Cavs to win it all, unless they don’t

We take a break now from our Bucks playoff coverage, which has found many Bucks fans living and dying vicariously through Ray Allen jumpshots and wondering why the Bucks ever let the Hawks sign Zaza Pachulia (Slickless Larry Harris again, in that fateful 2005 offseason; it’s not as though Zaza was expensive. How could anyone think Dan Gadzuric was the better investment?) The NBA postseason is littered with “what ifs” for Bucks fans.

That’s why I’ve put in a call to my old friend, Al in Ohio, whose Cleveland Cavaliers knocked out the Washington Wizards over the weekend, in front of the Wiz home fans. Al let it ring five times before answering, probably trying to decide whether or not he wants to bring down his Cavs buzz by talking to a fan of the beleagured Bucks.

“You’re not calling about that Michael Redd trade again, are you? Lebron says he’s thinking about changing his cell phone number.”

“Naw, I’m just checking in to remember what it’s like to be an NBA fan with your team in the playoffs.”


“Al, you still there?”

“Just hold on, J-Mo, I’m about to say something profound.”

“OK …uh …. Al?”

“The Cavs will win the NBA title this year! …”

“That’s the spirit! They’ve got just as much chance as anyone!”

“Unless they lose before then. They’re playing brilliantly, except when they don’t.”

“Al, you guys along Lake Erie still smarting from the elections? What happened to the bravado? You’ve got King James, and he ought to give you some confidence.”

“LeBron is once again showing that he may or may not be the greatest player ever. I also predict that when LeBron is 38, he will not be the player he is at 23. He will, in fact, be older.”

“Man, you should hear how Lakers fans are barking about Kobe. They’re demanding that Steve Nash hand both of his MVP’s back to the league for further review. And, according to Lakers fans, IT’s OVER – the Lakers won the title months ago. Anyone who disagrees is a HATER.  What gives?”

“I’m trying to preserve my status as basketball genius.”

“Al, there’s only one basketball genius in the world, and he’s sooo smart he actually gave Larry Brown his 300th coaching job last week.”

“I’m putting in my application for His Airness’s abandoned mantle.”

“But what about the Celtics? You Cavs fans almost got to see the Hawks in the semis!” (Well, not quite almost.)

“The Cavs still have a good chance, unless they blow it. The Celtics (or the Pistons) just don’t have that ‘one guy’ like Lebron who can will his team to win. Lebron has this Jordan-like ability to just decide he doesn’t want to lose. Look at game six against Washington: 27 points, 13 rebounds, 13 assists. Exhorting his teammates during time outs – in a hostile arena. Cavs win. The guy is one of those once-in-a-decade players. The Celtics aren’t the near-lock for the finals that many people thought.”

“They sure don’t look like it, Al. I’m rooting for Ray and Sam ‘I Am’, don’t get me wrong, but the Celtics looked all-too-beatable against the Hawks, especially when Ray had bad shooting nights. Against the Cavs, Paul Pierce will be busy guarding Lebron, or trying to. And Garnett has all he can handle in the paint with Big Ben, Z-Ilgauskus and Anderson Varejao. It could get ugly.”

” Garnett, Pierce and Allen … for all their talent, have never been as far in the playoffs as LeBron has.”

“Hold on Al – Ray’s in the finals if Big Dog hits that shot in 2001 game five and the refs don’t steal that game and game three from us. The better team lost.”

“Don’t bring me down with that persecuted small market team Bucks fan thinking — it’s 2008 and we’re talking Cavs and Lebron!  If they beat the Celtics, we’ll probably see a repeat of last year, against the Spurs.”

“You don’t sound too encouraged. But then, the Spurs do have that affect on the NBA. How do they keep winning? Doesn’t anyone on that team ever get tired or hurt?”

“No one knows, but if you count them out, they win it all. Count them in, and maybe they lose.”

“That’s playoffs thinking Al!  I remember that stuff. But you forgot about Detroit.”

“The Pistons are up to no good, as usual. They’re trying to steal our underdog status in these playoffs. ”

“Well, your Cavs did beat them last year and the Pistons have not proven that they can take Lebron in a seven-game series, not now anyway.”

“Yeah, but our team is from Cleveland. Doesn’t that count for anything anymore?”

“Not in the rust belt, Al, not in the rust belt. Just look at the team we’ve got in Milwaukee.”

“Don’t want to J-Mo. And I gotta go … before you and your Bucks kill my Cavs buzz.”

“Wait Al!  About that Michael Redd tra–“


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