Hmmm….road trip, anyone?

Written August 20th, 2009 by Jeff

No, we’re not planning to drive down to Florida and beat up Ralph Decker.  Despite the heavy traffic coming from EDSBS and others who claim The BBC is on a mission to hunt him down, we’ve actually made it clear that we want the law (and not vigilante justice) to prevail…and we have refused to post any private information, even deleting his address when it popped up in the comments.

No, instead we’re planning a road trip up North.  TSUN, to be exact.  A full weekend of football.

  • Saturday, November 21st – Ohio State Buckeyes at Michigan Wolverines
  • Sunday, November 22nd – Cleveland Browns at Detroit Lions

Can you taste it now?  Road trip to Michigan, third week of November.  All are welcome, into the light.  Allllll are welcome.

I’m thinking by then, the Buckeyes will be looking to secure another BCS bid, Michigan will be wondering if Lllllloyd Carr is still available, and the Browns and Lions will be playing to lose and be declared the winner of the next NFL Draft, otherwise known as “Tebow-Bowl 2010″

Hell, if I’m feeling a little spry, I might even extend the weekend.  Go up to Windsor, Ontario for a couple days of blackjack, come back down to Auburn Hills on Wednesday, November 25th to see the Cleveland Cavaliers take on the Pistons.

The greatest moment in Cleveland sports history?

Written May 24th, 2009 by Jeff

By now you’ve seen it several hundred times.  LeBron James burying a buzzer-beating three-point shot to win Game 2 and save the Cavaliers season.

The BBC and many others have quickly labeled it as “The Greatest Moment In Cleveland Sports History”. But is it truly? I’ve spent 36 hours, since the shot went through the rim, debating that very topic. Frankly, I can’t find another moment that would top it.

Yes, I do believe that Cie Grant wrapping his arms around Ken Dorsey and forcing an incomplete pass to win the 2003 Fiesta Bowl (and the National Championship) for Ohio State to be the best moment I have ever experienced in sports….but that’s not Cleveland sports. It’s Ohio State, and many Clevelanders adopt OSU as their second home, yet that moment is not a Cleveland moment.

So, can you find a better moment in Cleveland history? Here’s a few of my personal favorites;

  • Bernie Kosar hitting Webster Slaughter deep down the left sideline against the New York Jets late in a 1987 playoff game. The Jets led by 10 points with just over 2 minutes left, and the Browns won in 2OT, 23-20.
  • Albert Belle slugging a game-tying home run in the 11th inning of Game 1 of the 1995 American League Divisional Playoffs, then flexing his muscles at the Red Sox dugout after Boston stole the bat, claiming it was corked (it wasn’t).
  • The Cavaliers dominating the first five minutes of the 4th quarter of Game 6 in the Eastern Conference Finals against Detroit, forcing Rasheed Wallace to lose his mind and get ejected on his way to defeat.  The Cavs went on to win the game and the Eastern Conference.
  • Omar Vizquel hitting a bases-loaded triple with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, tying the Seattle Mariners after trailing the game 14-2.
  • A last-second shot by Damon Jones beats the Washington Wizards in overtime of Game 6 in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, 114-113.  Just before Jones’ winner, Gilbert Arenas was at the line with a 1-point lead and a chance to make it 3.  LeBron James snuck up behind him and said “if you miss these, you know who’s hitting the game winner”.  Arenas missed both free throws.

All of these moments are legendary in Cleveland.  But do any of them really top what we saw two nights ago?

To be truthful, that hasn’t fully been determined yet.  If the Cavs go on to win the series and the Finals, yes.  Without a doubt.  But as was the case with most great moments, they were wiped away when the corresponding Cleveland team failed in the goal to win a title.

If LeBron James wants his moment to live forever the way it should, he needs 7 more wins to do it.

Tonight, Mr. James, you can defend your moment.  Beat the Magic and continue that goal.

Re-energizing while the others wear out

Written May 13th, 2009 by Jeff

Yesterday I posted a quick blurb about the Cavaliers and their fresh legs, but I think I need to go into a little bit more detail now.

A lot has been made about the Cavs potential for being “rusty” going into the next round of the playoffs, especially since they so quickly dispatched the Atlanta Hawks.  I’m not buying it for a second.

These same people (Jon Barry, Charles Barkley, anonymous Cavs-haters online) told us that Atlanta would bite us hard in Game 1 because the Hawks had momentum, and the Cavaliers had been sitting around doing nothing for 9 days.  I thought it was a bullshit argument then, and it’s a bullshit argument now.

