Monday Morning Round-up (aka Seaward Loves Bullet Points)

Well, its ****in Monday afternoon! You should get out of bed earlier!

"Well, it's ****in' Monday afternoon! You should get out of bed earlier!"

It was a busy weekend in Cleveland and I spent almost all of it out of town and away from a computer, so let’s take just about my favorite thing in the history of blogs–BULLET POINTS!–and wheel our way around the weekend that was along America’s North Coast.

  • Ohh… the Indians. People often look for turning points in seasons when a team figures it out and goes from mediocre to contending. Friday’s game was pretty much the opposite of that, I’m willing to wager; an anti-turning point, if you will, that took a team that was starting to get it together and kicked it right in the mommy & daddy button. The bullpen is not getting better and there is seemingly no end in sight.
  • When I was still at (the infamous) SportsTalkCleveland.com, I had a lengthy discussion with Bruce Drennan on how Major League Baseball umpires were, of the big four sports, the best in-game officials. I am officially ready to retract that opinion after watching the men in blue absolutely butcher calls with and without the aid of instant replay. The call on Garko’s would-be double yesterday was an absolute farce. And don’t even get me started on Troy “Jim Thome’s Bitch” Percival not getting tossed in the ninth. Here’s my 2009 order of competence among major professional in-game officials, from best to worst: NHL > NFL > MLB > NBA — that’s right, MLB umpires are now behind the crew that once upon a time botched a coin toss. Think about that.
  • About that almost-double by Ryan Garko. Here’s my reason why I think Wedge was ultimately not thrown out of that game: the umpires said to him, “Um, even if that was a double, your next batter is David Dellucci. Do you REALLY think that runner will get to the plate with rally kryptonite on deck? The point is moot, sir.”
  • Eric Wedge should have been immediately fired, with prejudice, when Kerry Wood didn’t put a fastball in Carl Crawford’s earhole Sunday. While I will admit that it may have been nearly as good to watch Crawford stand on the back edge of the batter’s box and submit one of the most cowardly strikeouts in league history, it should’ve never gotten to that point. Wood should’ve dotted Crawford before he even stepped onto the back line of the box. Say what you want about Jagmaster General Ozzie Guillen but, if he was managing the Indians, Wood would’ve either drilled Crawford or been handed a bus ticket to Columbus. Period. Continue reading
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Ok, We’re ready.

Well, the Celtics finally made it official today, they will not be the most disappointing team in NBA history. Way to go Hawks, you gave everyone remaining in the NBA playoffs hope that “The Big Three”, “The Boston Three Party”, “The Three Bostonteers”, or “The 3 dudes who couldn’t put away a team that finished the season 8 games under five hundred and a full 29 back of you” can be beaten. That includes the team they will face next, our beloved Cleveland Cavaliers.

My overall thoughts heading into game one:

— Has there ever, in the history of the NBA, been a more pathetic coaching match up in the second round than Doc Rivers and Mike Brown? I can almost guarantee you this series, however long it lasts, will set a record for most unused timeouts by two teams in a playoff series.

— We need Wally to step up, like he did in game six against the Wizards. He doesn’t need to score 26 a night, but he needs to make the Celtics believe that he can. Remember how they so carelessly shipped you to the Bermuda triangle of basketball that is Seattle? Get mad, Wally. Get mad.

— It is beyond essential that we take one of the first two. I know this is really a John Madden point, but hear me out. I would prefer if the Cavs would win game two as opposed to game one. Why? Because the Celtics feel untouchable at that Garden of theirs. A win in game two when they immediately have to hit the road (where they have yet to win a playoff game) would get into their psyche. That would be the best situation for the Cavs, crush their cushy little home life, and then make them hit the road. Or, you know, Cavs could just take the first two, whatever.

— This is where Ben Wallace will make his money. This series. I know he hasn’t been the same player that he was in years past, but there’s no way i will believe that he isn’t capable of getting into Kevin Garnett’s head if Zaza Pachulia did.

— Finals appearances. LeBron 1, Big Three 0. That’s all I’m saying.

— And finally. Outside of Pittsburgh, there isn’t a single fan base I hate losing to more than the Massholes. They have just become intolerable in recent years. It’s been documented very well in the past few years, and I can guarantee you one thing: Cleveland fans would never… EVER… be as intolerable as Boston fans currently are, no matter how many championships we may win in the future. Please, please just give us the chance to prove to you that I’m right.

