Archive for November, 2007

The most important finger in Cleveland

Quite a different feeling from the last game the Cavs played in Detroit. The last time on the same court, LeBron James scored 48 points including the Cavs last 25 and they left the court in celebration, a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals and LeBron being thrust into one of the greatest playoff performances of all time. 


Last night, the Cavs left the same court dejected, 25 point losers and with LeBron in an expensive suit and ugly brace on his left hand. Quite the difference from last May. 


This morning all Cavs fans are holding their breath until more is known on LBJ’s sprained index finger. Let’s hope it is just a sprain and only out a couple games. Anything worse and we saw what will happen. The Cavs were only down 5 at halftime. The game quickly turned into a blowout and a laugher without LeBron. 


The Cavs are 9-3 all time without LBJ but this is different. LeBron has never missed more than three games in a row but this injury looked scary enough that that he could miss more. If you wanted a case for MVP, and his nearly triple-double average wasn’t enough, watch what happens to this team without him. Look at what happened without him last night. They looked more confused than someone trying to explain why the WNBA is still around. They looked more lost than a six-year old who can’t find his mom at the mall. 


LeBron is without a doubt the most important player on any team in the league. With him, the Cavs are a legitimate Eastern Conference title contender. Without him, the Knicks have a better shot being called a well run organization than the Cavs do of winning more than half their games. If he is out for a long period of time, just another reason to hate the ugliest team of all time. Nazr Mohammed just became the most hated man in Cleveland. And that’s a tough list to crack considering we already went over it.


Hand injuries are a scary thing. They seem minor but can really affect a basketball player. Not that LBJ is Larry Hughes, but look at how long Larry was affected by his broken finger. Saying LeBron is stronger than Larry is like saying water is wet, but if serious enough, a finger injury can linger. LBJ seems to have a magic curability about him so hopefully he can find a way to comeback sooner and stronger than ever. If he doesn’t, Charles Barkley and Bill Simmons will be right about the Cavs not making the playoffs. In the mean time, whatever games he misses, be ready for some ugly basketball.




Speaking of ugly basketball, Team River City dropped their second game of the year last night. It was by for the worst display of basketball. Not necessarily because the way the game was played (although that was bad too) but the way the game was officiated. Just to say how bad it was, both ways, one guy on the other team fouled out with still 8 minutes left… IN THE FIRST HALF. We only play 19 minute halves. It’s darn near impossible to do that. In the second half, the other team was in the bonus about 5 minutes into the half. We spent more time standing around shoot free throws than we did actually playing. I don’t think I even broke a sweat. No doubt we had our chances to win, regardless of how the refs called the game but only one person on our team could score. So we’ll have to settle for an 0-2 start and look to rebound. Last year we started 0-3 before we made a run to the playoffs. We’ll have to hope for that again.


On the upside, at the bar after the game, I did win a game of “behind the back darts.” If you are a dart player, try going behind the back. It makes for a long but every interesting game.


Now let’s all go back to our sanctuaries and light some candles and pray to whoever it is you pray to that LeBron’s finger is magically heeled by Sunday (when the Cavs are in Boston).


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Two very important messages

A quick afternoon post for your reading pleasure.


I forgot to share a story from the weekend with you that may also serve as a warning. The simple message: Don’t put saki in the microwave.


It was Friday night and I was hanging out at dedicated reader/commenter Rosie’s house. It was just me and him until three other guys showed up. They had been eating sushi at some restuarant. They decided to bring home a couple bottles of saki to add to our drinking menu. 


You can’t drink saki at room temperature, so we decided to heat it up. Boiling water on the stove and setting the bottle in the water would be the practical way, but not the easiest or fastest. They decided to use the microwave. They used a glass beer mug and filled it up about half way with saki before putting it in the microwave. Rosie and I were into a very intense game of “Mario and Sonic at the Olympics” on the Wii. The next thing we heard was a very, very loud PUFF sound. To me it sounded like someone dropped a heavy bag of dog food or something.


