'll let Mike Brown take care of that. And defensively, on the interior for Cleveland, I'll say this right now, Anderson Varejao will come up huge this series.

Further analysis as well as a series prediction to follow.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Orlando it is!

Well Cavs Fans I'd be lying if I said I wanted to see Orlando come out of this series. I was looking forward to seeing our Cavs play a lot of meaningful minutes against Starbury and Michael Rappaport, err, Brian Scalabrine. Plus it would have just been nice to stick it to Boston in 4 or 5 games. But alas we get the super powered center and his merry shooters led by Stan Van Jeremy himself.

The thing that scares me about the Magic is that they are the type of team that can get hot and beat us in our building and Dwight Howard has the capability of making big Z look really old on the defensive end. But in the end we still have the last trump card. As good as Dwight Howard is he simply can't dominate a game like Lebron can. He's gonna have a much harder time pulling down 20 boards and swatting 5 shots when he's covering Z 18 feet from the tin.

In the regular season they beat us pretty good in Orlando with Z and West injured. We beat them in a nail biter at full strength back home at the Q because Lebron went Lebron, then of course the game happened that had me all nervous late in the season when the Magic were so hot that Marcin Gortat hit a 3 in the 4th quarter. In that game they went 13-27 from 3 and shot 53% from the field. If that happened again even once Coach Brown would have to be given mouth-to-mouth at halfcourt by our trainer, Mike Wilbon ( Something tells me it won't be happening 4 more times.

After thinking about it more I came to realize that my Cleveland sports cynicism was just creeping back a little bit. I'm just trying to find bad news in the fact that the Cavs have been a wrecking ball in the playoffs thus far and have the best player on the planet rested up and hungry as hell. Something tells me there's more to fear in Orlando thinking about having Hedo "I couldn't stop Wally Sczerbiak in our 1st matchup" Turkoglu trying to slow down the King.

See you at the game Wednesday night. If you're one of the guys paid to walk around on the rafters look up and give me a wave.

Cleveland Sports Blog League Update

Cleveland Sports Blog League - Fantasy Baseball - 5/17 - Update

It wasn't too long ago that the Shaver Sports' Fantasy Baseball team occupied the last place position in the '09 standings. The reason for the slow start can be attributed to the oversight involved with the activation of Chien Mien Wang during the stretch where he racked up an ERA of over 36. My bad on that. However, after refocusing, removing Wang from the line-up, and more frequently checking out my roster, Shaver Sports has risen to 5th place overall as of today. Currently, while continuing to focus on our yearlong goals, we are looking to take a step forward this week by gaining 1.5 overall points and passing The Cleveland Fan, thereby securing 4th place by week's end.

To do this though, we are going to have to continue to hit, and our pitching must improve.

I'll keep you posted.

To view the latest overall standings, go to Cry Me A Cuyahoga River

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Remembering Craig Ehlo...

In the latest issue of Sports Illustrated, Chris Ballard wrote an article, Guarding Kobe, which is worth the read. In the piece Ballard details the match-up through (4) games between Kobe Bryant, and the guy trying to slow him down, Shane Battier.

The article applauds the efforts of Battier - which is well deserved. But it also reaches back, and reminds us of another guy, who gave the best scorer of his day all he could handle come Playoff time - year after year... and that guy is former Cavalier, Craig Ehlo.

As the article mentions, Ehlo is a guy who has 'secured goat status in the eyes of Cleveland fans.' However, it also suggests, that this might be an unfair label for Craig - and I agree.

To me, I have always believed that Ehlo gets a bad wrap. Did he shut Jordan down? Of course not. But find me one NBA player that did.

Craig Ehlo gave the Cavaliers (7) years of service. During that stretch, he averaged 10.5 points per game, over (40) postseason games, all the while chasing the likes of Jordan all night on the other end of the floor. Jordan may have gotten his number most times, but as Cavs Trainer Gary Briggs said to Ehlo after one game, "he may have gotten 45 points, but you were in his sh*t all night."

What more could you ask from the guy?

