As we arrived in Columbus, the anticipation for kickoff was almost unbearable and we were a mere five hours away. It’s become a yearly ritual that a group of us attend the Ohio State/Wisconsin game every year and we were all giddy with excitement to reunite once again for this rivalry.
After a little tailgating and shopping, we made our way over to the skull session but watched from the entrance where the band and the team would enter in St John’s arena. I met the mom of a bass drummer who was participating in his first ramp entrance that evening. It’s stories like this that adds to the mystique of going to games in Columbus. As Urban Meyer and daughter Nikki entered through the old doors of the aging arena, a tall dark figure appeared behind them and it clicked, it was none other than two-time NBA champion LeBron James. After everyone filed in, I heard the King was greeted by a good mixture of boos and cheers as he gave the annual speech to the Buckeye faithful.
Welcome to Monday Musings, glad that you decided to stop in. Grab your beverage of choice and let’s get to this. If it’s early enough in the day, coffee will suffice. If the sun is over the yardarm, I’ll trust you can handle it from there.
This week’s photo pays homage to Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” references from last week. We’re often multi-dimensional here, even if it’s by accident.
I have a couple of items regarding the James/Wexner this week. The first one is an update on the new facility construction, with a good interview with Dr. David Schuller. The feature was prepared by Channel 4. Th folks doing the segment are justifiably proud of the investment in Ohio State, the medical community and the Columbus area. We all should be.
The next items is a heads up about an upcoming fundraiser in the Columbus area, “Steps for Sarcoma”, a 5K/1 mile event. This is the 4th year for the event, and through the 1st three years, $66,000 has been raised for research, $37,000 last year alone.
Proceeds from this event will benefit the Orthopaedic Sarcoma Research at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. Sarcomas represent a family of rare cancers that originate in the connective tissues, which includes fat, muscle, bone, cartilage, nerve, fibrous tissue, and blood vessels.
As you can see, sarcoma is one of the nastier cancers around. And, as you can see by the fundraising momentum, the Columbus community has been stepping up and Paying It Forward. Well done, folks, thank you.
Things were kind of ‘doldrum-ish’ while we bided our time until game week. So, I’m sure influenced by some good basketball news from the women’s and men’s OSU programs, and some offbeat Twitter notification (see, I warned you guys about social media, but nooo), our staff at tBBC, or some of us, got into a lively and spirited email exchange about LeBron James; his time with the Cavs, the circumstances around his departure, the Miami Heat, etc., etc. Read More
Some weekend, eh? Grab your coffee and let’s get right to it.
A week that started out fairly well, then crashed and burned. In the NCAA’s, they’ve managed to dust Iowa State 78-75, Arizona 73-70 and then fell flat against Wichita State 66-70. I don’t have much to add to the fine recaps, above, however you can bet that after some musing on my part, I’ll have something to say next week. It seemed that Thad was pushing the right buttons and the team responded in the first two games. On Saturday, things were pretty disjointed. I’d hoped the 2nd half effort against Arizona would carry into the WSU game, but alas, no. Although the offense gott significant points from
senior junior DeShaun Thomas and LQR, that was it, unfortunately.
I hate to do this, but let’s start with a definition: to dislike intensely or passionately; feel extreme aversion for or extreme hostility toward; detest: to hate the enemy. Read More
Hypothetical scenario: Jim Tressel’s contract with Ohio State is set to expire, and he elects not to sign an extension. Rather, he decides to “test the waters” and look at other opportunities on the college football landscape. After rampant speculation about his leanings, Tressel finally calls a press conference (obviously televised on ESPN) to inform the public that he has decided to take his coaching prowess to that state up north, which he feels will be a better fit for him as he continues his coaching career.
While the above-outlined scenario is a poor parallel to the Lebron James fiasco, not to mention utterly absurd, it is the only parallel that comes to mind as a Columbus resident, where Ohio State football is our featured sport, and an Ohio State fan, where Tressel is our most beloved figure. Being outside the immediate Cleveland area and only a casual observer of Cavs basketball, assessment of the James situation can be done without the emotional involvement, and a number of questions arise related to the furor he has caused.
