#Cavs Can Conquer Challenges – Win NBA Title

The Cleveland Cavaliers are back in their original position before this series began. They have no chance. Despite basically controlling the first three games completely with Golden State rarely having the lead and the fact that the Warriors were ¾ inch short of being behind 3-0, the Cavs can’t possibly have an answer for the Warriors brilliant move of going small in game 4.

When you parse all of this out, it simply means that the major media and pundits now can return to the narrative that was written before the Finals began. LeBron James was being replaced by Steph Curry as the face of the league. The already crowned Warriors would take their rightful place as NBA champs. The scrappy and outmanned Cleveland team were just that, inferior mosquitos simply making GS uncomfortable before they were inevitably squashed. And anyway, the opponent was from Cleveland who has a curse and can’t possibly beat a team from the vaunted Bay Area.

The reality is that the Cleveland Cavaliers were the better team through the majority of the three games preceding game 4 even without their All Star point guard and power forward. They controlled the tempo. They controlled the score. They were barely an inch short on Shumpert’s put back that would have turned the narrative around. The interesting thing is that this narrative might have been written similarly even if the Cavaliers still had their two injured All Stars playing. Amazingly, the Warriors would still be considered the better team and prohibitive favorites. So, for all of those people drinking the elixir of the magical narrative that is the Golden State Warriors, reality might creep into your dream so be prepared.

I saw nothing in the first four games to change my belief that the Cavaliers are the better team at handling adversity and overcoming challenges. Golden State did win a desperate game that they had to have, so I give them props for that. They finally manned up and came out swinging. They made an adjustment that did cause some difficulty temporarily and enough to finally get a lead. Big leads allow the Warrior role players to play free and gives Curry (who didn’t have a particularly good game) and Thompson the freedom to let the game come to them. When that occurs, the advantage shifts to the Warrior game of up tempo, pass and shoot basketball and they look “cute and pretty” as LeBron indirectly and mockingly called them.

With the way the Cavaliers came storming back in the third quarter after just a halftime to adjust only to “burn out” in the fourth, does anyone honestly think that the Cavs have no answer to that strategy? I think the reality is that the Cavalier coaching staff and players already have an answer but didn’t have the energy to pull off the comeback playing their third game in 5 nights. That scenario will not play out again in these Finals. If this goes to a game 7, it will be the third game in 6 nights. That is a major difference and a game 7 is always unpredictable anyway. Of course, the Cavs plan is to finish this off in 6 games and that plan just might have some legs.

It was very clear before game 4 that the Warriors might be a desperate team. They kept saying over and over that they had to play harder. They knew their backs were against the wall. At NO TIME before that game did the Warriors play like or act like they had to play hard to win the NBA Finals. They clearly believed in their press clippings and allowed the Cavaliers to basically control three games, almost to lose them all.

Now that the “brilliant” move of going small has made them prohibitive favorites again, I doubt you see a desperate Warriors team tonight. They now view this as simply the Memphis series and will discount the fact that Tony Allen did happen to get injured in that series, creating a huge gap in the Memphis defense. Tonight the Cavs will be the desperate team not wanting the series to go seven games. The only way to make that happen is to win tonight.

This NBA Finals will not be won or lost simply on strategy or whether Curry and Thompson might “go off” together, or whether JR Smith might find his stroke just in time to torpedo the Warriors in one game, or whether LeBron will score 50. It will be won by the team with the most heart and determination to win. The Cavaliers proved that their strategy was good enough to virtually control 3 games. The Warriors proved that, if desperate, they could finish one off with a strong fourth quarter. How game 5 will go is anyone’s guess. But I think the least likely scenario is a repeat of game 4. I don’t think that being on the road has any effect on the Cavaliers. They were one 10 foot put back away from winning in regulation in game one. Without a furious fourth quarter comeback, game 2 would have been put away easily by the Cavs. It wasn’t, and that might be the only pause for Cleveland fans about that game and the series.