On a side note - for whatever its worth - Ehlo is probably the last American-born whiteboy who will ever be asked to guard the best player in the NBA for a full game...let alone a full playoff series...

unless Luke Walton steps his game up, cracks the starting line-up, the Lakers advance, and he's matched up against LeBron James up in the Finals this year.

But game after game, to give his team the best chance to win Ehlo took that match-up. As a sports fan, you have to respect that. Just like you have to respect Battier. But when you watch Kobe try to shoot his way past the Rockets Sunday, just remember that before there was Shane Battier, there was Craig Ehlo...and 'Eggs' was a helluva player...whether you chose to remember that or not.

A.L Casoni Presents: Where would the Cavs be right now if they were LeBron-less?

A View From the Burgh...

I know its not a popular topic of discussion, but where would the Cavaliers be right now without LeBron James? Exactly where they are now? Recently eliminated from the playoffs? 24 beers deep in Cancun on vacation? The Cavs are rolling through the playoffs like a freight train. The Hawks and the Pistons were like a gigantic piece of cake in front of a fat kid, without a chance of survival. All this possible without the King? The Cavaliers certainly improved their squad in the offseason. The addition of Mo Williams has added another legitimate scorer to the lineup, and guys like Varejao and West have certainly earned their paychecks. But really, 8 games in to the playoffs without a loss? Truth of the matter is this, LeBron proved 1 man can take a team to the NBA finals a few years ago. He single-handedly put the team on his back, and carried them to the NBA finals. If you doubt this, please refer back to Game 5 against the Pistons. Regardless of the fact the Cavs were swept by the Spurs, it does not downplay how truly amazing this run was for LeBron and his minions. I think you know where I am going with this. With that said, the Cavs, in my opinion, would have limped in to the playoffs a 5 or 6 seed without the King, and would be sitting on the beach right now. They may have given someone a test, but they wouldn't have been a factor in the East. Reality is though that Cleveland is in the best position right now in the East, actually make that in the entire NBA. They are at home kicking it on their Lazy Boys in preparation of watching tomorrow's contest between the Celtics and Magic. Their biggest threat in the West is in a 7 game struggle, and their opponent is without the most coordinated guy to ever come out of China. The Celtics are a different team without Garnett, no doubt. They are even giving minutes to Brian Scalabrine? Seriously, Brian Scalabrine? So 2010 is obviously the year we are not looking forward too as Clevelanders. If we want to continue to watch the Cavs in to June, LeBron must stay. If not, we better hope the Tribe comes out better than they did this year...

Click Here For Previous Posts from A.L. Casoni's A View From the Burgh Series

Conference Finals Wednesday...Who's Coming?

I kinda want Boston to beat Orlando on Sunday. Not because I fear a match-up with the Magic, but because I want the Cavaliers to smack the Celtics upside the head just like Rafer did Eddie. With the Master of Panic shivering up and down the Magic sidelines, it's tough to pick D-Howard and company, especially on the road, but if I had to pick a winner tomorrow, it would be Orlando.

As currently constructed, I believe the Magic are a better team right now, and will win Game 7 in Boston tomorrow.

Don't take my word for it though. The following prediction and analysis is offered below from our friends over at Sports of Boston:

[via] The Big Three a Big Joke:

"...But no, this team (Celtics) is not going to defend it’s East crown this season, let alone it’s World Championship. Thursday night, we were witness to one of the worst performances by Celtics superstars you will see. The Celtics will return home for Game 7 on Sunday and have a decent shot of taking care of business, but it will only prolong the inevitable of a Cavaliers slaughter in the Eastern Conference Finals."

Oh how much I want to see that 'inevitable of a Cavaliers slaughter in the Eastern Conference Finals." Here's hoping my prediction is wrong, and Scalabrine goes for 36.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Gregg Doyel Sounds Like Skip Bayless

I'm sure you've read, or heard, about Gregg Doyel's article on CBS Sportsline earlier this week: "Let's Be Up Front: Cavaliers Can't Win the Title."