While I understand and subscribe to the idea that an individual has the right to choose where they work, it seems that Cavs fans also understand this angle. The fact that James chose to play in another city is not the issue. Rather, it is the manner in which he communicated his decision that is irksome to so many. However, are there underlying factors at play here that make it so un-palatable?
First, was James’ conduct in Cleveland already questionable, making the announcement the proverbial “cherry on top?” Probably not. One can easily find a variety of links about his work in the community which, while not uncommon among professional athletes, does represent some consciousness of important issues outside of sports. Furthermore, the primary “scandals” that come to mind related to James are his acknowledgment that he was not well informed about the situation in Darfur and his directive to confiscate video of himself being dunked on at one of his basketball camps. Contrast this with any number of stories about professional athletes being in trouble with the law, and the criticisms of James may take on a bit of perspective.
Second, does the fact that James chose Miami make it worse? Again, the manner of communication rather than the decision to relocate is the key issue, but would the press conference (well, make that awkwardly staged-interview) have seemed more legitimate somehow if James had said “I’m going to New York” instead of “I’m taking my game to South Beach?” The NBA greats are now coming out to criticize James’ decision, and perhaps it is especially bothersome to Cavs fans that all the hype only led up to an announcement that James would be going to sunny Miami to hang with his friends. Maybe the words “New York City” would have made the announcement seem more appropriate by creating an impression that James wasn’t in it just for fun, but rather was using a big stage as a prelude to playing on the biggest stage in the foremost of sports cities.
To come full circle, another hypothetical scenario for consideration: It’s 2010, James and the Cavs have emerged victorious from a hard-fought NBA Championship series against the Los Angeles Lakers, bringing Cleveland its first NBA title. Several weeks later, after a ridiculous amount of hype, James announces his decision to leave Cleveland for Miami on a one-hour ESPN special titled “The Decision.” Given the different outcome in the playoffs, does this make things different? Is the rage replaced with gratitude? If Dwyane Wade was the athlete in question – same hype, same show, but Wade is coming to Cleveland to play with James – does Miami have the same reaction considering that Wade won a championship in Miami? Probably not. Then again, Miami is a different animal than Cleveland.
The point is this: From a non-Cavs fan perspective, it seems that much of the angst is tied to a mindset of “James was our ticket.” But is this mindset valid? Popular belief gaining steam now is that James might not be the ticket, for Cleveland or any city. He’s not the Jordan-esque player who refuses to be denied in his relentless pursuit of winning. So if the perspective that James screwed Cleveland is contingent upon a belief that he was the guarantee of an eventual championship, then the perspective loses credibility.
Assuming that a one-hour ESPN special titled “The Apology” isn’t in the works, James will surely be booed vehemently upon his return to Quicken Loans Arena. But Cavs fans may do well to boo softly, because otherwise James may turn into the professional basketball assassin of legend, stopping at nothing to prove those wrong who said he didn’t care about winning. Rather than steeling James’ resolve, Cavs fans must steel their own. Because that creates the potential for the most interesting scenario of all: James’ decision to leave Cleveland fueling a united, determined Cavs team to the championship, making James the one who brought a title to Cleveland afterall. Just in a way nobody expected.
Quick summary – LeBron James has had an aggravating elbow injury for some time now, and because he eased up on it and carried it gingerly at the end of the game last night, it’s become a major story.
However, breathe easy Cavalier fans. The elbow is just fine. It told me so;
Whoever created this Twitter account did so shortly after Midnight last night, and has been growing followers hand-over-fist since then. Pure brilliance.
Back when this site was on the SBNation network, we made a concerted effort to stick to all things Buckeyes, and not write about other teams, college or pro. The network had blogs from just about every team/sport out there, so we thought that writing about topics that weren’t related to Ohio State would be the equivalent of stepping on someone else’s turf.
Three things have happened since we agreed to that stance.
1) We’re not on the network anymore.
2) It’s spring, and there’s less OSU topics to cover daily.
3) I have an exclusive contract with Fox Sports Ohio and can’t discuss Buckeye football here, and I wanna write, dammit.
So I hereby change that policy. The BBC is a Buckeye-centered blog, but we’ll discuss whatever the hell we want from now on. When the Buckeye news hits, we’ll be all over it….but we’re going to expand the horizons a bit, too.
With that, comes discussion of the Cleveland Cavaliers (yay).
