Saturday, May 3

Bye, Bye, Bullets

By now, you certainly know that the Cleveland Cavaliers have advanced to the second round of the playoffs, knocking out the Washington Bullets on their own home court for the third straight season. Before the game, I decided I'd head down to my local bar and keep a live diary of the game. I originally planned a combination Tribe/Cavs article, but the Weather Gods had other ideas. Nevertheless, the Cavs were plenty entertaining. Here's how it went down:

What to wear - Cavs shirt and Tribe hat, or Tribe jersey and Cavs hat? The former would have been a better choice, but Cavs shirt is in the laundry.

Bullet fans are going to the "White-Out" strategy once again, which has now been used enough that it should be called "Played-Out."

1st quarter
9:00 - Why is Wally Szczerbiak still playing? He obviously has no chance of guarding Caron Butler under any circumstances and hasn't shot the ball worth a lick since becoming a Cav. Weird that he's still a starter.

8:40 - One has to believe that Austin Carr, at home with a DiGiorno's pizza, smilingly described Z as "the best tip drill man in the league" to his wife or whoever happened to be at home as Z pokes one home.

7:43 - White-out, Gilbert Arenas, not Pink-out.

6:19 - Cavs are really doing a nice job passing the ball, something they often forget to do. The Bullets aren't doing so badly either, plus they're collecting quite a few second-chance points.

6:00 - Antawn Jamison is currently on pace for 88 points this game. Let's get a hand in this guy's face. DeShawn Stevenson's hand, if necessary.

As for booing LeBron every time he touches the ball: lame, lame, lame. This trend has gotten a bit out of hand - it should be reserved for special occasions, like Vince Carter in Toronto-type shit. This is pathetic. On the flipside, to be consistent, I thought Cavs fans were wasting their breath booing a nobody like Stevenson in previous games.

Nice montage of the Bullets' series-long thuggery. Still working out well for you fellows?

5:09 - Why did Washington get one of those 16 15 14 13.... banners courtside? they should have gotten one with only like three numbers on it.

That call against Delonte West might be the weakest technical foul in the history of officiating. You have to be kidding me. Doris Burke remarks that she was "surprised" by the suspension of Darius Songaila. "Fuck you," responds Brian, a guy I met just before the game. Well said.

3:44 - Wally's making me look bad by criticizing him before the game, knocking down three shots from long distance in the early going. On the other hand, he's still playing no defense.

Man is Stevenson ever a chucker.

2:08 - I never thought the Hawks would win two games in thier series with the Celtics. I did, however, think I would get a second Pabst tonight, which I just did.

:00 - Nice coast-to-coast job by Boobie to pull the Cavs to within four by the end of the first period.

There's a DJ here who ususally spins until 9 on Friday nights, but since this is a big game, he's been asked to keep quite while the game is on. Stubbornly, he keeps playing tracks during all commercials. "I drove all the way here with my gear, damnit, and I'm going to play some songs."

2nd Quarter
10:52 - LeBron makes those tough cross-court passes look easy. How do you even spot a teammate that far away? It's like radar.

Shouldn't there be something Wizard-like in the logo if the club is going to call themselves that?

9:00 - Two hot chicks walk into Scorcher's, apparently lost.

7:23 - I think if you hit someone in the sack hard enough, you should have a flagrant-3 technical called against you. I haven't decided the punishment for this violation just yet.

My handwriting is getting noticeably worse here.

6:23 - LeBron sure makes some weird three-pointers. He's generally a poor long-distance shooter, but makes a lot of unusually long ones, threes with the whole team guarding him, and run-stopping shots.

5:35 - Someone I just met bought me a pitcher of PBR. This is going to be a good night, regardless of the game's outcome. Also: the Cavs finally take their first lead!

1:00 - During the past few minutes, I pretty much ran out of words to describe how excellent the basketball the Cavs are playing has been, as they make a 21-2 run to command the game. Passing, shooting, handling the ball, defense - they look like an efficient machine. LeBron's 3-point play caps things off and all of a sudden Cleveland sports a 13-point lead. Now that's basketball!

:00 - Ref Steve Jaffee calls LeBron for a senseless technical to feed his ego, after which a clearly agitated LeBron gives a suprisingly measured halftime interview. 10-6-7 at half for the King - not too bad.

My notebook says "cracka'-ass cracka'" here.

3rd quarter
12:00 Nice to see the Bullets miss that cheaply-given technical free throw. Justice is served.

9:43 - I've started actively yelling "Bench Wally!", which seems to always result in Szczerbiak making a basket, kind of like when my Dad used to demand the Cavs trade Danny Ferry back in the day.

8:09 - My whole crew just showed up at Scorcher's as the Cavs continue to lead by 12. No doubt we're winning this game.

7:06 - Someone started calling Ilgauskus "Z-sus" (rhymes with a popular religious figure), something I wish I had thought of earler.

5:41 - LeBron on a fast break must just be terrifying to opposing players. Just run and hide.

3:27 - One-handed rebounds look totally boss, kind of like holding a pistol sideways when shooting it.

1:07 - With the Cavs now leading by 15, we're now looking at 13:07 of formality. Any discussion of basketball from here on out is merely window dressing.

:30 - LeBron loves to go 2-for-1 at the end of quarters, a strategy I generally endorse. I'm surprised he didn't give it a shot here.

Kinda like 3's, LeBron seems to make free throws when he really, really has to. As much as he's criticized for his foul shooting, I'd trust him to make two with the game on the line over statistically-superior shooters anytime.

:00 - 79-64. Just locking the Bullets down on defense. This series is history

4th quarter

10:06 - Bench Wally!

8:57 - Pure scribbles in my notebook here. "4-2!" "Z!" "Wench Bally!" "I'm barely awake!"

7:14 - Any chance Stevenson will apologize and retract his dumb "overrated" comments? I'm going to guess no.

3:54 - 100 points! Free chalupa!

1:43 Bench LeBron! Well, not exactly, but leading by 658 points, it's time to give the man some well-deserved rest. 27-13-13; not too shabby.

:00 - See you in the first round next year, Washington.

More fun after the game, reveling in the Cavaliers advancing to the second round for the third straight season. As an added bonus, we got to see the Hawks beat the Celtics again. How about that! The bar crowd rooted for the underdog Hawks almost as fervently as they did for the Cavs - I was into it to the extent that I spilled most of my 38th PBR of the night. Good times!

Up next: the conference semifinals await.

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