Initially, while I disagreed, I respected his points, and respected the piece. I enjoy a well put together thought - whether I agree or not - and his article is certainly that, regardless of where you come out on it.

But now this guy just sounds ridiculous.

On the Steve Czaban Radio Show yesterday, Gregg Doyel offered the following commentary in support of his article:

"The Cavs won't win the NBA Title because their big men suck...Ilgauskas is an insult to big men...Ilgauskas, at 7'3" is so pathetic that I am 5'10" and can win a jump ball against him...At this point, I am completely married to the idea that the Cavaliers can't win, so much so that if the Sacramento Kings got into the NBA Finals they would beat the Cavaliers."

Hilarious joke about winning the jump ball, Doyel. And the Sacramento Kings? Your married to that, huh? Well before you file for your inevitable divorce, give your idol Skip Bayless his material back, clown.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Cubes v. K-Mart, Witness Cuttys, and Retirement Homes

Top banter from our friends around the Blogosphere:

Tale of the Tape: Mark Cuban vs. Kenyon Martin - Ball Don't Lie

(29) pounds of marijuana is sending ex-Bearcat, and Cavalier, Corie Blount to bighouse - No Guts No Glory

Did you see that Witness Cutty riding around Cleveland...belongs to Rapper A. Gully. See the pics, read interview - Waiting for Next Year

2006 Orioles Draft Pick Josh Faiola, of the Minor League Baseball team set to play in Avon - the Crushers - is staying at a Retirement Home in Westlake, Ohio during the season - The Big Lead

Pitchers are Sissies Now, by Kid Nichols via the 1948 edition of Baseball Digest - Cleveland Frowns

Indians GM Mark Shapiro Needs to Fire Eric Wedge - Midwest Sports Fans

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The King Finds Rest While Ruling Court

The Cavaliers have handled their business thus far this post season in the most efficient way possible, advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals in (8) games. And while this Playoff performance has befit the MVP title bestowed on the King, what should not be overlooked in the highlight real factory that he has produced, is the efficiency with which the Cavaliers' Chief Operating Officer has managed through these first two rounds.

Through these (8) games LeBron James averaged a career playoff low in minutes, at (39) per game. How significant is this mark? Consider this, through the first two rounds of these Playoffs LeBron James has played the equivalent of (6.5) full (48) minute NBA games.

In comparison, during the first two rounds of the 2006 Playoffs, LeBron played in (13) games, averaging 46.5 minutes per contest, or the equivalent of (12.6) games - nearly double - and they didn't advance.

In 2007 they did advance, but it took an effort of 44.7 minutes per game from James, through (10) games, or the equivalent of (9.3) full (48) minute games.

Last season, before eventually losing to Boston, LeBron's Cavaliers played in (13) games through (2) rounds, with the Chosen 1 tallying 42.5 minutes per game, or the equivalent of (11.5) full (48) minute games.

Even the King can get tired, and whatever rest he can be afforded will undoubtedly pay huge come June.

Reference: Cavaliers Postseason Statistics

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cavaliers Win 84-74: Sweep Hawks

While Shaver Sports predicted the Round 2 sweep of the Hawks that came to fruition last night - before the series started - I would be remiss if I did not remind you that (9) of the (10) NBA Experts at ESPN did not. But instead of the Cavaliers being in the (6) game dogfight that Tim Legler and JA Adande prognosticated, the Cavaliers will take another week - plus off, while they await the winner of the Celtics - Magic series, which gives all indications of going the distance.

