Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Friday, June 08, 2007
Thursday, June 07, 2007
But first, let’s examine the 2007 NBA Finals, which begin tonight.
The official WCT pick is Spurs in six (we picked with our head, not our heart), but we will be cheering like hell for our Cavs to prove us wrong. Unlike many, we think the Cavs have a very good shot to take down the Spurs for several reasons:
This is the most poised and determined the Cavs have looked all year.
Let’s face it. This is old hat to the Spurs. This is their fourth trip to the finals in nine years. They were just in the Western Conference Finals last year they cannot possibly be as hungry as the Cavs. And in the Pistons series, the Cavs had a look about them that we did not see at any point during the year. Every time Detroit made a run, the Cavs answered. Every time the Pistons did something to try to rattle them, the Cavs kept their composure. They had a hungry, determined look about them that we have not ever seen. Even LeBron, who at times during the regular season looked like he was sleepwalking, rose to the occasion in a way that no one thought he could. The hungrier team will always win a closely contested series, and we think the Cavs are hungrier. If the series is close, we like the Cavs.
When the whole world zigs, you should zag
Everyone and their momma thinks that the Spurs are sweeping the Cavs. Everyone (us included) thinks the Spurs have too much experience in situations like this to be beaten by the upstarts from Cleveland.
Remember last October, when everyone thought the Tigers, from the stronger AL would crush the 83-win Cardinals team from the “AAAA Baseball League?” Remember the Florida team that didn’t have a shot against Ohio State in the BCS Championship game? (unfortunately, we do) Remember the Pistons team that was going to get run out of the gym by the Lakers in the ’04 finals? When you tell a team how much they suck and how they have no chance to win, it has a funny way of inspiring them.
Rest vs. rust
Most say that the ideal time a team would like to have off in between playoff series is three to five days. When game one tips off, the Cavs, who finished off the Pistons on Saturday, will have had four full days off. The Spurs will have been off for seven full days.
Better eye candy in the stands
Most importantly, and we checked with the Elias Sports Bureau on this one, the team with the women in the stands is 9-1 in the last 10 NBA Finals. The lone loss coming in 2004 of course when the Pistons beat the Lakers.
Come to a Cavs game on the right day, and you might have a seat next to Amanda
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
We really know that we shouldn’t be thinking about this right now. We know that the sentiment we are about to express smacks of an inferiority complex. We KNOW we should be celebrating the Cavs first trip to the finals in franchise history. But instead, we are being annoyed by sore losers and sour grapes from the Pistons, their supporters in the media, and their fans.
Where should we begin? Well let’s start with Pistons guard and soon-to-be free agent Chauncey Billups:
“I'm just mad we lost four straight games to a team that I felt wasn't better than us.”
This is what I call the “Matt Leinart response” to losing, after Leinart famously stated “I still think we’re better than them” after losing the 2006 Rose Bowl to Texas. It is a second cousin of the “Michael Hart response” of “if we played them again we would win.”
Chauncey, not only were you not the better team in the series as a whole, you were not the better team in any of the six games of the series. The Pistons were very fortunate to win games 1 and 2 as a result of the Cavs not being able to hit big shots down the stretch.
And one more thing: if we can get on our soap box for a second: Can we please put to bed the whole “the better team didn’t win” take as a response to losing a big game or series? We get so sick of people in sports who say this after a game. When you play a seven game series, or a big football game, the better team ALWAYS wins. That’s why you play, to determine which team is better. The Pistons are a veteran team, they knew what was at stake, if they were so much better, why did they let the LeBron embarrass them in game five and completely come apart at the end of game six?
Ok, now how about the conspiracy theorists:
“The NBA wanted LeBron in the Finals and not the Pistons.”
You know, we weren’t going to dignify this take with a response, but what the hell. Was it David Stern who left Daniel Gibson alone in games four and six and allowed him to rain threes? Was David Stern on the court setting picks for LeBron and giving him a clear path to the basket for dunks at the end of regulation in game five? Was Stern willing LeBron's perimeter jumpers into the basket as he shot the lights out in the overtimes of game six?
Don't get us wrong, NBA executives have to be thrilled to have an exciting young star like James to showcase in the finals rather than an old, whining team like the Pistons, but that is not WHY the Cavs won.How about this one from NBA analyst Ernie Johnson:
"The Cavs got very lucky with their playoff draw"
Yes, Washington was injury riddled this year when the Cavs played them in the first round this year. But last year a less experienced Cavs team played basically this same Washington team with Gilbert Arenas and with Caron Butler and they took them out in the first round.
As for Jersey, well, when you are the second seed in the playoffs, you have earned the right to possibly play a mediocre team in the second round. That’s why the teams are seeded.
Also, when you take out the number-one seed in your bracket, how can it be argued that you got an easy draw? You had to go thorough the best team (theoretically) in your conference and win at least once on their home court, how is that an easy draw? Why is it that no one is saying that the Spurs got an easy draw because they didn’t even have to play the number-one seed in their bracket? And they got the benefit of a favorable suspension in the Phoenix series, why is this not brought up?