The Cavaliers must find a way to control the game and the tempo as they did in the first three games. They have a player called LeBron James that has a proven capability to do just that. It seems that the Cavaliers would have a problem coming back from way down to win, even though it is possible if they have the energy. So the Warrior role players need to be contested “slightly” to make the game less likely to get out of control. They shot for an uncharacteristically high percentage and did so on some completely uncontested shots. The Cavs have revealed their strategy pretty clearly as they are absolutely happy to have Green and Iguodala crank up shots and threes keeping the ball out of Curry’s and Thompson’s hands. However, they need to contest them slightly and not let them shoot like they are in warmups. So, if the Warriors rely on the exact same strategy as last game, the result could be quite different as long as the Cavs adjust.

Obviously game 5 is a key game and could be the turning point in the series. For the Warriors, they feel that they have already had their “turning point” game. For the Cavaliers, they see game 5 that way. As I said, the Finals will be won by the team with the most heart and determination to win. For tonight, I give that advantage to the Cavs and I think the Cavs “break them” in game 6 as they did every other team in these playoffs. No one other than Cleveland’s fantastic fans expect them to win. A few stragglers in the media persist but they are the vast minority.

I absolutely believe that not one Warrior player has any fleeting thought that they can lose this series. I also fervently hope that every Cleveland player knows they will lose if they don’t play every second to win. That is the Cleveland Cavalier’s unquestioned edge in a tight series. I think I am right. I still have Cavs in six.

Cleveland #Cavs Toughness Will Prevail In NBA Finals

The 2014-2015 NBA regular season was a virtual coronation for the Golden State Warriors. They have the reigning NBA MVP in Steph Curry. They won 67 games in the regular season, losing only 15. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, the Warriors won the regular season. The problem for them is that they don’t give out any trophies for the regular season, only playoff seeds. And now they have their last gift from their magical regular season, home court advantage in the NBA finals. The question for all of us looking on now is “Will that last gift be enough to bring them an NBA Championship?”

The Cleveland Cavaliers won 66 games in the 2008-2009 season. They had the reigning MVP in LeBron James. They also lost in the Eastern Conference Finals 4-2 and couldn’t get out of the “weaker” East to even appear in the Finals. Everyone knew that the Cleveland team in 2009 was mainly “LeBron and a bag of marbles” and yet they dominated the regular season and won those 66 games barely breaking a sweat. In that year, almost every Cleveland Cavalier other than LeBron wilted in the playoffs. No one could hit critical shots, which virtually negated LeBron’s masterful ability to create. Plus, LeBron wasn’t the player than that he is now in terms of knowing what it takes to win playoff games consistently. He admits that himself when asked.

So now those tables are turned. Don’t get me wrong. The Warriors have many very good role players and one, Harrison Barnes, has proven that he can hit tough shots when the game is on the line. They have a very tough “tweener” small forward/power forward in Green who has proven ability on both ends of the court. Bogut is a tough nose player who will not be intimidated in the middle. Everyone knows about the famous “splash brothers” and there is not much to say except that they are very good players. Thompson especially can defend as well as shoot. Curry played like an MVP this year and can hit contested shots with a quick release and deadeye accuracy. So the perception that Golden State is a very good team is deserved. However, they are not playoff tested from a tough minded defensive team that also has great offensive skills. That reality is about to smack them in the face and we will see if they can recover from the blow. I wrote recently before the Atlanta series that the Cleveland Cavs are coming together at the right time. Those words are even more true now than they were before the Eastern Conference Finals.

Once you give the Warrior’s their due that they are a very good team, the reality starts separating from the fantasy. The oft used word is that the Warriors are a “very deep team” and Cleveland is not. Well, the reality is that the Cavalier “roll players” (Shumpert, Smith, Delly, Mozgov, Thompson, and Jones) have all performed far better at the offensive end than the Warriors after Curry and Klay Thompson. The Cavalier roll players have had more games total with 15 points or more than their Warrior counterparts. The Cavs players minus each team’s “big two” have had 15 games with over 15 points and the Warriors have 11 games with over 15 points. If you take away both team’s starters (indicating depth of scoring), the Cavs have 7 games of 15 or more points and the Warriors have 2. The gaps close considerably when you include games by role players over 10 points but the Cavs margin of players with 15 or more points counters that easily.