I went into the kitchen to see the look that said “What the hell just happend?” on three faces. What had happened is, as soon as one of the guys pulled the mug out of the microwave, the saki exploded like a mushroom cloud. Saki was covering the ceiling and cabinet. You know when you boil water with out a lid and the moisture builds up either on the ceiling or the overhang of the stove and turns to water and drops back down? That’s what was on the ceiling. There was droplets of saki in a perfect circle above the mug. It was an amazing experience, or experiment. WE thought about calling Mythbusters after we couldn’t find an explanation after we Googled “saki, microwave, explosion.” 


Moral of the story, when you want to drink warm saki, take your time and use the perferred method of heating it on the stove.


Nevertheless, the saki was fantastic that night.


As for tonight, It’s Game No. 2 for Team River City tonight at 8:35. On the schedule is our most heated rival, Secure Morgage. It’s our most heated rival because, for the most part, we are all friends with each other and we also seem to play the closest games. Last year, we played three times and all three came down to the final shot. We lost the first game of the year to them but then beat them in the second meeting and in the playoffs. Tonight should be no different. I just hope I can make a few shots without having to get help from the bank. 



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“Big” Time win for Cavs



What a “big” win for the Cavs last night. Get it? “Big.” Because everyone calls the Celtics trio of Allen, Pierce, Garnett “The Big Three.” Yet Cleveland’s “Big Three” outplayed them, at least statistically.


Well, I guess Cleveland’s “Big Three” should really be called the “Huge 1 1/2 and 2 more.” LeBron is so good he does more than one man should be able to do and therefore gets the 1 1/2 lable. As for D-Good and Z, they are having very, very, very, very good years, as far as very good years for Drew Gooden and Zydrunas Ilgauskas go, but they aren’t anywhere near as good as any of the three from Boston. If you had to pick two players out of Gooden, Z, Pierce, Garnett and Allen, Gooden and Z would be the last two picked. Therefore, they only get labled as “2 more.”


Bottom line though is LBJ, Z and D-Good played great and better than the true “Big Three.” It was great to see LeBron make some big shots and then jaw with Pierce and Garnett. When LeBron is talking trash, he gets better. It was like a playoff game the way he battled and the intensity he showed. Last year, you never would have saw that out of him in November. Not this year. He knew he had to play great from Game 1 and he as done that. The M-V-P chants heard in overtime may have been the earliest in the history of the NBA but no one has been such a clear cut MVP this early in the year. He’s the Tom Brady of the NBA right now.


It’s a shame he didn’t make the shot to win it at the end of regulation. I would have loved to see his reaction and what he said to Pierce. But if he makes that shot, we would have missed the most impressive part of LBJ’s game. The way he rebounded from that missed shot and dominated the overtime period for 11 points. It was like the missed game winner only made him play better and prove more. 


It was also great to see D-Good come up with a huge game one day after Varejao came out and said he didn’t want to play on Cleveland anymore. D-Good said “the Cavs don’t need him when they got me.” His third quarter was classic going 8-for-8. It was almost as classic as his rat tail last year, which is almost as classic as the shaggy beard he’s got going this year. Got to love a beard man who looks that bad in it but just doesn’t care. D-Good is like the anti-Andy, as in he makes shots, and his beard is the anti-Andy hair. It be long until Gooden’s beard looks like Andy’s hair.


The best part about this game is that everyone has been already crowned the Boston Celtics Eastern Conference Champions and decleared the Cavs dead in the water and bearly a playoff team. Cleveland proved last night that is not the case. Yes it was only one game at the end of November, but it sent a message that the Cavs will not simply give up their conference title. They might not have “The Big Three” but as long as they have LeBron, playing like a “Huge 1 1/2” they’ll be just fine.


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Cavs vs Celtics

First things first, I’m very sorry to hear about Sean Taylor. It’s horrible news. He was far from a saint but no one deserves to die at the age of 24. I hope there isn’t more to the story about the break-in’s to his home. I hope the robbers/killers weren’t after him because Taylor screwed them over in a deal or something. I hope it’s just a case of thugs wanting to steal from a rich guy. I hope they are caught. The biggest loss in the story is Taylor’s one-year old daughter now doesn’t have a daddy.