Tonight, the Cavs take on Atlanta is a virtually meaningless game. Cleveland has secured the #1 seed, and there is nothing left to gain. Same thing goes for the Hawks and their #3 slot being solid. This is the time for the main superstars to get some rest and prepare for Game 1 of the first round.
So, even though Shaquille O’Neal is activated and ready to play again, we won’t see him tonight. Same thing for LeBron James. I’m willing to bet that the rest of the starters get about 20 minutes in before they hit the bench.
The only genuine interest in the NBA tonight comes from two other teams. If Chicago wins tonight at Charlotte, the Bulls get the 8th seed and will be our first-round playoff opponent. If Chicago loses, and the Toronto Raptors win at home against the Knicks, we’ll play Toronto in the first round.
If both Chicago and Toronto lose, we get the Bulls.
The playoffs begin Saturday, but we’ll see when our first game is sometime tomorrow. If it’s against Chicago, expect a Sunday 1pm or 330pm tipoff. More potential viewers will give us the prime Sunday time slot.
Frankly, I want the Bulls. The perfect playoff run is being setup for us, and I want it.
Round 1 – Chicago. Revenge for all those Michael Jordan nightmares
Round 2 – Boston. They’re the 4th seed and in line to face us in the Conference Semifinals. Revenge for two years ago.
Round 3 – Orlando. Do I need to explain the revenge factor?
The Finals – L.A. Lakers. Let’s settle this once and for all.
The Finals – San Antonio. Revenge for 2007.
Either way, this weekend begins the quest for what Clevelanders deserve. A championship.
While you’re waiting….here’s a present for Cavalier fans everywhere. Rasheed Wallace scored on his own basket last night with nobody around him. Savor it. Nom nom nom.
10:16pm – Winding it down. Stretches of success, stretches of failure. This was a playoff game without the playoff atmosphere.
10:12pm – Cavs going to lose their opening game for the second year in a row to Boston, have lost 5 of the 7 openers in LeBron James era. Have lost at least two of their first three games in 5 of last 6 years.
10:11pm – Son of a bitch, Parker. Catch the ball.
10:09pm – I’m not sure how Pierce gets away with shoving Mo Williams to the floor, but he just did. Cavs down 6 with 1 minute left.
10:07pm – Two minutes left, pulls within 4 points!
10:06pm – Pierce gets his fifth foul trying to murder LeBron.
10:05pm – As it looks right now, the supporting cast is not pulling their weight. Anthony Parker is 3-for-9 from the field. Still have a shot
10:03pm – Uh, ohhhh, Shaq’s first FTs of his Cavalier career. Clank, clank.
10:00pm – Yes, LeBron palmed that ball. But if you’re going to call that, then you’ve GOT to call three steps on Pierce and Allen.
9:58pm – It’s LeBron time! 3-pointer brings us to within four!
9:55pm – Sweet Jesus, I hate Paul Pierce
9:54pm – Chances to get closer being wasted. We need one more burst to win this. 6 minutes remain in a five-point game.
9:52pm – Z hits two FTs, within 5 now!
9:47pm – Crowd very quiet, almost waiting for a reason to get excited.
9:42pm – Z finally scores a FG, but the defense overall is lagging again. Fresh Shaq and LeBron on the floor for the stretch.
9:38pm – It’s only three-quarters of one game, but Zydrunas is officially the Derek Anderson of the Cavaliers. Can’t pass, refuses to score, looks scared with the ball.
9:34pm – The difference in the past 6 minutes has been defense. Boston was shooting 57%, now down to 48%. Boston has missed 8 of their last 10 shots and only has three FGs in the last 9 minutes of play.
9:33pm – Cavs turn a 15-point deficit into a 7-point one in half a quarter. Looking better….here comes the 4th!
9:29pm – LeBron’s first “and-one” brings us to within 9… but not 8.
9:27pm – Watching Ilgauskas exclusively, and it’s very very ugly. He has no speed to return to his player when he jumps off the screen.
9:25pm – LeBron takes over again! Blocks another layup and then buries a three! DEEP at the Q!
9:24pm – Mo Williams has arisen
9:23pm – Z refuses to jump and doesnt get the rebound because of it
9:20pm – Oh, shit here comes Z
9:18 pm- Replays at The Q show Allen took three steps to the hoop and got the foul call for him.