Defensively, the Warrior role players are talented but not elite. Shumpert, Smith, Delly, Mozgov and Thompson have all been defending at very high levels and contesting shots on the perimeter and at the rim with high efficiency. The Cavaliers and Warriors are eerily similar in terms of rebounds both offensive and defensive. No difference in either area. The Cavs have about .8 blocks per game more than the Warriors but the Warriors have 2.2 more steals per game. To counter the steals, the Cavs have 3 less turnovers per game than the Warriors. The Cavaliers in the playoffs have a field goal percentage against of 41.2% vs 43.1% for the Warriors. In terms of 3 point percentage against, the Cavs have the edge 28.1% vs 31%.

In terms of advanced statistics, I could not do a better job than John Schuhmann did on NBA.com. His article titled: Numbers Preview: The Finals outlines the key advanced statistics. One statement basically confirmed what I am trying to show with standard statistics when he said “And the Cavs have been statistically better, both offensively and defensively, than the Warriors in the playoffs, even when you account for weaker competition. Cleveland has better marks in adjusted efficiency (taking their opponents’ regular season marks) on both ends of the floor.”

Based on the play of both teams in the playoffs, I strongly challenge the oft repeated contention that the Warriors have a “much deeper” team. They do play more players in their rotation (generally 10 vs 8 for the Cavs) but the productivity of those extra players, even combined as I noted above, is no greater than the Cavalier reserves. Plus, just because Cleveland plays Miller, Marion, and Perkins very sparingly doesn’t mean that those players are useless or do not account for additional depth that the Cavs do not use. The wild card for the Warriors is David Lee and, even though used very little, is a highly productive player when called upon.

If someone wants to drop the “East is so much weaker” you can’t compare the Cavs statistically to the Warriors, I would point out that the Cavaliers were 14-1 against the Western Conference after January 15th when the current team was fully assembled. Cleveland beat virtually every playoff team in the Western Conference during that span including the Warriors, Clippers, Spurs, Grizzlies, and Trail Blazers. The only game they lost was to Houston in overtime and the Cavs did not have Kyrie Irving on the floor during that game.

But statistical analysis can only take us so far when it comes to analyzing this series. The Warriors may have the best scorer in the series but the Cavaliers clearly have the most dominant single player in LeBron James. His ability to be a triple threat on any night is a separator in a playoff series. Cleveland has great team chemistry and, even without Kevin Love, they are a superior team in terms of toughness and have been challenged with large numbers of injuries during the playoffs. Most of these injuries are nagging and not completely resolving. Shumpert, Irving, James, and Thompson have all been dinged up by varying degrees. And Love was lost for the entire playoffs. This is an edge for the Warriors but an edge for the Cavaliers in terms of resiliency and ability to adjust to adversity.

Kyrie Irving’s health and ability to maintain a high level of play is critical for the Cavaliers to have a strong chance to win a championship. Even with Irving hobbled he has been reasonably productive but he needs to stay well to avoid being a defensive liability. That would be a hole that the offensively gifted Warriors could exploit. The Cavaliers will remain creative but really cannot hide Irving defensively as well as they could against the Hawks and Chicago.

In an NBA finals, unless one team is substantially better than the other team, both teams will go through adversity and be challenged in the series. It is the team that can respond best to that adversity who will likely prevail. By that measurement, Cleveland seems to have a huge edge. The tough “grind it out” style that the Cavaliers have played in the playoffs will not be easy for Golden State to counter. If the Cavaliers protect the ball and avoid silly turnovers outside the three point line, it will be difficult for Golden State to control the tempo and avoid a half court grinding defensive game. If that is true, advantage Cleveland again.

Baring major injuries to James or Irving, Cleveland wins in 6 games. The 50+ years of misery will end.