With that out of the way, let’s talk about the Cavs. An absolutely huge game tonight with Boston. Cleveland has beat the Celtics four times in a row at The Q. For some reason I think tonight might be a little bit more of a challenge than games in the past. The C’s have a slightly better team than the last two years. 


I think it’s great Garnett and Allen are getting their chance to play on a good team with an NBA title as a possibility. A couple things though why this is bothering me besides the fact that I hate Boston fans and they still complain and stuff when they have the best sports city ever put on this earth. 


A) I can’t stand the footage of The Big Three sitting on the bench doing that stupid little hand dance thing. What the hell is that and why does ESPN have to show it every time they talk about the Celtics.


B) How come Paul Pierce gets a free pass here? Everyone criticized Randy Moss for not trying with the Raiders and now playing hard with the Patriots. Well, isn’t Pierce doing the same thing. He was on a bad Celtic team for the last two years. Complained and cried and sat out games with minor “injuries.” Not only that but when he had a decent team around him, he ran Antoine Walker out of town (which I guess has been a good thing now but it wasn’t at the time), destroyed the team that made it to the Eastern Conference Finals and didn’t stop complaining until they signed The Big Ticket. What a punk. I don’t know why this has never been brought up in any talk about Boston.


C) I hate Boston fans as much as I hate OSU fans and that guy who commented on my Lloyd Carr post (go look at how dumb he sounds in the comment section of “Carr is gone, so are great halftime interviews.”


Whatever the case, Boston is really, really good. Tonight’s game will be a chance to see just how good the Cavs are, and will be. The Cavs have traded a very solid, one of the best defenses in the league last year, into a our defense is our offense and we’ll try to Phoenix Sun you out of the gym by outscoring you. I don’t know what made the Cavs think they can play like this. It’s fun to watch but also frustrating because the offense isn’t that  good to outscore other teams. If they can find just a little bit of that defensive intensity from last year, then things will really start looking good.


All that doesn’t matter right now though since LBJ is playing like, well, the only word for what he is doing this year is unbelievable. I mean two straight triple-doubles is sick. Averaging 31.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 8.1 assist is something people just don’t do in this league. And LeBron is doing it every night and then some. 


LeBron will be fired up tonight. Obviously he has been all year but this is a prime game for him. Playing against the best team in the league and against a guy, Pierce who he hates (might not hate but loves playing against him since that spitting incident). LeBron goes for over 40 tonight. His guys around him are finally starting to support him just enough (Gibson shooting 53% from three point range is amazing, D-Good and Z averaging double-doubles). The Cavs may just be finding their rhythm. Win number four in a row in a classic LeBron game tonight.


Have to say something about Anderson Varejao. Grow up! I don’t know what makes you think some team is going to pay you $10 million a year. If you think you are worth that much, and think some other team will pay that to you, you should have signed the one-year exemption deal this summer and then been a free agent next year. The Cavs offered you close to $6 million a year and you should have been so happy to take that deal that pick up a few of the homeless little boys in Brazil and bring them to America with you. If you want to play in Europe, just go do it. You don’t want to play in Cleveland, you’re an idiot. You’re wasting everyone’s time. Either sign, or go play in Europe and go through this again next year. You’ve done nothing but piss off the people that supported you and cheered for you the last two years. Well done.


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7-4 Cleveland, Yep, 7-4

Sitting around watching the San Diego/Baltimore game yesterday something strange happened. The scores from the afternoon games were flashing along the bottom of the TV and the Cleveland score came up. Here’s what I saw.


(5-6) Houston 17, (7-4) Cleveland 27.


What are those numbers in front of Cleveland? Surely, it’s a misprint, a type-o, a mistake. Either it’s suppose to be 4-7 or 74, as in the 74th ranked team in the country.


Later Sunday night, watching ESPN, they were talking about how great the Patriots were and no one could match them. Then someone else said the next tier of teams is the Colts, followed by someone else saying the Jags and Browns are up there too. What? Really? The Cleveland Browns? 


On Sept. 10 you have thought it was misprint and the guy on ESPN was telling a cruel joke to long suffering Browns fans.


