Posts Tagged ‘Cleveland Cavaliers’

After a long off-season with some insane storylines: (*Author’s note: Bron-Bron goes back to Cleveland, Phil takes the helm in NYC, Kobe and Derrick Rose prepare for their returns, and the Cavaliers prove that they are the NBA equivalent to Meatloaf and will do anything for Love.) the NBA season has finally arrived.  I’m sure, if you’re a hoophead like me, you’ve already pored over a 20 or more previews and watched as dozens of talking heads asked “The Important Questions” about this upcoming NBA season.

So I decided I’d take a little more outside the box approach.  I’d take a look at five storylines that may or may not be flying underneath the radar and investigate them.  Here are 5 questions that simply must be asked before the NBA season goes into day 2.

1.  Whose hair will get talked about the most in Cleveland: LeBron James or Anderson Varejao?

Anderson Varejao has come strong with his token-black-guy-in-High-School-Musical hair for the past few seasons.  Does it kind of look like the Brazilian hair version of the confetti that comes out of those toy champagne-poppers that people bust out for New Year’s Eve?  Yeah.  Does it flop oh-so-gloriously, like Pau Gasol trying to draw a charge in the low block?  Definitely.  Varejao’s stat line usually includes a triple double when he’s playing: points, rebounds, and times spent tossing his hair like model doing a “wind-blown” look in front of a power fan.

LeBron’s hair, like everything else about LeBron James, was highly scrutinized this offseason.  If you think about LeBron’s hair like a Civil War battlefield (*Author’s note: you know, like a normal person) it seemed like the front lines of LeBron’s hair were gradually ceding precious ground to the inevitable reverse Kareem-ing that seemed to be happening.  The head band on his dome kept moving back, gradually sliding towards making him look like he was wearing an NBA yarmulke that came with the sun roof option.  But for a brief moment this year, Bron-Bron called for reinforcements.

Photo Courtesty of Eonline.com

He got hair plugs.  His hairline made a dramatic, suicide charge, that had Twitter imploding in on itself like a dying supernova as LeBron suddenly looked like a new man.  But then?  Just like that: poof.  The new hair was gone again.  It had Nightcrawler’d (*Author’s note: the character from X-Men, not Jake Gyllenhall) out of the picture, teleporting off of LeBron’s dome.  Did he unplug like a rapper doing an acoustic set on MTV?  Had the Twitter backlash driven his new follicles to a full-on retreat?  We may never know.  But it’ll be something that’s totally worth watching.

2.  Where will Kobe hide the body of Swaggy P after he inevitably murders him?

That the situation in LA is a mess is hardly a secret.  I’m not sure if they’ve already copyrighted the term, “Blunderbuss” to describe how great Jerry’s son Jimmy has done running the franchise, but if they haven’t I’m going to send off a quick e-mail to the US Patent Office.  What will make a disgustingly unwatchable Lakers team infinitely more watchable this year?  The fact that Kobe Bryant is back.

And not only is Kobe back, but he’s in full on crotchety old man, I-don’t-give-a-fuck-because-I’m-a-veterans-veteran and make Rip van Winkle look like a rookie, mode.  So what happens when Kobe, and all his mamba-venom, run into Swaggy P and all his long-two-point-jacking bravado?  It could get ugly.  Since Swaggy P is essentially a 3rd-world-poor man’s Kobe and he has become a pseudo-celeb based on the fact that he’s dating Iggy Azalea, it could lead to a fascinating power struggle.

Trains

Photo Courtesy of: I’m sure you can tell I just crappily photoshopped this myself.

But let’s be honest: the struggle won’t last long.  We all know that Kobe’s competitiveness borders on homicidal.  So when he ends up drowning Swaggy P in the training room cold tub, after the Swagster goes 4-19 from the field at some point this year, the question will be this: where will Kobe stash his body?