#Cavs Coming Together As A Team Just In Time

With all the media focus on manufacturing fissures in the team between Blatt and LeBron, the real story has been lost in the sandstorm of silliness. The story is one of a team, combining experienced veterans with young playoff neophytes, that has grown through adversity and trial by fire. The growth of the team is manifest in their ability to oust a far more experienced team in six games despite many injuries and even a two game suspension for one of the starters. That growth was further evident in their ability to dominate the Bulls in a clinching game on their home court while Kyrie Irving sat out with an injury for most of the game. The post game interview room where Tristan Thompson and Matthew Dellevadova flanked LeBron James was a visual image of the transformation of the Cleveland Cavaliers. The transformation was started when David Griffin had the vision to spend every chip he inherited from Chris Grant and created on his own to retool this Cleveland team with pieces that “fit” and that balanced the team. It has progressed with this difficult playoff run where the team has been reduced to a MASH unit starting with game 2 against Boston and continuing to worsen until game 6 against Chicago.

Every single thread of that “fit” is needed as the injuries mount and the competition stiffens. Kyrie Irving declared to all of us on multiple occasions that this team is the closest team he has ever played with. I kind of shrugged that off because I knew an irritant to Kyrie (Dion) was gone and that this team was winning and his other pro teams did not. Often that translates to a closer team that develops chemistry. Whether or not I was right to shrug it off earlier in the year is uncertain, but for me to ignore that now would be a sign of blindness. The Cavs are a team growing closer by the minute and their belief in each other is clear for all to see. The most obvious evidence was the way they embraced Dellavedova when he entered the locker room after the game 6 dismantling of Chicago. But to me the most telling sign is the way LeBron has changed his tune when he talks about the team. The passion in his voice as he explained the importance to the team of both Thompson and Dellavedova spoke volumes about where the team had been and where it was headed.

Even though LeBron has stopped a bit short of saying it with conviction thus far, clearly he now believes in this team and believes in their growth. He feels that the young players who had not been playoff tested are responding well and showing no signs of “wilting” in the moment. LeBron is not that hard to read in this regard. It was clear in the 2 final years during his first run with Cleveland that he did not have that confidence in the team or his teammates. He believed, and said as much later, that they HAD wilted in the playoff light. Without question they were a great regular season team, but not a great playoff team. For that matter, LeBron himself had a great deal of growing to do in that regard even though he had some spectacular playoff games in those earlier years.

This team is clearly different as the lights have turned on. Shumpert is playing some of the best basketball of his career despite a groin pull that has certainly not fully healed. Kyrie Irving is pretty severely hampered by a multitude of injuries and yet has contributed to the wins, sometimes in a big way. JR Smith, despite a suspension, has come up huge with three point shooting during quarters 3 and 4 of the final two games against Chicago. Without his shooting, the final spectacular shot that LeBron made in game 4 would never have happened. That game would have been over long before.

Timofey Mozgov has been a bit spotty in his play but made a huge contribution in game 4 as well to give us a chance to win and is blocking shots at a near record pace. Tristan Thompson has been nothing short of amazing after taking over the starting power forward position from the injured Kevin Love. His energy and offensive rebounds have made him a dominant force in these playoffs and no one can question his immense value to the team. Delly has shown that, under pressure, he can perform even better than he did during the regular season. His 3 point shooting has been solid, he is protecting the ball well, and continues to be an enormous pest on defense to anyone he guards. Aaron Brooks was basically made a nonfactor in the Chicago series, primarily a tribute to Delly’s tenacity. And who can deny the importance of the 3 point shooting of James Jones? Although his points have not been overwhelming, his timing of those points has been critical for the Cavs success. And Kevin Love, before his untimely departure, had just delivered a dagger 3 point shot to put away Boston in a game.

Finally, the team has battled defensively to produce the best field goal percentage against statistic of any team left in the playoffs. That is partly a reflection of the teams they have played, but it doesn’t erase the fact that the Cavalier defense has been solid throughout. Mozgov’s rim protection has been second to none in the playoffs, and the Cavs are swatting shots away like flies on a hot summer day. Cleveland has some elite defenders (LeBron/Shumpert) on the floor much of the time and other competent and pesky defenders (Thompson/Dellavedova/Smith) to complement.