For starters, it’s insulting to believe that the Cavs are “doing nothing” right now.  Do you honestly think that the players are feasting on potato chips on the couch, watching Dr. Phil reruns?  No, they’re practicing, watching game film on both Orlando and Boston, and fine-tuning their game (and dammit, they’d better be shooting free throws a LOT).

But the exercise they are completing today is enough to keep the body and mind motivated, but not to exhaust it.  The same cannot be said about our next opponent, whoever it may be.

Tomorrow night, the Celtics and Magic will take the floor in Orlando for Game 6.  Both teams are battered by a consistent string of long, intense games and they’ll have at least one more to endure before the Eastern Conference Finals begins.  The Celtics, short-handed already, had to maneuver a minefield against Chicago (which included 7 overtimes), and the Magic, despite what their fans will tell you, had a rough go against Philadelphia until the Sixers realized they suck in Game 6.

This has led to a massive overage in minutes played.

Here’s the total number of minutes played by the starting fives for Orlando and Boston;

Players name Min played Age
BOSTON CELTICS
Paul Pierce 477 31
Ray Allen 483 33
Rajon Rondo 501 23
Kendrick Perkins 437 24
Glen Davis 453 23
ORLANDO MAGIC
Dwight Howard 377 23
Rashard Lewis 439 29
Rafer Alston 328 32
Hedo Turkoglu 419 30
J.J. Redick 207 24

And meanwhile, how many minutes have the Cavaliers’ logged in the playoffs?

CLEVELAND CAVS
LeBron James 314 24
Mo Williams 287 26
Delonte West 322 25
Zydrunas Ilgauskas 230 33
Anderson Varejao 246 26

The three top Celtic players will be over 500 minutes by the end of Game 6, and if Orlando somehow pulls out a series win, they’ll have their three best players with at least 400-450 minutes.

As for Pierce and Allen…..these are guys in their 30s, and they’ll have posted over 500 minutes each.  That is GOING to hurt them by the time they have to visit Cleveland.

Which leads me to my next point – mileage.  These teams have been on the road a LOT and that too wears a team out.  The Cavs have had it easy in that category too;

  • The Cavaliers began the playoffs at home, went to Detroit for Games 3 and 4, then returned home after the series.  They stayed at home for Games 1 and 2, traveled to Atlanta for Games 3 and 4, then came home after the series.
  • The Celtics started off at home, went to Chicago for Games 3 and 4, went home for Game 5, to Chicago for Game 6, then back home for Game 7.  They stayed home for Games 1 and 2, then traveled to Orlando for Games 3 and 4.  they came home for Game 5 and then went to Orlando for Game 6.
  • The Magic started off at home, then went to Philadelphia for Games 3 and 4, back to Orlando for Game 5, then on to Philly for Game 6.  They returned home after their Game 6 win.  They then traveled to Boston for Games 1 and 2, back to Orlando for 3 and 4, on to Boston for Game 5, and have come home for Game 6.

Using Google Directions for mileage stats, I came up with the following numbers

  • 167 miles from Cleveland to Detroit
  • 708 miles from Cleveland to Atlanta
  • 982 miles from Boston to Chicago
  • 1,294 miles from Boston to Orlando
  • 992 miles from Orlando to Philadelphia

Adding up the number of trips each team has had to take, here’s the total mileage that everybody has had to log;

  • Cleveland Cavaliers – 1,750 total miles
  • Boston Celtics – 7,810 total miles
  • Orlando Magic – 9,144 total miles

Those are NOT small differences.  If you’ve ever traveled long distance, you know like I do that it does not shake off easily.  These teams have put in a LOT of traveling and that too will wear on them as the playoffs expand.

Yes, it’s true that these stats might not matter in the end, because for 48 minutes players can shake off anything.  But it’s yet another example in a long laundry list that points towards the Cleveland Cavaliers becoming the 2009 Eastern Conference Champions.

The first point in that list being, of course, that the Cavs are a superior team.

Well-rested and dominating

Written May 8th, 2009 by Jeff

Heading into the second-round series with Atlanta, a lot was said about the Cavaliers’ potential for being rusty.  An 8-day layover between games was bound to hurt, and with the Hawks coming off their longer series, it was possible that momentum would carry Atlanta to a victory in Game 1 or even Game 2.

  • Game 1 – Cavs win by 27
  • Game 2 – Cavs win by 20

There goes that theory.

