Wednesday, November 12, 2008


The Cavaliers are winning. That's the bottom line. Yet I hear a lot of complaining around the web about how they are doing it. No matter how aesthetically pleasing it may or may not be, they are WINNING. 6-2 now, first in the Central, 4-0 at home, and 4-0 in their own division. What more do you want? They extended their current WINNING streak to five last night with a 99-93 win (highlights here) over the Bucks at the Q.

The Cavs are beating the teams they are supposed to beat. And I honestly think sometimes they get bored during these games they are supposed to win. You could see it in both Chicago wins, the win over Indy, and again last night against Milwaukee. Build a big lead in the first quarter, slowly let the other team creep back into it, keep it close until the fourth quarter, then apply smothering defense and timely offensive execution for the win. That and a heaping dose of LeBron dominating offensively. It's been the Cavs' formula for success for years now and even with the increased talent on the roster, I wouldn't expect Mike Brown to put the reigns on the King. Of course we would all love the Cavs to run their offense to perfection, with everyone moving around creating easy opportunities. We've seen flashes of that early this season but then some were complaining that LeBron wasn't scoring enough. So he puts up three games of 40+ points in the past week and now it's time to criticize the Cavs for their 'LeIso' offense? As long as they keep winning I'm fine with whatever the formula entails. It certainly beats the alternative...

One thing that bugged me about last night's game had nothing to do with the Cavaliers. Why does FSN always go to their court-level baseline camera shot on breakaway dunks? If someone can give me a logical answer then I'll never complain about it again. Last night LeBron stole the ball late in the fourth quarter. It looked like any one of three Bucks could converge on him and foul him before he had a chance for a breakaway dunk to ignite the crowd. But LeBron turned on the burners and flew past everyone for a wide open dunk that looked pretty normal, at least by his standards, from FSN's shitty baseline camera angle (which can be seen in the highlight link above, around the 1:40 mark). It wasn't until the postgame highlights that I realized just how amazing the dunk really was. LBJ took off from literally one step inside the foul line and threw it down with ease. Just ridiculous.

I hate you FSN baseline cam

And I wanted to clear another thing up while I'm on the Cavs. I'm not sure how many 'not-so-knowledgable' fans there are out there, but I have a feeling there are many. I overheard a conversation in the locker room of my gym yesterday and it really dismayed me. I'm paraphrasing the gist of it:

Guy 1: How about those Cavs? They're looking good!
Guy 2: Yeah they are playing well. Fun to watch.
Guy 1: They might have the best shot of any Cleveland team to win a title in a long time.
Guy 2: They better get one either this year or next year. You know LeBron will probably leave.
Guy 1: Yeah, someone out there will probably give him as much money as he wants. No way we can compete with that.
Guy 2: Yep, you know the Knicks will probably offer him like $40M/year. It would be worth it for them just to draw the fans!

Now it took everything in my power to not jump into that conversation and right the many wrongs I was hearing, but I didn't want to be that know-it-all guy that eavesdrops on other people's business. So I didn't say a word but I made a mental note to refer to it here this morning.

This is not Major League Baseball (a.k.a. the only professional sport with no salary cap and spiraling contracts that increase based on market size). This is the NBA where there are such things as hard salary caps and max contracts. You can read all about them in the league's collective bargaining agreement. I prefer to go here when I really have a question about something regarding NBA contracts. Bottom line - the Cavs can offer one more guaranteed year at around $20M more than any other team. So when the Cavaliers offer LeBron the max contract in June of 2010 it will be for one more year and millions more than any other team can offer. Please stop panicking about him leaving. Enjoy him for the next two years. And rest easy knowing Cleveland (yes Cleveland!) can give LeBron more than any other city. OK, I'm done talking about this. At least until the next silly conversation I overhear on this topic...

Other Cavs Notes: We have officially begun flirting with the NBA's newest free agent Antonio McDyess. I still think it's a longshot that he leaves the Pistons, but if we can start building a lead on them I guess anything is possible... The Cavs' bench is making its mark. I'm loving the newfound enthusiasm... And LeBron knows that winning games against division foes is important.

Tribe Note: It's with great sadness that I'm referencing the passing of Herb Score today. Growing up in Cleveland, Herb's voice always reminded me of the care-free summer days and nights of my childhood. We should have won Game 7 against the Marlins in the 1997 World Series, which also happened to be his last game broadcasting for the team he loved. R.I.P. Mr. Score.