The team’s toughness has been tested and Cleveland has passed the test at every turn. Thompson jumping up after a fall on his shoulder that would have sidelined most players and Shumpert playing like a monster after a cheap close line attempt by Mirotic. Kyrie playing basically on one leg since early in the Boston series and “playing on one leg” is now even an exaggeration of his health given the current state of his formerly “uninjured” leg. Shumpert has continued to be an elite or near elite defender despite a groin pull that primarily saps a player’s ability to laterally move and defend. Cleveland’s depleted bench basically outplayed the vaunted “depth” of the Chicago Bulls that so many pointed to as the difference in that series.

When the roster and each player in the rotation is judged thus far, there is not one who isn’t stepping up in these playoffs. One could point to Perkins, Miller, and Marion but they have played so little as a group that it is hard to even count them as a part of these playoffs. Their time may yet come but it is unfair to judge them at this point. It should be quite obvious to anyone who objectively measures these playoffs that the Cleveland Cavalier players AND coaches have stepped up big time when it has counted most leading to an 8-2 record in these playoffs. Yet, despite this record and despite the grit and determination shown by this team, they will be discounted by the pundits and picked to lose against the Hawks. Las Vegas will have no such bias and may look at the series differently, but that is what you will hear from the “experts” on TV and radio.

Disregarding the naysayers is very difficult for Cleveland fans. They have been kicked around so much it is kind of like the horrific “battered wife” syndrome that sadly occurs in society. But it is important for Cavs fans to look at the facts that their team is VERY hard to beat. They have the best player in every series (and would have the second best player in most except for injury) and a team that is stepping up to the challenge and not wilting under the playoff pressure. This team is NOW vastly better than the sum of it’s parts. It is developing the togetherness and toughness needed for a champion. Again, there is no guarantee that they win the Eastern Conference or the NBA Championship. But make no mistake about it, they are developing the identity of champions! Cleveland should celebrate that during this next series and hopefully beyond. In case you forget how Ohio teams can be so easily disregarded, think of the 2014/15 Ohio State Buckeye football team. They had repeated injuries to the most important position on the field and came out National Champions. They were discounted at every turn as inferior to the competition. They won. It can happen again. Hold on!!

ALL IN – TOGETHER – Can #Cavs Fans Embrace The Concept After Game #4?

We just experienced another type of “shot” in Cleveland sports. One that actually won us a game and put us firmly back in a series that was looking kind of rough. After one of the best shots in Cleveland sports history, what do we see on Twitter, in the media, and during the television commentary? A whole ton of time focused on Blatt trying to call a timeout when he had none and being stopped before the officials saw it. Another large chunk of time spent on the last out of bounds play that Blatt tried to call and LeBron overruled by asking for the ball. Additional time spent on how it was “fortunate” the Cavs had time to draw up a play while the officials looked at the time left on video. This is just another example of the Cavs media, social media, and national media focusing on what divides the Cleveland Cavaliers instead of what binds them. I am not questioning the fact that some of these things are interesting and worthy of some comment. But I am questioning the way they dominated the post-game talk and social media instead of the fact the Cavaliers won a hard fought game and James made a shot for the ages in Cleveland post-season history.

Let me provide an alternative narrative!

The Cleveland Cavaliers had their backs against the wall today in the hostile environment of the United Center in Chicago. A loss would put them down 3-1 in a series that would be slipping away as fast as an ice cube on a glass mountain. The Cavs have fought an uphill battle throughout this series with an injury plagued roster. The injury rolls have continued to expand and show no signs of stopping. Despite this unfortunate set of circumstances, the Cavaliers and Bulls have put together a spirited and competitive series. The Bulls even decided to join the fun by losing their All Star power forward Pau Gasol to an injury keeping him out of game 4. To gauge this series by “what ifs” based on who is injured or seriously impaired would be an insult to the effort and professionalism displayed on the court in this series.

It is a hard fought series. It is very physical. But, as has been noted many times by coach Blatt, it is not a dirty series or unnecessarily physical. This is a credit to both teams. Both for how well they are coached and how professional they play. This also makes for some darn competitive games that are fun to watch. Both team’s mega stars have now made huge buzzer beater shots to win games.