— Oh, and one final word for all of you Bostonians. Actually, make it 1,000 words:

Let’s kick the tires and light the fires. See you on Tuesday night.

Just the Box: Orlando 104, Cleveland 90

I was worried about this game when that trade went through. I was worried the Magic would have an opportunity to exploit our perimeter defense. I was right.

 Magic 104, Cleveland 90

Lebron’s line: 30 points (team high), 9 rebounds (team high), 6 assists (team high). There is no way that nine rebounds and six assists should be the team high. With a scorer like LeBron James, our guards should be able to get somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 assists between them, whoever is playing. Last night, Sasha Pavlovic, Damon Jones, and Delonte West combined for a total of seven assists. That’s just pathetic.

— Cavs actually out-rebounded the Magic, 44-40. Not bad, but when you consider that the Magic were…

— 14-32 from three point range, it doesn’t really matter. Anytime your opponent can get over 40% shooting from deep with double digit makes, you won’t win too many of those games. We knew giving up Larry Hughes would really take a bite out of our perimeter defense, and when you have guys that can shoot like Hedo Turkoglu, Rashard Lewis, and to a lesser extent Keith Bogans, they will test you. They passed the test.

Then there’s Dwight Howard. He’s an absolute man child. Guy goes for 23 points and 13 rebounds, and I’m sure Stan Van Gundy will tear into him because he only had two blocks. The Magic have been overlooked all season, partly because Howard doesn’t care if people don’t pay attention to him. Here’s the thing: he’s a top five player in the game, and is the best in the paint. The Magic have just three fewer wins than the Pistons, and have already locked up a playoff spot. I would not want to mess with them in the playoffs, hell I’d rather play Detroit, at least the Cavs know they can beat them in a seven game set.

— Why is Wally Szczerbiak only playing six minutes a night? That’s unacceptable, and just another testament that Mike Brown has no idea what hes doing. This was supposed to be a guy that can come out and shoot from anywhere in the building, but Mike Brown plays him for six minutes. There’s just an endless strain of things to complain about when the Cavs lose.

— Bottom line: when the Cavs made The Trade, all of the experts immediately started talking about if this trade means they can compete with Boston and Detroit, completely overlooking Orlando who has been there all along. Last night proves that either these new guys still haven’t gelled, or that the trade wasn’t worth making. Either way, Cavs cannot play enough games before the playoffs arrive.

Ummm… what?

Cavs beat writer Brian Windhorst is probably the best basketball beat writer in the NBA, and I think many people outside of the Cleveland area would agree with me on that. He once again is doing an amazing job at finding out the details that make this NBA season interesting. For instance, a seventeen year old fan who rushed the court when the Cavs played the Knicks to meet his Idol, Devin Brown. Just kidding, LeBron James:

A source said Anthony Erskine, 17, who ran across the floor and past several guards in a James replica jersey, is about to get even closer to his idol.

Erskine has been in touch with James’ representatives, and there are plans for him to be James’ guest Wednesday when the Cavaliers visit the New Jersey Nets. There might be a private meeting between the two.

”He had something he wanted to say to me and he got it out before they took him away,” James said. ”I respect him and his pride.”

First of all, I think the line “I respect him and his pride” was in the movie Deliverance somewhere. I respect him and his pride? What does that mean? I respect the fact that he has enough courage to burst onto the court (at MSG no less) and approach LeBron, but if more people knew that a little intestinal fortitude is all it took to meet their favorite player, it would be supreme chaos after every sporting event.

Also, he had something he wanted to say? Apparently, it was something LeBron enjoyed hearing, considering that he might be meeting with him tomorrow night in New Jersey.

My question is, where is the line? People scoff at adults that bring mitts to the ballgame, and some athletes refuse to sign autographs for adults. This kid, Erskine, apparently didn’t cross the line with LeBron, and that’s surprising. The fact that he could even get that close to James makes me nervous. Wouldn’t it be just Cleveland’s luck that some sicko New York Knick fan sneaks past the guards and attempts to injure LeBron? Especially after his earth shattering MSG performance?

I need a lot more information on this story, because right now, none of this is adding up. I’m sure Windhorst will be on top of this after the game Thursday night.

Just the Box: Cleveland 88, Portland 80

This will be a frequent column here at Sons of Nev, my take on the Cavs game that just took place on any given evening. It’s called “Just the Box” because, being that I am not in the Cleveland market, I can’t watch the game. I will also avoid watching any highlights until I post this to give a complete analysis without having watched a play. Why is this valuable? Well, sometimes it becomes difficult to notice the details of games when you watch them; the details that only the box score contains.

