Last night, I was driving back from Columbus while the Cavaliers were getting manhandled by the Bobcats. I was picking up my daughter Charlotte for the weekend, so I got to hear the carnage through the voice of Joe Tait. (Incidentally, I kept ordering my daughter to stop scoring and let the Cavs win. She just rolled her eyes)
While the frustration mounted and Antawn Jamison kept missing shots, I'd change over to the CD player or XM Radio, only to find myself back with Joe Tait just a moment later. I couldn't pry myself away long enough, because I just KNEW that it was going to get better "any second now" and we'd be on to victory! That second never came, and we fell to Charlotte by double-digits.
This morning I arose and began checking the internets, looking for reaction.With one glaring exception, Fear The Sword readers seem to have their heads on straight still. You seem to realize the same thing I realized....it's one game, it happens, we weren't going to finish the regular season on a 40-game win streak, yada, yada, yada. That attitude wasn't so prevalent in the other sites I explored.
Being Cleveland sports fans, we're conditioned to expect disaster at the last minute. We've been so close so many times, only to have our championship visions crushed by the harsh light of reality.
- Red Right 88
- David Justice's home run in 1995
- "The Shot"
- John Elway's 98-yard drive
- Jim Chones' broken foot
- Earnest Byner's fumble
- Jose Mesa's 9th inning at Florida
- Orlando's 3-point shooting display
Who can truly blame us for turning into panic-stricken children when the good times take a detour? Haven't we been through enough misery already?
Being a fellow northeast-Ohioan, I too am prepared for the sky to fall at the worst possible moment. But trust me, Cavs fans....this is not the moment you should be overreacting to. The last 48 hours have been hard on the loss column and they've been tough to watch. But let's keep things in perspective here.
1) The Denver Nuggets are one of the top three teams in the NBA. We played them short-handed when we traded Zydrunas Ilgauskas away and we were unable to put his replacement, Antawn Jamison, in uniform. We also played somewhat injured, as Mo Williams was playing his first game in a month and wasn't at 100 percent. And it showed in the first quarter and a half, as we fell behind by 15 quick points, before playing the type of basketball we know we're capable of.
In the end, we got beat by a damn good team. And that's OK. We will respond properly, and hopefully we get to see those Nuggets again in the NBA Finals.
2) The Charlotte Bobcats aren't a great team, but they are a playoff team. Unfortunately, they seem to know how to beat us, taking the season series from the Cavaliers 3 games to 1. Every year there's one team from the middle of the pack that we just can't seem to conquer. It doesn't mean we should freak out though.
In the 2005-2006 season, the Cavs went 1-3 against the Washington Wizards, then drew that same team for the first round of the playoffs. We knocked off the Wizards 4-2 in the first round of LeBron James' first trip to the postseason. Regular season domination means a lot, but it doesn't necessarily mean it's guaranteed to continue in April, May or June.
3) Antawn Jamison went 0-for-12 and looked out of sync all night. Airballs, blocked shots, and an aura of embarrassment followed him all game long. But let's keep in mind that he will never have a worse game as long as he's a Cavalier. It can only get better, and it will get better.
Jamison knows as much about our playbook as I know about open-heart surgery. He had a mini-cram session and we thrust him into action before we should have. The experience will serve him well, and he'll be better prepared for Orlando tomorrow as a result. But we surely cannot claim that he's a terrible player based on 26 minutes of action. Blame the loss on him if you must (he did have a negative-17 in the +/- category and we did lose by 17 points), but do not go using that first-night jitter-saturated performance as a prognosticator of things to come.
And, no, we can't return him to Washington. But we can get a 14-million-dollar credit in the Wizards' team shop if you're that dissatisfied with your purchase.
4) Finally, the free throw shooting has been horrific, but you must accept that bad games will happen. No, you don't have to smile and get all Stepfordy about it, but you should also refuse to go the other way and claim that's it's the end of the road for this team. We'll have nights when we hit 95 percent from the line, and there's nights when we'll hit 55 percent from the line. It still averages out to 75 percent.
So take a deep breath. Relax. We still have several weeks of preparation for the playoffs to go, and the last time I checked, we were still the best team in the NBA.
Things that DID happen in the past 48 hours;
- The Cleveland Cavaliers lost a close game to the Denver Nuggets
- The Cleveland Cavaliers lost a rough game to the Charlotte Bobcats
Things that DID NOT happen in the past 48 hours;
- Antawn Jamison received secret transmissions from Gilbert Arenas, ordering him to miss wide-open shots as retribution for beating the Wizards in the playoffs multiple times
- Zydrunas Ilgauskas placed a Lithuanian curse on the Cavaliers for trading him away
- LeBron James called his agent and told him to sign with the Knicks because he wants to play on a good team, not some lame-ass team that's only 30 games over .500
Mike Brown closed his eyes and chose substitutions from a drunken dartboard throw
Breathe, everyone. If you've got relatives who are near the edge of the cliffs of reality, send them to FTS. We'll boost their spirits again. We're the true thinking-man's Cavs site (and women's, sorry Emily).