4 Potential hiding places:

  • Wherever Jim Buss hides all of his “mistakes.”
    • A dude like Jimmy Buss isn’t going to live a completely clean life.  That much we can rightly assume.  So what do his “handlers” do when the Blunderbuss fires off an errant round and they need to dispose of the evidence?  I’m sure they have a secret passageway underneath the Staples center to spirit out bodies.  And we know Kobe would have access to these.
  • Smush Parker’s house.
    • Kobe and Smush have had a simmering, sometimes boiling, feud. And what better way for psycho-Kobe to exact his revenge (*Author’s note: other than, you know, just having no one else on the planet give a damn about Smush Parker – which has already happened.) than by a classic Hollywood Noir frame-job.
  • The Medieval German Castle Dungeon Laboratory where Kobe gets his strange knee injections.
  • Donald Sterling’s basement.
    • Because everyone would just assume Sterling did it.  I know I would.

3.  Will the 76ers play so bad that we retro-actively are declared the losers of the Revolutionary War and we have to give back thirteen states to Great Britain?

There’s a legitimate chance.  Have you seen their lineup? It’s a crew so Motley that Tommy Lee should be playing the drums.  They’ve got guys you’ve never heard of.  Young dudes who have names you can’t pronounce.  Michael Carter-Williams is their best player and he has a name like a serial killer and shoots 40% from the field.  While the team has a few young pieces with some upside, they appear to be doomed to another season so far at the bottom of the standings that they’re somewhere below the Earth’s crust.  The one bonus? Nerlens Noel, rocking a flat top the size of a small mountain peak on his dome.  (*Author’s note: and that’s trying really hard for a silver lining.)

4.  Will Chris Bosh continue his slow metamorphosis into a Velociraptor before our very eyes?

Duh.

(*Author’s note: It’s time for you to start lining up your Jurassic World jokes, Twitter.  The season is back, the next installment of the Jurassic Park franchise is off and running, and Chris Bosh is probably going to continue Chris Boshing his way around the court.  Personally, I don’t know if the Heat will let Bosh have enough time off from the team to finish shooting his scenes as a stunt double for the velociraptors, and that could lead to some conflict.  Get.  Your.  Popcorn. Ready.)

5.  Will reigning technical foul king Boogie Cousins get out-teched by Larry Sanders?

Boogie seems to have troubles with the refs.  I’m not sure if this stems from the fact that he’s a post player who consistently thinks he’s getting hacked (*Author’s note: a hallmark of good NBA post players is their insistence that they’re being fouled and their willingness to get T-ed up for it. Hell, even not-good NBA post players get a lot of techs.  See: Perkins, Kendrick.) or if he’s just got a lousy attitude, but whatever the reason, Boogs has lead the league in techs for 2 straight seasons and finished second 3 years ago to the aforementioned king of posturing/scowling, Perkins.

But someone is coming for Boogie’s belt.  Someone equally tatted and equally trialed-and-tribulated by the officiating community.  Someone who once racked up a whopping 14 T’s of his own 2 seasons ago in a mere 71 games and who will be an what appears to be a super frustrating scenario buried in the frozen tundra of Milwaukee.  That’s right, baby!  I’m talking about none other than Larry F-ing Sanders!  If you doubt Mr. Sander’s ref-taunting technique, or don’t think anyone can hang with Boogie’s panache in the ref-flouting business: ladies and gentleman of the jury, please let me submit to you my favorite ejection of all time not involving an NBA fist fight.

Gif Provided via Deadpsin.com and, apparently @wiz_spurtin

Last night the Cleveland Cavaliers landed the 1st overall selection in the NBA draft.  Again.

I know what you’re saying to yourself: how in the hell is this possible?  Is this some kind of weird, elaborate Jimmy Kimmell prank?  How is it even remotely conceivable that I can be uttering the words, “Man, Cleveland is so lucky”?

Let’s be honest, the only thing less likely than the Cavs snagging the first place in line in the Wiggins/Jabari Parker/Embiid sweepstakes is a musical about Jesus that stars JC Chasez, a dude from Incubus, and the least-cool person from Destiny’s Child.

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(*Author’s note: okay, bad example.)

But it happened.