The Cavs have needed to make adjustment after adjustment in this series. The suspension for JR Smith combined with the large number of injuries has kept the Cavs in an inconsistent rotation. Coach Blatt has needed to find significant contributions from his bench and ways to match up with a variety of adjustments made by Thibodeau for Chicago. The adjustments made by Blatt have, on balance, been excellent and those made for game 4 were even better than previous.

The decision to play Timofey Mozgov for almost 39 minutes, far more than in any game previously, was a brilliant way to create mismatches and keep rim protection in the game most of the time. He was unbelievably efficient with 15 points on only 5 shots and 8 foul shots. He also had 3 assists and 3 blocked shots. His presence was felt from start to finish. JR Smith was given significant minutes but not excessive while trying to get his game legs and wind back after a long layoff. His contribution in the fourth quarter was critical toward bringing the series back to Cleveland tied 2-2. Although some could question playing a hobbled Kyrie Irving almost 41 minutes, LeBron James explained how he always has to be accounted for by the opposing team because of his ability to make shots. Mathew Dellavedova has been used about 16 minutes per game and has been very effective in his limited role. His game 4 performance was probably his least effective, but he has played good defense especially against Brooks, who has been essentially a nonfactor in this series.

The Cavaliers played hard, especially in Chicago. This is again a tribute to the quality of Blatt’s coaching and the quality of the player’s professionalism and togetherness. The Cavaliers have truly had each others backs, whether it has been a teammate or a coach. LeBron has earned the right to ask for the ball at the end of a game and Blatt was happy to accommodate. Did Blatt repeat a near mistake from earlier in the year where he tried to call a timeout when none were left? Yes he did. But his assistant coaches, specifically Tyrone Lue, saved him from that fate by having his back. That is one of the main jobs of the assistant head coach to support the head coach and reduce the chance of mistakes. To act like Lue doing his job was some kind of miracle save is putting too much emphasis on too little. That being said, if Blatt ever tries that again, I’ll be all over his case. But in this game, his excellent adjustments and ability to keep the team in focus during very disruptive times far exceeds any presumed problems in his inbound plays or time out management.

And, while we are on an alternative narrative to negativity, I think the decision by Blatt to draw up a play with James taking the ball out made perfect sense. James had not been able to make shots. Had made multiple mistakes down the stretch creating turnovers that hurt the team. He admitted all of this after the game. LeBron is a great decision maker and should be the most reliable inbounder. So you could argue that Blatt was simply sending a message to LeBron to get his shit together or these would be the plays drawn up. LeBron, saying “No” to that message, called for the ball. Blatt said, “Sure, let’s do that”. LeBron makes the shot. All is good. It is almost impossible to coach a superstar. It is even more impossible to coach a generational superstar. Blatt will get few chances to send a message without his superstar shutting him out. Blatt sent the message. LeBron held himself accountable and answered the challenge. So, regardless of whether I am right about this narrative or wrong, the result was positive and Cleveland is tied 2-2.

And, in case you wonder, I am not the only one who felt a play at the end of the game with LeBron inbounding was the correct play. But that doesn’t matter, if the generational superstar asks for the ball to take the shot, that’s the play that should be called. LeBron was right AND, in my opinion, so was Blatt.

It took a great effort from the Cleveland Cavaliers to retake home court in this series. The Bulls fought hard and showed skill and resiliency. However, their offensive lapses are not unexpected given their regular season history and playoff history this year. That, coupled with the Cavs underrated defense, means that the Cavaliers can expect to see more of those lapses and need to take advantage of each and every one of them. The Bulls will not go away. The series will likely remain tight. But, as I have repeatedly said, if the Cleveland Cavs play with energy and effort they are the better team. They now have home court back and a tiny bit of momentum. Let’s hope that carries through and they can actually field a full team to face the Bulls. I am hoping upon hopes that Pau Gasol is healthy and returns to game 5. I missed him in game 4 and want him back. The Cavs don’t need the Bulls to be injured. Better to win with them healthy.