And last, and most definitely least, as seen on many a Pistons blog:
“The officiating was unfair.”
Do you know how many total free throws the Cavs attempted in this series? 170. Do you know how many free throws the Pistons attempted in this series? 155. That is a difference of 15 free throws over the course of the six game series, or just over two more free throws per game attempted. How about total fouls called you say? Well how about 133 fouls called on the Cavs and 136 called on the Pistons, or an average of less than one more foul per game called on the Pistons. What was the aggregate score differential from the series? Cavs by a total of 22 points. So how much difference did the refs really have in this series?
There, now that we have that off or our chest, we will focus on our attention on the Finals, and the Cavs likely losing in 5 games to the San Antonio Spurs.
Monday, June 04, 2007
If you are like us, you grew up on Mel Allen and “This Week in Baseball.” Here at WCT, we have “Last Week in Baseball!” Please don't sue us Fox!
Kevin Youkilis - Before this year, this guy with nothing more than a guy with a funny name who walked a lot and was more famous for appearing in "Moneyball" than for any on-field exploits. This year, he is hitting .350 with a .982 OPS.
Chad Gaudin - Where do the A's find these guys? Three years ago the Tampa Bay Devil Rays traded this guy away for next to nothing. Now Gaudin has won five starts in a row, and is third in the AL with a 2.41 ERA.
Now, on to our LWIB notes!
- The fact that Roger Clemens had to miss his scheduled start today against the White Sox because of a “tired groin” is an ominous sign. But even more than that, it is the result of signing a 44 year-old pitcher in the middle of May, with no spring training, rushing him through his preparations, and expecting his body to be ready to go after three minor league starts.
- A few weeks back, we said that the Brewers might have a tough time in May, and felt that if they were still in first as May turned to June, then we would consider them “for real.” Well, they were pretty unspectacular in May (14-15), but the rest of the division was downright abhorrent (55-86 combined record, no team over .500). The division is the Brewers to lose as far as we are concerned, not so much because Milwaukee is that good, but more because the entire NL Central is a joke.
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Its our blog dammit, so we are going to talk about our team every week - Something has got to be done about Jeremy Sowers. He just cannot get it done at this level right now. The schedule gets really soft now with the Royals, Reds, Mariners (make up game), and Marlins on the horizon.
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How ‘bout tha... er, I mean, I'll be goddamned! - Jeremy Bonderman beat the Indians on Sunday to improve to 5-0, earn a split of the four game series for the Tigers, and salvage a bit of dignity for Detroit sports fans.
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Now its being reported that Billy Donovan is having second thoughts and is trying to go back to the University of Florida? So now he goes from being a money-grabbing, disingenuous jerk, to being a flighty, indecisive whimp.
Friday, June 01, 2007
I really don't want to overstate things in the heat of the moment, but I think its fair to say that that people will point to May 31st, 2007 as the moment when LeBron became a "great" player. A "get on my back, I won't let us lose this game" great player. I have already heard more than one local sports talking head call last night's performance by James "the greatest postseason performance in Cleveland sports history" and I would be hard pressed to argue. A few quick hits:
(and since this is the Friday T&A post, there will be pictures of the Cavalier Girls peppered throughout the post)
- Nice to see the Cleveland teams do the Detroit two-step, with the Indians coming back to beat up the Tigers.
- I hate to pee all over everyone's parade, but the Cavs were up 3-2 going home against the Pistons last year in the second round of the playoffs. They should not get ahead of themselves.
- That being said, is it just me, or have the Cavs not outplayed the Pistons in each of the first five games of this series? They are essentially two made shots from sweeping and having the series not even reach game five.
- Everyone, and when I say everyone I mean everyone, in the bar we were in thought the game was over when Billups sank that three with just seconds left to put the Pistons up 91-89.
- Why are Detroit fans, especially the ones that were at the Palace last night, so quiet and tense? They are like Red Sox fans from a few years back. They just won the championship like two years ago.
- I really hope this quiets the idiot critics that hate on LeBron and expect him to be Michael Jordan in his fourth NBA season.
- He is Twenty-two years old for crying out loud.
- Antonio McDyess did not deserve to be ejected for his clothesline of Andy Varejao. He deserved a flagrant foul, but not an ejection. But oh well. Them's the breaks
- The Pistons complain about EVERY foul called against them! Every single one. Its really annoying
- I am by no means an NBA fanatic, especially to the extent that I am a baseball fanatic and a football fanatic, but really get irritated with NBA haters that make up reasons why they don't watch pro basketball. I hope this shuts a few of them up.
- One more thing: Billy Donovan is a douche. And a mercenary, and a Liar. I hope he is a spectacular failure in the NBA.
Well I'm at a loss for words. As a Cleveland sports fan, we don't have many nights like last night, so you have to let a guy bask in it for a while.
Have a great weekend people, and enjoy game six on Saturday night. Unfortunately, as it turns out, I will be back in New York for the game, and won't be able to go. But suffice it to say, I will be watching and will be sufficiently