What we need to try to do is find out why?  Was it dumb luck?  Sabermetrics getting imploded, like an old sports stadium, before our very eyes?  Or was there something else going on?

Here are five ideas on how the Cavs may have gotten another shot at first-pick redemption.

1.  Let’s start with the obvious.  Dan Gilbert has taken out a second mortgage on his soul and this little personal re-financing is being handled directly by the Devil.  It just makes too much sense.  Does the Devil love bow ties, slicked back hair and mortgage lenders?  Do I even need to answer that?  Does he like to meddle in desperate moments being handled by desperate men?  Yup.  I mean, hell, I would bet even the Devil felt a little guilty about how badly his last soul-purchase from Gilbert went (See: Bennett, Anthony).  My first guess on how this happened?  He gave Mr. Gilbert a Satanic Mulligan.

Dev

2.  Adam Silver is angling for a cameo in the next Uncle Drew ad as Uncle Drew’s zany lawyer friend “Litigation Larry.”  When he realized all he had to do was rig the draft lottery to get Kyrie a little help, he was all in.

Silv

3.  Johnny Manziel sent a text message to the Ping Pong balls telling them he wanted to see Cleveland tear up the league this year.

4.  And now, an excerpt from Adam Silver’s conversation with his mentor David Stern during last night’s draft:

Silver: “Whoa.  Déjà vu.”
Everyone around both men freeze right in their tracks, Stern pauses in mid-bite of a pig in a blanket.
Stern: “What did you just say?”
Silver: “Nothing.  Just had a little déjà vu.”
Stern: “What happened?”
Silver: “A draft lottery just happened, and then another that looked just like it.”
Stern: “How much like it?  Was it the same draft?”
Silver: “It might have been.  I’m not sure.”
Stern: “A déjà vu is usually a glitch in the Matrix.  It happens when they don’t change anything.”

Glitch

 

5.  Deep in the bowels of the Illuminati-controlled Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, there is a secret sect that exists for one purpose and one purpose only: complete and utter domination of the human race.  They plan on using their fiendish influence to bring in a human specimen for bio-genetic mutation experimentation.  But they need someone strong.  And tall.  And fast.  They need someone of unparalleled athletic ability to withstand the rigors of their mad-scientist plan.  They need Andrew Wiggins.  Tapping into their resources they were able to get the NBA Draft lottery rigged, landing their hometown franchise the first overall pick and thereby triggering the first in a series of events that could tear apart the fabric of all humanity.

But unbeknownst to them there is one man who can break into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, decipher the invisible runes buried in the inner stitching of John Lennon’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band jacket and bring down this evil ring of vicious miscreants.  That man?  I think you already know who he is.

Ni

FIN

LeBron James’ “The Decision” was a 1 hour televised pistol-whipping to the collectively miserable psyche of Cleveland sports fans.  Last Tuesday, “King James” headed back to greet his former peons at Quicken Loans Arena.

It was the second time LeBron had taken his talents back to Cleveland since he left under heavy criticism.  The first trip the Heat scorched the Cavs to the tune of a James-led curbstomping that sent the Cavs into a “Blackhawk Down” style, tailspinning nightmare which crash-landed them into the boneyard of all-time bad teams.  The 2010-11 season saw Cleveland turn into the dirty rug of the league, constantly getting the dust beat out of them.

The Heat, heralded by some as a super team worthy of 70+ wins and by others as a whole lot more hyperbole than substance, have proven that both sides of the spectrum are right in one way or another.  They’re inconsistent.  In fact, they’re consistently inconsistent.  They have Space Mountained their way through several tough losing streaks and a few impressive winning streaks as well.

While they’ve had well-documented trouble beating upper echelon opponents they have been decisively smoking patsies like the Cavaliers all year.

And then Tuesday happened.

Cleveland, woefully inadequate in both scoring and defensive stats, hadn’t won a game by 10 or more points all year.

And then Tuesday happened.

