All three teams have a chance to do something special this year. Of course, something special, is different for each team. For the Cavs, it would be advance to the conference finals, beating either Detroit or Chicago, and playing in the NBA Finals. Win or lose there, it’s somewhere no one thought the Cavs would get to.
For the Indians, it would be winning the Central Division. On top of that, obviously any advancing in the postseason would be great but let’s concentrate on getting to October first.
For the Browns, it could be a wide range of options. For starters, no one’s arms are legs fall off or gets serious before the season starts would be impressive. After that, winning anything more than six games would be very impressive. And finally, beating the Steelers or winning any division game would be the most impressive.
I’ve said about all I can on the Browns and their draft in the last two posts so let’s turn our attention to the Cavs and the Indians. The Cavs earned their first ever sweep of a playoff opponent. Yippy, skippy, dippy. On to the second round. Everyone knew they would beat up on Washington so no big deal. The series lacked the excitement of last year’s and it was hard to get really pumped for the games. Some people are going to complain that Cleveland should have had an easier time and beat the Wizards by larger margins. That’s nonsense. The won four games in a row. I don’t care who you are playing, that’s hard to do. Yes, Washington wasn’t the same team without Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler but they are still a team of professional basketball players who want to win. With their top players out, they had nothing to lose. Everyone stepped up and played harder. And the Cavs handled it just like they were suppose to. Washington kept a few of the games close but when it came down to crunch time, they never really had a chance to win. A 4-0 sweep is all that matters.
It was great to see someone other than LeBron step up and play well in each game. Zydrunas Ilgauskas played like the All-Star he should be in all four games. Larry Hughes was huge in Game 1 and 4. Drew Gooden was a beast in Game 2. Sasha Pavlovic hit a huge shot in Game 3. And Daniel Gibson hit a two big 3’s in Game 4.
LeBron, and everyone else, knows he can take over a game when needed. But he, and everyone else, also knows that he is at his best when has help and can pass the ball around.
“At the end of the ballgame, I’m going to get double-teams, but though that whole series my team has been able to step up and knock down shots. I don’t have to win a game by scoring. I just have to control the pace and let the other guys take care of it.”
Perfect quote from LeBron. Let’s hope the team can keep up that shooting against New Jersey (I assume they are going to win).
It also helps that after being the worst free-throw shooting team in the league for the regular season at 69 percent, the Cavs are shooting 83 percent through four games. As Dwayne Wade proved last year, free throw shooting can win Championships.
On to the Indians. I’ve tried not to talk about them because since last time I did they were swept by the Yankees and then have been on a tear winning 8 of their last 10. Personally I don’t know how they are doing it. They have only one guy, Travis Hafner, batting above .300 (at .338), their starting second baseman and third baseman are both batting under .200 (Andy Marte, .179, Josh Barfield, .162) and out platoon outfielders, including Shin Soo-Choo is batting a combined .250, 5 HR, 26 RBI (5 of which have come from Choo in six games). They must be doing it with pitching and defense right? Well even that isn’t too strong outside of C.C. Sabathia. I don’t know how they are doing it, just as long as they keep doing it. The Tribe has a history of struggling in April so to see them get off to this type of starting is encouraging. Let’s just hope the bats pick up and they can stay on top in the Central.
It’s May, 1, 2007, and their are still a lot of playoffs left to be played in the NBA Playoffs, five more months to go until October and mini camps haven’t even started for the football season, and yet this is the best, most promising time we’ve seen in Cleveland in a long time. Now that I think about it, I don’t know if I should be excited and sad because that is kind of pathetic. Oh well, Let’s Go Cavs/Indians/Browns!