Rather than showing any signs of rust, the Cavaliers instead returned to their desire and thirst for victory.  Along the way, they got some much-needed rest than no other NBA team has been able to see thus far.

The Cavs dispatched Detroit in four games, and it looks like Atlanta may be headed to the same fate, with a slight chance at having to return north to be eliminated in 5 games.  Elsewhere in the Eastern Conference, Boston and Orlando both had hard-fought longer battles in the first round, and are going toe-to-toe for their second-round matchup.

This brings me to my point.  The Cavaliers are going to be VERY well rested when the tougher opponents come knocking.  In about 7-10 days, we’re going to be facing the Celtics or the Magic in the Eastern Finals.  By that time, will either team have enough left in their tanks to keep up with LeBron James and Company?

CLEVELAND

Player Min played Players age
LeBron James 187 24
Delonte West 232 25
Mo Williams 217 26
Ilgauskas 166 33
Varejao 189 26

BOSTON

Player Min played Players age
Rajon Rondo 396 23
Paul Pierce 367 31
Ray Allen 362 33
Kendrick Perkins 333 24
Glen Davis 350 23

ORLANDO

Player Min played Players age
Dwight Howard 274 23
Rafer Alston 266 32
Hedo Turkoglu 300 30
Rashard Lewis 320 29
JJ Redick 127 24
Courtney Lee 163 23

Obviously, the shooting guard position for Orlando is rested, since it changed hands four games ago with the injury to Courtney Lee.  He’s scheduled to return tonight and he’ll be well-rested.  But by the looks of this chart, he’s the ONLY player on either Orlando or Boston’s starting rosters that will be fresh for the third round.

ALL of the starting five Celtic players have played over 300 minutes this postseason….and two of those players are in their 30s.  Two Magic players are over 300 minutes thus far, and their ages are 29 and 30.

Meanwhile, you have LeBron James, the strongest player in the league and only 24 years old…and he’s played a grand total of 187 minutes.  The old man of the club, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, has played the least amount of minutes at 166.  If we get the Magic, that will be useful against a strength like Howard.  If we get Boston, we’ll use Z to pound it inside and force foul trouble on the weaker Boston interior defense.

Right now, these numbers are just that….numbers.  But if the Cavs sweep this series and Boston-Orlando goes 6 or 7 games, it will put a serious strain on our ECF opponent.  LeBron, Delonte and Mo will have the strength left to play all 48 minutes.  But there’s no way that Pierce, Allen, Alston, or Turkaglu will be able to keep up with that.  It’ll lead to tired legs in the 4th quarter, and I think you know who usually takes over in the 4th quarter.

Keep a close eye on the rest of the second-round games.  It’ll be interesting to see how much the Magic and Celtics will take out of each other on their way to Cleveland.

Finding motivation for….Atlanta???

Written May 5th, 2009 by Jeff

Tonight, the Cleveland Cavaliers will begin their second-round series of the NBA Playoffs.  All season long has been a quest, and this is the next step for the wine and gold.  I have no doubts that this team will be ready and focused as they take the series from Atlanta.

But as tipoff approaches, I’ve been noticing how hard it is to muster up some sense of rivalry for this game.  as a fan, this is a hard series to swallow.

The first round was easy for us to get fired up….it was Detroit, our mortal enemy in more than one sport.  If we get to the third round, it’s either Boston (our nemesis from last year) or Orlando (whom we battled all year for supremacy in the East), and in the Finals, it’ll probably be the Lakers, and a massive LeBron vs. Kobe war.

But Atlanta?  How the hell do we, as fans, get really fired up?  Honestly, it’s a serious dilemma.

It’s hard to hate Atlanta.  When you take a serious look at them, you begin to feel sorry for them…and that’s not good for rivalry purposes.  I’d better have a long discussion with my inner monolgue and see if I can come up with a reason to consider Atlanta a rival town.

My Inner Monologue (MIM) – “Atlanta’s had some great athletes!  Let’s hate ‘em for that!

Their best athlete ever is Michael Vick.  Vick is certainly worthy of some hatred, but once he was put behind bars, the hate tends to fade away…the system worked, just forget about him.  It’s easier to hate a criminal when he HASN’T been behind bars for his crimes…like, say Ray Lewis.

(MIM) – “Yeah!  Ray Lewis!  GRRRRRR I hate that fucker!  Is he from Atlanta?  Let’s do this!”

