Monday, December 8

Check yourself before you wreck yourself

I was listening to the post-game radio show after the Cavs won their 8th straight game (all by 12 or more points) on Saturday night, and couldn't help but notice the overwhelmingly positive bent of the calls to the show. This is bound to happen when a team sports a 17-3 mark. Everyone was talking in effusive terms about how well the team is playing, how great the chemistry is, and unflinchingly talking of championship dreams at the quarter pole.

Well, not me. I'm furious at the Cavaliers. Why? Because their games are super-boring, that's why. They start off basically every game up 11-2, take a 12-point lead by the end of the first quarter, go up 20 by half, 25 by the end of the 3rd, and populate the entire 4th quarter with dudes you've never heard of. Where's the entertainment value in that? Where's the drama? So, instead of mindlessly praising the Cavaliers for the best start in franchise history and their absurd +13.3 point differential, I'm here to give the Cavaliers each individually a stern talking to, so that they can straighten themselves out and so that I can actually watch an entire game.

LeBron James
Let's start at the top, shall we? Look at you, LeBron, you're having a weak year - per-game scoring is down from last year by 3.5, assists down 0.7, rebounds down 0.8...gee, could it be because you never play in the 4th quarter? You do know these games are 48 minutes long, right? For someone who used to call himself "Mr. 4th Quarter," you sure do a lot of lounging around with a towel on your head during crunch time. I want the leader of this team to be, you know, playing basketball when it counts, rather than joking around with the rest of the starting five and watching Tarence Kinsey and co. mop up another blowout. Step it up, man.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas
Sure, big Z, I'm sure you're very proud of being second among all NBA centers in efficiency rating (11th among all players) and being the best-shooting big man around, but that's not championship stuff, nor is the odd fact that you can somehow shoot 3's now. You suffer from the classic European focus on production and numbers instead of intangibles like "grit" that sportswriters like to harp on. If you were tougher, maybe you'd be the Cavs' all-time leading rebounder instead of merely 2nd, trailing by 4. Here's the main point: no matter how effective you've been this year, and trust me, you've been outstanding, you look kind of awkward at times, and that counts for a lot in the eyes of people who don't understand basketball.

Mo Williams
Everybody likes a winner, Mo, and your arrival has coincided with the Cavs winning a lot of basketball games, so you're naturally getting quite a bit of credit. But seriously, stop trying to be good at ball-handling, passing, and scoring - back in my day, we had different people to do each of those things, and we liked it that way.

Ben Wallace
Defensive intensity. Huh. If you can't make yourself any more menacing than this, you're going to have to settle for merely first-team all-NBA defense instead of Defensive Player of the Year. And as we all know, DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS, completely independent of the other components of basketball.

Delonte West
Yeah, we know you're shooting .485 from the field, .435 from three, and .800 from the line, but you're only 6'3"! Everyone knows that's too small for a shooting guard.

Daniel Gibson
Same thing I said for Delonte, only with both lower shooting numbers and height.

Anderson Varejao
Fourth-wall-breaking digression: even in a totally tongue-in-cheek piece like this, I can't find anything to give Varejao grief about. He's just been awesome this year. Did you see him knock down six straight mid-range jumpers the other night? Are you kidding me?

Eric Snow
OUT (Left Knee)

Wally Szczerbiak
Wally, Wally, Wally...perhaps you aren't aware of your expiring contract and how eminently tradeable that makes you? If you don't stop playing so well within the team dynamic and knocking down your shots, you're going to force us to make a decision about whether you're a valuable piece of the team instead of simply a trade chip. Why complicate things?

JJ Hickson
Hey, rookie! I see you have some defensive tenacity, great athleticism, and burgeoning offensive skills. But who needs that? Seriously, if there's one truism in professional basketball, it is this: quality big men are exceptionally easy to find, particularly late in drafts.

Tarence Kinsey, Darnell Jackson, Sasha Pavlovic, and Lorenzen Wright
You gentlemen are certainly playing a lot more than you expected, eh? Bet you thought the '08-09 Cavs would be a nice vacation and a steady paycheck for you - show up, practice against the stars, and enjoy the ride. Think again, muchachos. You're going to end up logging more minutes than LeBron and company if this sort of basketball keeps up.

Fans, I criticize because I care. I'm concerned about this 17-3, First-Place Cavalier basketball team, and I think the players need to be reminded about their performance. This season has been highly disappointing from the standpoint of close games and dynamic finishes, instead focusing almost entirely on stockpiling easy victories and keeping key players fresh for a long playoff run. What's the fun in that? :)


Shaver Sports said...

That was funny...way to take up for all of the negative Cavs fans that can't call into the radio these days...I especially like the Daniel Gibson/Delonte West quarterly review.

Anonymous said...

i'm still waiting for brandon phillips to enter into this discussion somewhere down the road. oh wait, wrong sport. hee-hee!!!

Ernest said...

To provide more 4th quarter entertainment for all those blowouts, maybe Coach Brown should start imposing wacky lineups and weird restrictions. How about Z at point, Gibson down low at center; restrict Wallace to only three-pointers; make Lebron play with oven mits; force everyone to shoot granny shots at the foul line. Hilarious!