The Hawks kept it close for a while last night in Game 4, but eventually lost by (10), making it double digit wins for Cleveland for the (8th) straight time this postseason. LeBron James' Cavaliers now join D-Wade's 2005 Heat squad, as the last two teams to sweep the first two rounds of the playoffs. It should be noted, however, that the Heat did not win all (8) games by double figures that postseason. I will be calling to the Elias Sports Bureau later today to see how many teams in NBA History - like the 2009 Cavaliers - did just that in the first two rounds of the NBA Playoffs, because I believe there is a record there somewhere.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Close Out Game Tonight: Cavs - Hawks

While the Celtics - Magic series (tied at 2-2) looks destined to go to (7), the Cavaliers can close out tonight with their second sweep of the postseason. They will also ensure, in all likelihood, the fact that they will be able to watch their next opponent play each other a few more times from confines of their own couches, as they get right with another week off. How playa is that man? Also, if you haven't heard, LeBron James has scored 108 points, in 108 minutes this series, going into Game 4 tonight.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Cleveland Buzzing: Cavs Win 97-82

With Le-Bombs being ordered up at bars all over Cleveland yesterday, the Cavaliers went into Atlanta and left Hawks fans sobered in the reality that this series was over before it started. LeBron's 47, 12 and 8 was intoxicating, and the Cavaliers continued to look more focused than any of the other (7) teams still alive in the Association. They covered again too so I hope you didn't take the 8.5...close out game Monday.

The picture above is courtesy of Fansided at the pic, and thanks for checking in yesterday!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Game 3: Shots of LeBombs All Around

Tonight at 8pm Game 3 gets underway in Atlanta. But you don't have to wait until then for a round of shots...A round of Le-Bombs for everybody!

Le-Bomb Ingredients: Crown Royal (For King James), Grenadine, dropped into Redbull, with (2) packets of sugar (used for the pregame chalk toss).

Friday, May 8, 2009

Hawks Just Watching: Cavs Win 105-85

As LeBron split a double team at the top of the key, cruised right down the middle of the lane, and dunked backwards with the first quarter clock expiring, all (5) Hawks stood there watching him...wondering why they had to play (4) full games to be eliminated.

LeBron then closed the next quarter by simply stepping over half-court, and pulling up for a jump-shot from the A in Cavaliers. After it went down, the Cavs led 59-35 at the break.

Mike Woodson tried to rally his troops. Even ESPN Analyst Jalen Rose pleaded with them during the halftime show saying, "I know the Cavs are tough at home, but gentlemen please, show up."

They didn't show up though really, and the margin increased to 30 after (3).

In the 4th quarter the game was kinda compelling with 3 minutes to go when the lead dwindled to 15 - if you bet on the 12 point spread - however, the final margin ended up being (20), and Cleveland covered with their 6th straight double digit win of the post season.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Ron-Ron, Man-Ram, and Jeff Foster

A lot going on out there today...from our friends around the blog world:

You didn't believe that Ron Artest story about the table-leg did you? Guess what, its true. Check yourself Kobe - Mouthpiece

I am pretty sure Derek Fisher did not want Luis Scola to screen him...he's out game 3 as well by the way...see why - roll tape - No Guts No Glory

A lot of speculation around Man Ram today - understatement - read What we know about Manny Ramirez - The Big Lead

Did the TrueHoop piece on LBJ rub you the wrong way...clarification offered: Henry Abbott and the LeBron James Foul Total Fiasco - Waiting for Next Year

This is Hilarious...Where Amazing Happens NBA Spoofs - featuring Jeff Foster, Zach Randolph and Kwawme Brown...Check it out, you owe it to yourself - Midwest Sports Fan

Thanks For Spreading the Word

While I'm awaiting tip-off, I wanted to send a shout out over to the good people at the Real Cavs Fans, as well as the LeBron 2010 team for linking up the Danny Ferry post I wrote for the Midwest Sports Fans this week. I appreciate it fellas.

Cavaliers - Hawks: Game 2 Tonight

Brian Windhorst made the point on Colin Cowherd's Radio Show yesterday, that LeBron James was 'embarrassed' by the way he played in the Spurs sweep of Cavaliers during the '07 Finals. From that point, he said that LeBron approached his game with a renewed focus to improve, which culminated in his winning of the MVP Trophy on Tuesday.

