After I’ve made some previous profanity-laced blog posts on old blog projects coming off enfuriating Cleveland playoff losses, I’ve pledged since the 2007 ALCS to never again write while angry. And I won’t. I am writing this sentence at 11:31 PM EDT, and walking away. I’ll let you know when I come back.
11:51 PM. It’s been 20 minutes and–shock!–the sting hasn’t even begun to wear off. As anyone who knows me will attest, I take losses harder than most other Cleveland fans.
Let’s take that a step farther: I am a terrible loser.
You could say that I am in the 98th percentile for being an absolute piece of crap when one of my teams loses in the playoffs. ’96 ALDS? Blind rage. ’97 World Series? Inconsolable. ’03 Wild Card weekend? Get the hell away from me. ’07 BCS Title Game? Seething. The aforementioned ’07 ALCS? Dead to the world for days.
Yet… somehow… this feels worse. Off the charts worse. I am absolutely miserable to be around right now. Let’s talk about it. If we can.I don’t even know where to start. I don’t… I can’t… I just… AUGH. Everything that was right with the world in the first half went bizarro in the second half. The offense was stagnant. The three-point defense disintegrated. Orlando was able to get out on the break. I swear to God, I think I saw the 2006 Cavaliers out there over the last 24 minutes.
Dare I say that Mo Williams’ half court shot was the worst possible thing that could’ve happened heading into halftime? I view it as entirely possible that the dunk by that Polish guy who’s name is absolutely not worth remembering could’ve ignited the Cavs’ defense in the second half, but instead everyone spent recess falling over from slapping eachother on the back after Mo drained the heave. Just throwing it out there.
The Cavs offense in the second half, though, was dreadful; absolutely without redeeming value. Players badly missing wide-open looks, heaving up god-awful jump shots with over 16 seconds left on the shot clock, infinite LeBron/ball-watching. I’ll say it again: it looked like 2006 all over again out there.
And the offense wasn’t the only thing the Cavs had in ’06 mode Wednesday… Mike Brown was up to his old tricks in Game One, too. I’m sorry, but just because you’ve rested LeBron to start the fourth quarter in every game all year long doesn’t give you the license to do it in THE MOST IMPORTANT GAME OF THE YEAR. Not in a four-point game. Not with the only real obstacle to James’ scoring spree chained to the Orlando bench with four fouls. But he of the Milk Dud noggin did just that anyway, and what results did that rest yield? Why, a 5-0 Orlando run to open the fourth quarter in what turned out to be a one-point loss, thankyouverymuch.
What are you saving him for, Mike? Next year? Because if you pull crap like that again on Friday if it’s close after three, that is precisely what your next concern will be: next year.
Now the other side of that argument was that LeBron was gassed at the end of the game, but I honestly don’t think it comes to that if LeBron is running the offense to start the fourth instead of… whatever you want to call that disaster of a lineup Brown sent out there to open the fourth. If the Cavs had staved off that third-into-the-fourth quarter charge by Orlando and kept the lead I think Cleveland cruises through the fourth. I really do.
So instead of what looked like a laughably easy Game One win, we as Cavs fans have to take an honest look in the mirror and wonder: where do we go from here?
Personally, I don’t know. Tonight’s game was an absolute worst-case scenario, in my mind. I am hitting the freaking panic button with a sledgehammer. A game that the Cavs had complete control of slipped away at home and the single most important thing the Cavs had earned in the regular season–home court advantage–evaporated over the course of 24 mortifyingly bad minutes of basketball.
Where do we go from here? I can’t say, but the Cavaliers now have 44 hours to figure it out or this dream season will turn into yet another chapter of Cleveland playoff heartbreak.
I don’t know if I can take this anymore.