LeBron and the Heat headed to Cleveland feeling like rockstars.  Calling themselves “The Heatles,” they landed their roadies, possies, and PR agents on the tarmac of LeBron’s former town feeling ready to deliver another defacto performance; to drive a #6 labeled stake into the hearts of the staggering undead that is the Cleveland franchise.

But in a city that houses the Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame, “The Heatles” played more like an Air Supply cover band than a group worthy of any kind of enshrinement.  Suffice it to say, LeBron was “All Out of Love.”  (*Author’s Note: Shoot me.  Seriously.  I think that’s a new Burnpoetry record for lamest name drop of a song.  Ever.)

LeBron’s troubles started early Tuesday evening.  As the Heat’s team bus was pulling up to head into the arena, LeBron and his crew were attempting to sneak in in-coward-nito through the back parking garage.  The LeBrontourage was spotted rolling in an Obama-worthy cavalcade of multiple SUV’s but were turned away by security.

I’m not saying that LeBron was scared to come in the front door. . .but LeBron was scared to come in the front door. 

However, can you really blame him?  If you were Benedict Arnold, would you want to pull your carriage up at the front gates of Mount Vernon or would you probably try to sneak around back to the slave quarters?

It got worse from there.

As the Heat prepared to have their team introductions read, and as they began to announce LeBron James’ height, weight, and high school “The Chosen One” chose to cop-out.  With a rolling thunder of boos cascading down, vibrating through the arena like a chorus of tribal war drums, LeBron was nowhere to be found.  Apparently Bron-Bron had to pee-pee.

When asked about his absence after the game LeBron said that he’d had to go to the bathroom.  He was defiant about his choice to hit the John at the exact moment when he would be basking in the unabashed hatred of 20,562 people, asking inquisitive media members if they “had a problem with that?!?”

Of course they did, LeBron.  At the moment when you were supposed to come out and rally your would-be bad boy image, show the icy contempt that made Jordan who he was and Kobe who he is, you copped out and popped a squat in your locker room.

Now, to be fair, maybe LeBron has a prostate issue.  Maybe he’s got a hot new endorsement deal for Beta Prostate and will be starring in a commercial about untimely pee breaks.

I’m not sure why, if LBJ had to take a pee, he couldn’t just go on the court.  He practically took a dump at center court last year when he completely gave up during the Cavs’ last playoff game in 2010.

The Cavs, however, came out motivated — they must have taken their bathroom breaks at the right time — and played with a ferocity and passion that has been sorely lacking since James’ departure. 

The Cavs won their first game by more than 10 points all year.  They exorcised a minor demon in the process, beating the man who beatdown the whole city last summer, and they allowed me to make a prostate joke in a sports post.  Thanks, the Cavs.

The Heat continued to look severely flawed, having their porous bench get outscored by nearly 30 points by the Cavs’ bench and they lost the chance to move up a spot to third in the Eastern Conference standings.

Now?  The playoffs loom large.  The question remains, will LeBron and company show up and deliver in the face of mass amounts of “we’re going to win 7 titles” self-hype, or will their season end up in the toilet like their superstar? 

FIN

 

After last season’s surprise, twist-ending that saw King James get bounced out of the playoffs by an aging Celtics squad, teams have been scrambling to get LeBron on their team.  The Knicks have pulled out all the stops, throwing their financial, celebrity and big city trappings at Lebron’s Niked-up feet.  The Chicago Bulls have thrown their lot into the mix as well, slashing and burning cap space like it was rainforest, and the Miami Heat seem intent on pitching Dwyane Wade as Eric Murphy to LBJ’s Vince.  The entire city of Cleveland has attempted to ask, or should I say beg, their greatest homegrown athlete of all time to stick around.  Where will LeBron end up?  Will he choose the beaches and thongs of Miami or the board rooms and penthouse suites of NYC?  Will Cleveland ever win anything?  These answers and more, in the LeBrontourage Season Premiere starting today on every sports network imaginable.