Not this year. The Browns are for real. I know they aren’t close to the Patriots, but who is? And I’d put them behind the Colts and Steelers but not by much. Colts have shown they aren’t the dominate team they used to be (although they still can be) and Cleveland as already proven they can play with Pittsburgh (although not beat them yet) but the Steelers did lose to Arizona and the Jets. Not sure what to make of Jacksonville. Some games they look great, some not so great.


Yesterday the Browns put together what may have been their best overall game of the year. It wasn’t the best offensively or special teamively (does that count) but the defense and running game finally came along.


Everyone assumed the game with the Houston Texans would be a high scoring, passing all over the field, defense might as well not even show up, game. Well, for what seems like the first time all year, the Browns defense showed up for four quarters. They’ll weren’t great or perfect by any means but they were really, really good. 


Huge hits by Sean Jones, Brodney Pool and Kamerion Wimbely. Big INTs by D’Qwell Jackson and Bradon McDonald. A big fourth down stop on the first possession of the game set the tone and they held the Texans to 2-of-10 on third down (of course the Browns were only 3-of-13). How did the announcers (finally got Gus Johnson which was great but his partner Steve Tasker is horrible) not mention it was McDonald’s first ever start? They kept saying he as a rookie but nothing about replacing another rookie and making his first start against Andre Johnson and holding him in check.


Jamal Lewis woke from the dead for the second straight week. He ran for 134 yards and a touch. And he did it on averaging 4.6 yards a carry. Unlike the rest of the season (aside from the Cincy game where he ran for 216 yards against a defense I could run for 100 against) he as been very mediocre to bad. But yesterday he looked like the Lewis who ran over the Browns in the past. He ran over guys, broke tackles, spun away from others and carried the pile a few extra yards. Let’s hope this is the guy who comes to play the rest of the year. 


The passing game was solid like it always is. K2 is simply amazing. Of course by the time he is 35 he won’t be able to walk, but until then, my goodness is he good.


All that really matters is that 7-4 was not a misprint. The Browns on sitting in the sixth spot of the AFC with a relatively easy schedule left. Maybe winnable should be the word instead of easy. But let’s take the Romeo approach, AKA the Belichick and look at it one game at a time. Next week at Arizona. A very tough test with the way the Cardinals throw the ball but if the game is close you can expect Kurt Warner to pee down his leg like he did yesterday. Seriously, who loses a game by fumbling it in the endzone? 


7-4. Seven wins, four loses. Not a bad place to be 12 weeks into the season. This is a season full of great surprises for Browns fans and I hope it doesn’t end. As good as “(7-4) Cleveland” looks, imagine how good “(8-4) Cleveland” will look on the TV screen next week.

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Weekend football tracker

Hope everyone’s Thanksgiving was great. Mine was fantastic except for I think my sick brother and sick sister have got me sick. Not feeling the best this morning. But being the dedicated blogger that I am, here is a look at some football games this weekend. (By the way, my man crush on Favre is getting very serious)


This is always one of the best weekends for football since it started yesterday and there’s games today. I’ll have to exaggerate this sickness to get out of here and go watch football.


** Nebraska at Colorado ** Not even sure who this game is played anymore. Two once proud programs that have about as much going for them as Notre Dame. The only thing that would be entertaining about this game is if the mascots getting into a fight. Wouldn’t you love to see the buffalo run over that stupid looking ‘Husker?


** Arkansas at LSU ** How does a team with two of the best running backs in the country have a 7-4 record? Arkansas is better than that and I’m calling the upset. LSU has lived dangerously in three of their past four games and this time it will cost them. Plus LSU losing would really mess up the BCS and it could be the death of the BCS. Who doesn’t want to see that?


** Boise State at Hawaii ** Winner should get a BCS bowl bid, loser gets a Insight.com/therearetoomanybowlgames bid. Hawaii and Kansas finish the year undefeated. Since they are both undefeated, the BCS decides to let them play for the national title. They only good that will come from that (besides the end of the BCS) is it throws off Bin Laden’s next terrorist attack on the BCS Championship game since only 12 people will be in the stadium to watch the game making Osama decide it’s not worth it.