Cleveland 88, Portland 80

— Lebron’s line: 24 pts (team high), 10 reb (team high), 11 ast (team high). Seventh double double this year, seventeenth of his career. This guy is obviously a talent, and he still is obviously not getting much help. I know we’re going to have to wait to get all of these guys back that are injured, but it still looks like LeBron and everyone else out there.

I take that back to some degree. Joe Smith putting up 18 points and five boards. Seems like Drew Gooden could have done the same thing. The knock has always been on Gooden that he’s so inconsistent, so lets see if Smith can put up close to 20 every night, which will be hard considering he only played 26 minutes because Ben Wallace was hurt. This guy needs more minutes, especially when Z gets back, for a few reasons:

1. Z is an above average passer as a big man, problem is he hasn’t had a consistent guy on the low block to chuck the rock to, well, ever. Joe Smith could be that guy.

2. Smith can hit free throws (8-8 tonight). That matters, especially down the stretch. If you can put the lineup of Gibson, Sasha, LeBron, Smith, and Z on the floor late in the game, you sacrifice nothing, and you put five guys on the floor that can consistently (at an 80% clip) sink them from the line.

3. Regardless of Z, this guy has to be the hungriest newest member of the Cavs. Smith has the dubious honor of being on more teams than any number one overall selection in the history of the NBA. He’s been in the league 13 seasons, made it to five playoffs, never getting out of the first round. He lands on a crappy Chicago team and thinks he may never have a chance to hoist that trophy. This is his opportunity, let the guy play.

We got away with Brandon Roy not turning it up a notch. The kid only had nine points in the second half, six if you don’t count the meaningless three he hit with 0:22 left in the fourth (ok, so I look at the play-by-play too). Roy has proven this season that he can lead a team, and normally players like Roy can turn it up in the fourth quarter. Especially when players like him play LeBron, it becomes a back and forth sniper match. That never happened, but give Roy another year and it just might.

— I’m sure this has been said before, but the Blazers are going to be set in the frontcourt for years to come once Greg Oden is healthy. LaMarcus Aldridge had 25 points and 10 points tonight. If you factor in that Roy should be a 22-25 point guy next year, Oden can come in, get 10 and 10 (which shouldn’t be a tall task) and fit right in. The West is a rough road, but this team will be a force if they can stay healthy.

— Both teams missed a boadload of shots. Blazers shot 39.7% from the field, Cavs 42.9%

I’ll take the win, that’s for sure. Next game is Wednesday night at New Jersey. Great, just what Cavs fans need, LeBron hanging out with Jay-Z again, on the heels of Simmons incredibly convoluted “What If” column.

Inside the Game: Chicago 107, Cleveland 96

Being that I am currently stationed in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan I rarely get to see Cavs games unless they are nationally televised. Tonight, I was not a fan of national television.

Bulls 107, Cavs 96. Some things you may have missed, peppered with my own two cents:

— Ben Wallace and Anderson Varejao combining for 56 minutes, 6 points, 20 rebounds. Joakim Noah: 32 minutes, 13 points, 20 rebounds. That is simply unacceptable. There is no reason that anyone on the Bulls should have the same rebounding numbers and Wallace and Andy, especially Noah. These guys should also be splitting minutes, not sharing the floor.

— In the second half, the Cavs allowed the Bulls to go on unanswered scoring streaks of 17, 14, and 9 points. First of all, it must just have been the Bulls night, because they are one of the worst shooting teams in the NBA. That being said, the Cavs cannot go on droughts like this against the top-tier competition in the East, thats pretty much a given. Third of all, allowing teams to go on two unanswered scoring runs that are greater than the margin of victory– WHEN THAT MARGIN OF VICTORY IS OVER TEN. Is borderline pathetic.

— I can’t figure out Damon Jones to save my life. He hits on a gigantic four point play that Pull the Cavs within single digits at the nine minute mark in the fourth, and then doesn’t take another shot in the next three minutes, when Mike Brown pulls him out for the remainder of the game. This guy only keeps shooting when he misses, I guess in an attempt to get his numbers up, but when he makes big plays, he’s content with that being the end of his night. We can’t get rid of him soon enough.

— I don’t care how bad the Bulls are, any team that plays Aaron Gray double digit minutes should be kicked out of the Association. The Tyrus Thomas suspension is no excuse.