Wednesday, March 18, 2009

No St. Patty's Day hangover...

What a night last night for the Cavaliers... I should have known it was special when I made my way towards the Q through the mass of drunken "Irish" Clevelanders amid the balmy 70-degree mid-March weather. It almost felt like playoff time even before entering the doors to the Q. And inside it really felt like the playoffs as the Cavs beat the Magic in a 97-93 thriller (highlights). Much will be made of two calls that seem to have benefited the Cavs down the stretch. The first was a 3-second call on Dwight Howard with 30 seconds remaining. But what will be conveniently left out is the fact that the Magic did miss a three-pointer on the play and the ball was rebounded by the Cavs... and Howard was camped out in the lane pretty much the entire evening.

LBJ and the Cavs came up huge on St. Patty's Day

The second call was with 8 seconds remaining when LeBron got himself "a bird" (for all us A.C. lovers) when Courtney Lee bit on his pump fake and LBJ then jumped into him. Again, it's a big call late in the game but it was a foul. LeBron calmly sank both free throws, even encouraging the raucous crowd to ramp up their "MVP, MVP, MVP!" chants, to which we gladly obliged. It was a signature win for the Cavs and a signature game (again) for LeBron with his 43/12/8 stat line. Mo also chipped in 21, including a huge 3 with 2:00 minutes remaining in the 4th. And I thought Z and Delonte provided some excellent work on the defensive end as the Magic were held to 93 points. Of course there are still some things that need to be cleaned up, but even without Big Ben there still have been major improvements on D since the guys returned home from their West coast trip.

So with their 6th straight win the Cavs move to 30-1 at the Q and 54-13 overall. And to make things even better the Celtics and Lakers decided to do us a huge favor by both losing (the Lakers did so in dramatic fashion). It was a great night all around, with the Cavs now proud owners of the NBA's best record by a full game with just 15 games left on the schedule. They also hold a 5-game lead in the loss column over both Boston and Orlando and their magic number to clinch the coveted #1 seed in the East is down to 11... but really it is smaller than that with Boston playing Orlando once more and the Cavs still with another game against each of them. It will be impossible for both Orlando and Boston to win out with their remaining schedules. But first things first, the Cavs continue their home stand tomorrow night with the young Portland Trailblazers paying a visit to the Q. Go Cavs.

With just 15 games left, I like how the overall picture looks...