We come up with pretty good rallying cries in Cleveland. The season started with a great one called “Together” and is finishing with another pretty good one “All IN”. For anyone that doesn’t know, this idea actually was promoted, if not originated, from the Cavalier radio color commentator Jim Chones. Jim is a former Cavalier that many feel could have helped win us a championship if healthy. He has been using that catch phrase all season in his post-game and in-game commentary. Both ideas are intended to bring a sense of solidarity between the city, the fans and the team. It is my opinion that, if you are truly a fan of the Cavaliers and Cleveland sports, we should embrace the concept and move forward with a positive sense of purpose. It is fine to disagree. It is fine to debate. It is fine to be uncertain and fearful this team might lose despite their talent. If is fine to even be unhappy about how things are done and question. But, in the final analysis, for Cleveland to get their elusive championship it is not in any of our best interests to be “realistically” negative and focus on why Cleveland won’t win. For us to break through this wall of negativity and win, WE need to believe. No matter how “unrealistic” we think it is. Why don’t we all embrace the concept? The Cavs are still the better team. We should be ALL IN …………… TOGETHER !!! Try it if you haven’t yet. You’ll feel good believing in what could be instead of what might not be.

ALL IN – TOGETHER – Can #Cavs Fans Just Embrace The Concept ??

I am writing this just before game 4 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. I don’t pretend to know who will win that game. I do know that, if the Cavs lose, the mountain of negativity will be almost too hard to fathom. It is for that reason I wanted to put this out there quickly.

I have been a consistent member of Cavs Twitter and Cleveland sports social media for several years now. One thing that has me baffled, even though I know the possible reasons, is the way sound minded people simply throw negativity out there like a badge of honor about Cleveland sports. Those folks frequently cover their negativity in a blanket of their being “realistic”. Well if you were a betting person, you would take those “realistic” odds every day because the fact is that Cleveland teams have not been particularly successful with no championships in 50 years. So I guess being sour and negative is being realistic in a practical sense. However, if we wanted to be “realistic” all the time, why root for sports teams to begin with?? Unless your team is a prohibitive favorite, you are never being realistic when you root for the team or even believe that they will win. So I guess, while you are secretly being “unrealistic” with your support, you spout landscapes of realism to the rest of us to prove that you are knowledgeable and realistic while the rest of us are just “fanatical” idiots.

Just recently I read a tweet from someone I consider a good fan who made a big point about how he was “right in November” when he told all of us that David Blatt was playing LeBron, Kyrie, and Love too many minutes and that is why the Cavs are breaking down like Lego blocks now. The reality is that the same three players that “oracle” twitter tweeter referred to played as a group 440 more minutes the previous year than they did this year when Blatt “overplayed” them. And only one of the three, the youngest Irving, played more minutes than the previous year. What we all do know is that the media was hammering Blatt and the Cavs on the same issue throughout the early part of the season. So, my question is whether this fan is being logical and realistic or simply trying to find a negative to spout before the Cavs lose game 4 and have a mountain to climb. I don’t know the answer but I think Cavs fans and Cleveland sports fans need to begin to embrace the positive and try to “will” the Cavs home with positive rather than negative energy.

We come up with pretty good rallying cries in Cleveland. The season started with a great one called “Together” and is finishing with another pretty good one “All IN”. For anyone that doesn’t know, this idea actually was promoted, if not originated, from the Cavalier radio color commentator Jim Chones. Jim, a former Cavalier and one who many feel could have helped win us a championship if healthy. Both ideas are intended to bring a sense of solidarity between the city, the fans and the team. It is my opinion that, if you are truly a fan of the Cavaliers and Cleveland sports, we should embrace the concept and move forward with a positive sense of purpose. It is fine to disagree. It is fine to debate. It is fine to be uncertain and fearful this team might lose despite their talent. If is fine to even be unhappy about how things are done and question. But, in the final analysis, for Cleveland to get their elusive championship it is not in any of our best interests to be “realistically” negative and focus on why Cleveland won’t win. For us to break through this wall of negativity and win, we need to believe. No matter how “unrealistic” we think it is. Why don’t we all embrace the concept? The Cavs are still the better team. We should be ALL IN …………… TOGETHER !!! Try it for a change. It might give you a good feeling.