No, Lewis is from Florida, and played for Miami before being a a Baltimore Raven.  We can’t blame Atlanta for this black mark on the human race.

(MIM) – “OK, who else ya got in Atlanta?  Anybody else to get fired up over?”

Other great athletes from Atlanta – Hank Aaron and Dominique Wilkins.  Aaron’s never been a target of anger, except from white supremacists who didn’t want Babe Ruth’s record broken.  Knowing that just makes him more likeable.  Wilkins was never particularly productive in terms of bringing bile into the throats of anybody except Celtic fans…and that is another reason to like the guy.

(MIM) – “Ummmmmmm, baseball!  Can we hate Atlanta because of the World Series of 1995?”

No, we’ve kinda lost our distaste for the Braves, even through Chipper Jones and his massive cold sore took us down in the Fall Classic 14 years ago.  Not playing the Braves in a meaningful game since tends to destroy a budding rivalry.

(MIM) – “Yeah, Chipper Jones!  We hated him back then!  Let’s rekindle that!  Where’s that jagoff at now?  Let’s go!”

Jones plays for the Atlanta Braves still.  He’s 37 years old, has played for nobody but the Braves.

(MIM) That’s…..kinda sad.  Let’s see….Atlanta is in Georgia, home to the SEC….does that count?  We can hate on the SEC!

Sure, it counts, but when has Georgia done anything damaging to our beloved Buckeyes or the Big Ten?  If it were Florida or Louisiana, I could drag out some anger.  But Georgia?  No, guilt by association via a collegiate conference is not going to sustain a mood worthy of a rivalry.

(MIM) – “OK, I’ve got a good one.  The Republican candidate for Governor of Georgia has admitted to having sex with a mule….and he doesn’t think that will hurt him with the voters of his state!  How’s that?”

The charges on that are actually TRUE.  Neal Horsley has admitted to sex with farm animals, and claims he would kill his own son if it helps his home state of Georgia to secede from the United States.

But doesn’t that make you feel sorry for the voters of Georgia?  I mean, if they vote the guy in, then maybe we can mock them as a state…but hell, any moron can run for public office no matter how stupid he is.

(MIM) – “Hey, wet blanket!  How the hell are we supposed to get excited for this series then?”

That’s my point.  It’s like our second-round opponent two years ago when we made The Finals….New Jersey.  There was very little to that matchup, and very little to remember about it besides the series win we took.

It’s time to make a new rivarly.  One that lasts four games and gets put in the books as we move on to a REAL rival in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Game 1 is tonight.  Just win and let’s move on.

MVP LeBron James Top 5 moments, 2008-09

Written May 4th, 2009 by Jeff

Of course, this is strictly my own list, but here’s my Top 5 favorite LeBron moments of this season;

December 25, 2008 – vs. Washington

At home for Christmas Day, Cavalier fans decided to give LeBron a present of their own.  As LeBron approached the scorer’s table to launch his traditional rosin into the air, he was greeted with a surprise.  Hundreds of fans immediately surrounding him threw glitter and confetti into the air in unison with James.

James later admitted he didn’t know about the fans’ present to him.

April 12, 2009 – vs. Boston

Early in a crucial game vs. Boston, Ray Allen runs out on a fast-break against the Cavs. LeBron James trails the play, and as Allen goes up for the layup, James smashes the ball against the backboard. The Cavaliers had already led the game 16-6, and James’ incredible block sparks another major rally, as the Cavaliers flex their muscles continuously throughout the game. After James’ block, the Celtics would score only 3 more points in the quarter, as Cleveland opened up a 38-11 lead before Boston knew what hit them.

April 18, 2009 – vs. Detroit

In the opening game of the playoffs, LeBron stood tall in the first half, scoring 22 points to lead the way. But it was his final three points of the half that would have fans and players dropping their jaws in disbelief.

Detroit struggled to stay within striking range, and managed to keep the margin at 9 points (54-45) when Rip Hamilton buried a jump shot with 2 seconds left in the half. LeBron quickly raced up the left sideline and was fed the ball at the three-quarter spot of the court. He took two quick dribbles, then launched a running jumper from half-court. After the ball left his hand, James followed it down the court, where it banked off the glass and through the rim as the buzzer sounded. The arena erupted, and James stood stoic as his teammates celebrated.

Detroit never recovered from the shot, as Cleveland went on to an 18-point win a a 4-0 series destruction of the Pistons.