9:14pm – Back to within ten points. The defense has stepped up again and forced three turnovers by Boston in four possessions. 5-0 run brings them to within 62-52.
9:12pm – Shaq’s first dunk as a Cav
9:10pm – Shaq is not working to the rim anymore. He’s getting the ball and shooting too quickly. Kendrick Perkins has only one foul, because he’s not being forced to foul.
9:07pm – Celtics on a run of 54-26. No excuse for that at all.
9:06pm – Boston shooting 57 percent from the field.
9:05pm – Now its getting embarrassing. No defense whatsoever. When a guy like Rajon freaking Rondo can get to the rim with his head intact, it’s ridiculous.
9:04pm – Mo Williams trying to do too much, ends up turning it over. The rhythm is gone for now.
9:03pm – Garnett tastes floorboard, crowd loves it.
9:01pm – Third quarter about to begin, usually our worst period. Maybe we transferred that to the second quarter for this game? One can only hope, as we were outscored by 13 in the 2nd.
8:55pm – Only two players shooting over 50% for Cleveland – Shaq and LeBron.
8:46pm – LeBron with 14 points, no other Cav in double digits (earlier report of Shaq with 10 was wrong). Mo Williams struggling with his shot, but his defense has been good. We’re allowing over 51% shooting from Boston, and 78% from 3-point land. Adjustments need to be made, and fast.
8:40pm – Officiating crew, in an attempt to be correct, have failed. They called a conference, then called a foul on Moon (before the travel was called), but failed to recognize that if the foul is called, it’s not a shooting situation. Pierce gets two free points. Cavs failing down the stretch and have a horrible second quarter, down by six at the half.
8:29pm – Now it’s looking like the playoff game all the pundits said it would. Shaq has ten points, LeBron with 13. Celtics hitting 3s at a 75% clip, keeping them in the game. Tied at 44, 2 minutes left in the half.
8:25pm – Regarding Jamario Moon – Never mind.
8:20pm – Boston decided not to run away from the early deficit. The Cavs are not in sync at the moment, and a couple of ill-advised shots haven’t fallen. Meanwhile, the typical “close my eyes, throw it in the air, and bitch at the ref” strategy by Pierce is working for him.
8:18pm – Now it’s a game again. Tied at 34, but the starters are all back on the floor.
8:14pm – Yes, Varejao has a better FT % than Ray Allen
8:09pm – Jamario Moon can’t hold onto the ball inside, and shoots like Wally Szczerbiak outside. The bad Wally Szczerbiak. Cavs lead about to disappear. Get Z and Moon on the bench and get the flow back on the floor.
8:07pm – Ilgauskas is a liability again
8:00pm – Cavs lead at the end of the first quarter by only 7 points. Celtics made a run against second-teamers mostly. Not impressed with Ilgauskas or Jamario Moon yet. One key factor is that LeBron doesn’t HAVE to take over a game anymore. Multiple players to help out with the offense, potentially. However, the Celtics are back in the game and the early burst has ended. The 14-point lead is cut in half.
7:52pm – When are players going to learn that if LeBron is within twenty feet of a layup, you’re not going to score? Even Boobie Gibson is looking sharp. Cavs keeping a double-digit lead on a surging Boston team.
7:48pm – Celtics on a little run, Shaq looking AWESOME.
7:38pm – Cavaliers have a flow, momentum, they look relaxed and calm. Celtics can’t find a rhythm and looked pissed. Pierce hasn’t even tried a shot yet and the Cavs are dominating. 13-2 good guys already!
7:33pm – Here we go!!
7:25pm – I’m thinking the fans are going to let out a LOT of frustration from months of suffering over the Indians/Browns. The Cavs will be the recpients of a warm, overdue reception tonight, ALL night.
7:10pm – Glen “Big Baby” Davis not playing (for a long time). Surgery today on a broken thumb, then discussion of being suspended by the Celtics for misconduct. Davis wasn’t a main cog, but he was a big part of the backup that got Boston through their injury stage last year. It will hurt having him out.
Quicken Loans Arena filled up in a hurry tonight and the fans are LOUD already. Updates throughout the night….