I expect LeBron to continue that renewed focus tonight, and treat the Hawks the same way that Tim Duncan and Tony Parker treated his Cavaliers two season ago. Congratulations for advancing fellas, but your not quite on this level yet. Look for the Cavaliers to not only win, but notch their 6th straight double digit victory of the post season, sending Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, and Mike Bibby back to the ATL, embarrassed about the road trip.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Cavs Roll Over Hawks: 99-72

Nine of ESPN's Ten NBA 'Experts' picked the Hawks to win at least (1) game against the Cavaliers this series - with JA Andande and Tim Legler going so far as to say they would win (2) - but after the (27) point, Game (1) drubbing, only Chris Sheridan appears to be worthy of earning that title.

If Atlanta was going to steal one, you could argue that the (9) day lay-off, and MVP hoopla would present an opportunity for them to get the first one. But they didn't, and now the Hawks look poised to get the same treatment the Pistons got from the Cavaliers in round one.

Cleveland has now covered, and won by double digits in (5) straight post season games. I look for that to continue on Thursday. Cavaliers in Four.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Series Prediction: Cavs in Four

I know I should say the Cavaliers will lose one game. Its probably the right thing to do. Don't be too biased...Atlanta will be all jacked up when the Cavs arrive at their place for Game 3...but don't see it. I don't see LeBron James' Cavaliers losing one game anywhere against the Hawks.

Shaver Sports Series Prediction: The Cavaliers Win the Series in Four

Back to Back Sweeps. Plenty of rest for the Eastern Conference Finals.

An MVP For Cleveland

LeBron James will hoist up the NBA's MVP trophy tonight before the Cavaliers tip off their series against the Hawks, with the typical fanfare that is associated with winning the award. David Stern will be there, the crowd will go berserk, and the image of King James raising the trophy above his head will be played over and over again in the years to come, as that moment typically is.

But LeBron James is no typical MVP.

There may be no MVP in the history of professional sports that has meant more to his team, his franchise, his city, or his geographic region than LeBron James does.

The cliches of the MVP debate always ask, well what does this honor reward? Does it go to the player who is the most valuable to his team? Is it the leagues best player? The player with the best statistics? Or does it go as a reward to the best player, on the leagues team with the best record? These questions will invariably be asked again this year by the talking heads, however, there is more than a sound argument to be made that James is all four of these things. However, what shouldn't be lost there is, that he is those things, and much more to the city he plays for.

This franchise was one that won (17) games the year before he got here. Northeast Ohio watched him closely that season, waiting, hoping. Cleveland was a punch line at the time. But since he arrived, nobody seems to be laughing at Cleveland anymore. Its all changed.

A town who once believed it was cursed, who's river caught on fire, who's running back fumbled, and closer blew the save, now seems poised, determined, and firm in its belief that a title is looming. LeBron James did that.

Since his rookie year he has put Cleveland sports fans hopes, and dreams on his back. And when he raises that trophy above his head tonight, he is bringing Cleveland up with him, and letting us all know, that its okay to believe now.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Danny Ferry Got Robbed

The Denver Nuggets Mark Warkentien won the NBA's Executive of the Year Award on Sunday, but the Cavaliers Danny Ferry deserved it.

I stated my claim for the Cavaliers General Manger in a post I wrote for the Midwest Sports Fans on Sunday night.

And excerpt of that post is below:

"If Ferry would have traded Damon Jones to Milwaukee for a box of basketballs, that would have been a good move. However, in return for the services of Damon Jones, the Cavaliers got an All Star PG, and the best second option that LeBron has had in his NBA career..."

Read the rest of the post at MWSF

Sunday, May 3, 2009

NBA Playoffs: Handicapping the 2nd Round

Celtics (-2.5) vs. Magic - Game (1) - in Boston

Before the first round series started, there probably weren't too many people willing to bet that the Bulls would push the Celtics into seven overtimes, along the way to extending the series to seven games, before eventually bowing out to the defending champs. But the they did that, and now that's over, and Boston has to re-group in a hurry with the Orlando Magic coming to town on Monday. Most online betting sites, currently have Boston giving Orlando 2.5 points in the opening game of the series. Should be interesting.