 New York: a bustling metropolis with well-known nicknames like “The City that Never Sleeps”, “The Capital of the World” and “The Place Where a Guy Tried to Sell Me a Fake Rolex and a Dime Bag in the Same Conversation.”  Alright, that last one was mine.  But that did happen.  New York is a place where LeBron could take his already astronomical net-worth and truly blast into a Jordan-esque tax bracket.  New York has the fabled Madison Square Garden, one of the most famed home courts for a team in history, and a star-studded, celebrity courtside crew.  LeBron and New York seem like a great match off the court.

But on the court?  New York is a bigger mess than a sorority girl on cheap-margarita night.  After she just got dumped.  They have plodded along to a 212-362 game record since LeBron’s joined the league.  That’s a 58% winning percentage and a meager 6% better than Shaq’s career free-throw percentage.  The best player on the Knicks is a Honky with two first names that I have to Google just to show people who he is.  Alicia Keys may sing that the city is a “concrete Jungle where dreams are made of” but the only thing concrete about the Knicks, is the way they move their feet on defense.

 What about the Chi, you might be saying?  Doesn’t the land of Obama and Oprah, Jordan and Joachim get any love in this whole contest?  The answer is “yes.”  The Bulls have made room for LeBron and have thrown off some of their lesser, overpaid talent to pave the way for him.  Would LeBron dare go to the Windy City where the G.O.A.T. once played, to suit up alongside a guy that he almost had an altercation with, in Joachim Noah.  The Bulls have a few pieces in place in Derrick Rose and the aforementioned Noah and can pick up one Max-contract free-agent but seem to be trailing the next team in the recent media blitz’s predictions on who’ll land James.

 The other team that is vying to take LeBron away from his home-state is the Miami Heat.  This team has been carried on Dwyane Wade’s ample back for the last few years and, needless to say he’s getting a little tired.  The city itself is another big-time market and all the team needs to do to lure LeBron’s gaze away from the dirty, cold streets of Cleveland is to kick open his limousine door and let him catch a whiff of the salt-tinged beach air.  All he needs to do is catch an eyeful of the perfect sand, rolling out its own version of a red carpet down to its never-cold-enough-to-need-the-15-winter-coats-you-are-required-to-have-in-Cleveland water.  Miami is gorgeous and boasts fast cars and wild times for the 25-year-old millionaire. 

But does it boast touches on the court?  Will LBJ and D-Wade work out together?  They seem compatible on the court, having done well together as teammates on Team U.S.A., and are legitimate friends.  But both are big time scorers and both guys are alpha males that lead their team.  Will Pat Riley come back and take over the Heat?  He seems to come back to coaching like a junkie to the pipe.  It would be tough for James to say no to a team with Bosh, Wade, and himself coached by one of the all-time greats in a climate where you don’t even need to wear long pants in January.  If LeBron doesn’t feel threatened by going to “Wade’s City” and “Wade’s Team” and if Wade doesn’t mind giving up a few late-game jumpers and a few groupie 3-ways to The King?  I’d watch out for the Miami Heat.

The last piece of this puzzle is Cleveland.  The Cavaliers can’t seem to work any general manager magic, make any moves that put the Cavs over the top, or ride the Bron-Bron express to the promised land.  For 2 straight seasons the Cavs have finished with the league’s best record and for 2 straight seasons they have been bounced before reaching the NBA finals.  James has played himself to back-to-back MVP trophies and they still can’t put it together around him.  Anderson Varejao is his best big-man and Varejao’s hair is usually more noteworthy than his stat line.  I LeBron leaves, he leaves behind a town and state that have adored him since he was 13 and suddenly takes the title “most hated man in his hometown of all time.”  A tough title to bear, for sure, but Cleveland is nearly maxed out and the best they could do would be to bring in a middling free agent in some kind of trade for Mo Williams or another guard.

No matter what LBJ chooses, LeBrontourage Season 7 promises to have all kinds of twists and turns.  Will it have the surprise ending that makes “Saw” seem predictable, like James heading to New Jersey?  Or will James choose Miami sand over New York skyscraper steel?  Tune in today as it all plays out.  Also, check out the mathematical equations that I have developed for each team in my post tomorrow.