** UConn at West Virginia ** West Virginia wins to win the Big East title. Mountaineers celebrate their conference title by wearing T-shirts that say “Big East Champs, West Virgina” a la, the NIT champion shirts. 


** Missouri at Kansas ** The biggest game in The Boarder War since, well, since they were actually fighting for the boarder. Kansas stays undefeated and moves to No. 1 which makes everyone else decide to watch bowling, poker and figure skating the rest of the college football season.


** Miami (OH) at Ohio ** As an OU alum, I’m really hoping the Bobcats beat the hated Redskins, err, Redhawks. I really don’t  care that much besides having fun rubbing it in Graig’s face. But how is Miami at 6-5, 4-1 a 2.5 dog to OU at 5-6, 2-3. MAC football, it’s fantastic.


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Cleveland’s thankful for…



I wish it to you today since I know I won’t be getting on my computer tomorrow. Even if I do, there’s no way I’ll be writing a post, so Happy Thanksgiving. Go stuff yourself full of turkey, watch football, take a nap, wake back up and do it all over again.


Us Cleveland fans have a lot to be thankful for this year. We are thankful for…


… the Browns getting more thankful bounces this year (1) than they had in the previous eight years (0). 


… the Browns are on their way to a possible first round playoff exit (unless they make it and play the Steelers. I really think they will beat Pittsburgh if they play a third time). 


… the Browns finally finding an offensive line, a quarterback and three or four possible Pro Bowlers.


… the Browns taking attention away from the Cavs struggling.


… the Cavs have adopted the Browns mentality, trying to outscore their opponents and forget playing defense.


… LeBron James playing out of his mind and carrying the Cavs all season (too and Ferry is too thankful for him and decided not to give him any help at all).


… Ira Newble playing the 4 spot for the Cavs. (Really? Newble? And yet Ferry makes no moves to help the roster. Funny side note, I’m reading Paul Shirley’s book, “Can I Keep My Jersey.” I just read the funniest line ever. Shirley just finished a 10-day contract with the Hawks. They were going to sign him to another one but they had to wait to see if they were going to need a big man or a guard since their star guard had just been hurt. That star guard, none other than Iran Newble.)


… having the privilege of seeing LeBron’s armpit blown up to 20 feet every time we drive by The Q. However, we are more thankful we aren’t the guy with the office right in the armpit.


… the Indians addressing their bullpen needs by signing the hot dog eat eating champion of the world.


… the Indians having Joey Chestnut in line for their next signing to play left field.


Come to think of it, there’s not that much to be thankful for. Even the newly formed Lake Erie Monsters are in last place. Right now the only thing to be thankful for is the weak schedule the Browns play and the fact the LeBron hasn’t gone Stephon Marbury on the Cavs and quit. I mean he has to do everything for that team. I don’t know how he gets so many assist. I’m convinced that at least three a game somehow come from passes to himself.


Anyway, it could be worse. At least all the teams are competitive. I’m just thankful it’s not 2000 when everyone sucked.


I’m also thankful that there are football games on Thanksgiving. And more thankful that I have the NFL Network at my apartment.


It’s so hard to pick against Detroit on Thanksgiving. Well it’s not hard, it’s just anti-Thanksgivingan. But it’s ant-American to pick against Brett Favre. Since I have Favre on my fantasy team (both of them), I’m taking the Packers to continue to roll.


Jets and Cowboys. The only game that could be less appealing for viewers is if they scheduled a Colts, Falcons game the same day. Oh wait, they did. No one is betting the ‘Boys at home, on Thanksgiving, in their holiday unis, especially not the Jets. As for the Colts, Falcons, the way Peyton is play, they could lose. That is until you realize last week in the Falcons game, the fans were cheering to have the backup quarterback replace Byron Leftwich. Did they realize the backup quarterback was Joey Harrington? They must have because as soon as Harrington took the field, the fans started cheering to have Leftwich replace him. Now there’s a good quarterback situation.


I’m thankful the Browns, for once, don’t have the worse quarterback situation in the NFL.


HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!! (don’t worry, I should be back Friday to set your weekend for you)


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