Lakers (-8) vs. Rockets - Game (1) - in LA

Ron-Ron and Yao might be able to give Kobe and company trouble for a game or two, but expect the Lakers to close Houston out in (6) games at the most. Lakers in (5) wouldn't suprise me either, but I do think Houston will get (1) game. The question is which one? I doubt it will be the first one, and so do the handicappers, who have LA giving Houston (8) in the first game of that series.

Cavaliers (-11) vs. Atlanta - Game (1) - in Cleveland

I honestly don't think I am being biased when I say this series won't be close. As much as feel like the right thing to do would be to say that Atlanta wins (1) game, I really don't think they will. I don't see it. The Cavaliers are on a mission, and I am predicting a second round sweep as an encore to the sweep of the Pistons, starting on Tuesday. However, the (11) number is a big one, and I am not sure I would quite go there, but its surely possible.

Denver vs Dallas - Game (1) Recap - in Denver

If you are looking for 2nd round trends, the Nuggets beat the Mavericks 109-95 in the first game of that series earlier today, and covered. Denver was giving Dallas 6.5 points, and won by (14).

Thanks Indians, Back to Cavs and Browns

With the Cavaliers awaiting their second round opponent, and the Browns draft in the rear view, this past week was the opportunity for the Indians to capture some attention from the Cleveland Sports fan. While the Cavaliers look scheduled to play into June, and the Browns to break camp shortly after that, this was the week for the Indians to create a buzz - if one was to be created this season.

However, they started the week in last place, and they finished the week in last place, as the Cavaliers prepare to tip back off on Tuesday.

I watched the Tribe all week, and wanted to find something to blog about. But I couldn't find anything compelling, so I brought up the one guy involved with Indians who consistently takes advantage of his opportunities when the bright lights are pointing his way...The Fluorescent Hat Guy.

I appreciate the commentary that ensued, thanks to everybody for weighing in...

Special thanks to our friends at Waiting For Next Year for linking it up along with our friends over at No Guts No Glory for doing the same. Also, I wanted to send a shout out over to the quality crew at Cleveland Frowns for stopping by, and to Vince Grezegorek from Scence Magazine for checking in as well.

And before I go back to focus my attention on the Cavaliers - until the Parade is over - I did want to offer the following excerpt, in regards to the Fluorescent Hat Guy, offered to us by Vince, who wrote an article on him in October of '07 for the Uni Watch Blog:

"Tom O’Toole, a 40-year season ticket holder who sits in perfect view of the camera every time there’s a close-up shot of a left-handed batter...O’Toole began his headgear ritual in 1994, when the Indians moved from old Municipal Stadium to the new ballpark...Here’s the sequence: 1st inning hat: dull yellow, 2nd inning hat: hot pink, 3rd inning hat: neon yellow, 4th inning hat: neon green, 5th inning hat: neon orange, 6th inning hat: bright orange-ish red, 7th inning hat: yellow hat, red brim, 8th inning: red, 9th inning hat: blue."

You can read Vince Grezegorek regularly at Cleveland's Scene Magazine, and also at Cleveland Scene's Sports Blog, '64 And Counting.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Tribe/Tigers series

As we head in to game 2 of the Tribe/Tigers series, I thought this little you tube piece would be fitting. Yes its a slight mock on the city of Cleveland, but as most of us agree after watching it, its very true. Do I still have pride in the city of Cleveland even after moving away to Pittsburgh? Absolutely.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Indians Are Boring

Why is the Fluorescent Hat Guy the most interesting thing to me at Indians games these days? Contrary to some peoples opinion, its not because I just noticed the guy. Its because I can't get the Indians to hold my attention. I keep trying to watch, get bored, and then try to guess what color he is going to wear next inning, game after game.

And I am not the only guy less than enamored with this year's Tribe:

They are Still Sh*tty - Cleveland Frowns

Tribe Re-Cap: Indians BLOW (another late inning lead) - Waiting For Next Year

Pulling My Hair Out - Forest City Fanatics

Every Which Way - DiaTribe

Bring up Matt LaPorta, and bring on the Hawks.