January 23rd – at Golden State

Playing at the Oracle Arena is never easy, even if Golden State has a bad team. This night was no exception. The Warriors and Cavaliers took turns with scoring runs, and the game stayed close throughout the evening. But Stephen Jackson wanted to make sure Golden State prevailed, as he buried his team’s final 6 points, including a 23-footer with just 6 seconds left to give his team a 105-104 lead.

Cleveland called a timeout with 4.7 seconds left and inbounded the ball on the left sideline.

You-know-who got the inbounds pass, and the rest is history;

February 20, 2009 – at Milwaukee

I’ve never seen anything like it in all my years. LeBron James felt the hot hand and he took advantage of it. He just couldn’t miss.

With 11:30 to play in the third quarter, the Cavs trailed by four points, 57-53 to the Milwaukee Bucks. Then it happened. If you were watching, you’ll never forget it.

11:26 – LeBron pulled up from 15 feet and buried a jump shot.
10:47 – LeBron brought the ball upcourt, and hits an uncontested 3 from 27 feet out.
10:22 – LeBron again brings the ball upcourt. Richard Jefferson shadows him defensively. James fakes left and dribbles right, and pulls up for a 26-footer. Nothing but net.
9:51 – Following an offensive rebound, LeBron stops his dribble on the left wing. With Jefferson in his face, he pulls up for a three-pointer from five feet behind the line, and buries it again.
9:29 – As if he was playing Playstation, James decides to try another long-range shot, this time from 30 feet out. It goes in.
9:10 – LeBron dribbles inside and is double-teamed from 18 feet away, so he pulls up for a fadeaway jumper, and sinks it again.

The reaction by Cavaliers announcers Fred McLeod and Austin Carr are priceless. McLeod’s screaming of “It is not FAIR” summed up the whole night.

What is often overlooked is that if you stretch time back into the late stages of the second quarter, James actually scored 22 points in a 3:30 minute span….he buried two treys with less than a minute left in the half.

James scored 55 points on the night, but his display of 16 points in just 2:16 was legendary. Those couple of minutes sealed his MVP award, and it sealed his place as our #1 moment of the year for LBJ.

Game number 9!

Written October 28th, 2006 by Jeff

First, a couple of quick announcements….

-No third video this week. I had to make a choice last night on what to do with my evening. I chose playing board games with my daughter (and my friend Janessa), and decided that two videos was enough for the week.

-I actually got a full night’s sleep last night…first time that’s happened on the night before a game in over a year.

-Yet another team from Michigan choked on the big game. Everyone expected the Tigers to roll over the Cardinals. Instead, they just rolled over. Just like last year’s Pistons. And the Pistons the year before that. And the Wolverines in their Bowl game in 2005. And the Wolverines in their Bowl game in 2004. And the Wolverines in their Bowl game in 2003. And the Wolverines against Ohio State in 2005. And the Wolverines against Ohio State in 2004.

By now, everybody knows what to expect in today’s Homecoming game against Minnesota. The Golden Gophers are NOT a good team, and the Buckeyes should dominate again today. I prefer to take a look deeper into teams, rather just just quote how many yards they average and leave it at that. Here’s a few facts that will leave you smiling before the Bucks take the field.

-Minnesota has three wins on the year. One is against a team ranked in the Bottom 10 (0-8 Temple). One is against a Division 1-AA school (ND State, a one-point victory). One is against Kent State.
-In Big Ten play, Minnesota has allowed 32.75 points per game.
-They are ranked #96 in the NCAA in rush defense (Ball State actually has a better run defense at #94)
-They are tied for #86 in the NCAA against the pass. They are tied with Indiana….the team that allowed Troy Smith to throw for 4 TDs in a half last week.

Our offense, provided JT has prepared them properly (I know, I know) will have no trouble at all. The Buckeyes could tag another 40 on the board if they play well.

The defense will need to buckle down. Minnesota has already played 4 of the top 5 Big Ten teams, and they have averaged over 18 points per game. Today they meet the Big Ten’s best team, and we MUST beat them by more than Michigan did.

If we can beat Minny more impressively than Michigan did, then we will have won the “battle of comparisons” over the Blue in all four games. The Blue didn’t put Iowa away until 4 minutes remained. Penn State had the ball, down by 7 with less than 2 minutes to play. And Michigan State, while the respective scores were clearly in favor of Ohio State, take a look at yardage gained….OSU/MSU, 421-198….Michigan/MSU, 351-312.

Go make it four-for-four, Buckeyes.

My prediction
Ohio State 42
Minnesota 10