5/27/09

The Curse of Cleveland Sports.

I’m not typically the type of person who is very superstitious. To me the whole idea of it is kind of childish. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll switch seats during a Cavs game for a little change of luck or lie to the wife and tell her the Browns only win when I watch the game at the bar, but that’s about the extent of my belief in superstition.

For arguments sake lets say its true that Cleveland Sports are cursed.

What exactly is a curse? Well according to Wikipedia:

A curse (also called execration) is any manner of adversity thought to be inflicted by any supernatural power, such as a spell, a prayer, an imprecation, an execration, magic, witchcraft, a god, a natural force, or a spirit.

The study of the forms of curses comprise a significant proportion of the study of both folk religion and folklore. The deliberate attempt to levy curses is often part of the practice of magic. In Hindu culture the Fakir is believed to have the power to bless and curse.


Cleveland hasn’t won a championship since the Browns won in 1964. So my feeling is the curse started sometime shortly after the 1964 football season. It couldn’t be the curse of Rocky Colavito, he was traded to Detroit in 1960. Could this be Jim Browns fault? He did shock everybody when he retired in 1965 to produce the World War II movie The Dirty Dozen. The timing works out, so it must be the curse of Jim Brown, right?

The next question I ask my self is how do you get rid of a curse? Boston apparently rid them selves of the Curse of the Bambino that plagued them for 86 years. How did they do it? How can Cleveland get rid of this curse?

1. Don’t Believe The Hype – This means as soon as all Cleveland fans believe that there is no such thing as a “curse” the “curse” will actually end! Sounds easy enough, right?

2. Consult A Shaman - Here we go. This sounds like a great idea. Shamans are able to communicate with the spirit world by creating special relationships with spirits. How do they do this, you may be asking? Well let me tell you. They use techniques that incite trance, such as singing, dancing, smoking, sword fighting, and drumming. There are only two problems I see with this method. 1. Shamans can actually worsen the curse. 2. Shamans are MYTHICAL CREATURES.

3. Say A Little Prayer – Simple. But my guess is at some point every Cleveland fan has asked for a favor from God regarding our sports teams. My guess is this method isn’t going to work. Nothing against God but some methods just don’t work for certain curses.

4. Eliminate The Source – I’m not even going to speculate what this method implies, nor do I condone any such actions. Maybe if Jim Brown would of went to Baltimore with Ozzie the curse would have been lifted.

So if The Catch, Red Right 88, The Drive, The Fumble, The Shot, and The Mesa all happened because of the curse. Its my feeling that the Curse of Cleveland isn't just a curse that causes us to lose in dramatic fashion but it is also a curse that makes us believe the curse has been lifted, a curse of false hope, a curse of deception.

5/26/09

Mo Better Be Right

Mo Williams recently guaranteed that the Cavaliers will advance past the Orlando Magic and into the NBA Finals. And the boys here at The Cleveland Sports Flow seem to disagree on a few things.

Ryan O'Ryan says:

He better be right.

Surely he didn't have a copy of his own stat sheet in his hand when he made that bold prediction. To put it nicely, Mo has struggled in this series. He's never really looked comfortable on the floor and he still seems to be looking for any kind of groove on offense. That doesn't seem like a justification to guarantee victory.

Mo is becoming the same kind of "villain" that Cleveland fans have loved to hate for years. He is even starting to sound reminiscent of an over-confident Rasheed Wallace with one of his many "Guran-Sheeds". Wallace guaranteed that the Cavs couldn't defeat the Pistons in 2007 on their way to making their first and only Finals appearance. During a post game interview after being eliminated in Game 6, Wallace proclaimed that the Cavs infact did not beat the Pistons but rather they beat themselves. Is this what we can expect to hear from Mo Williams if the Cavs are to be eliminated by the Orlando Magic?

Mo should have known better than to even put himself and his teammates in this position. He should know that nothing...and I mean NOTHING is ever guaranteed in Cleveland. It's the end of May and I can't even guarantee that there won't be a foot of snow on the ground tomorrow in Cleveland. Maybe that's a little far-fetched but you get my point. It's okay to be confident in yourself and your teammates, but don't allow it to come across as arrogance. That's when it comes back to bite you on the you-know-what.

There is one unwritten rule in professional sports that all players should follow: Never give your opponent an added incentive or "bulletin board material". That's what Rasheed Wallace did in 2007 and a young, inexperienced Cavs team shot the lights out and shot their way to the NBA Finals.

Sounds familiar, right?

The only difference now is that this Orlando team isn't young and it isn't inexperienced. If the Cavaliers aren't careful, they could find themselves looking for a place to put the blame, just like Rasheed Wallace in 2007.

Ben Jamin says:

I have never been a fan of the “GUARANTEE” it’s pompous, arrogant, and show’s no form of class. Just look at the people who are usually spiting the words out of they’re mouths. It’s usually loud mouths or players that don’t have the athletic ability to back it up.

Take for instance Rasheed Wallace who guaranteed a game two victory over the Pacers a few years ago, he also guaranteed a victory against the Cavs in 07’. Or how about the Orlando Magic? Jameer Nelson guaranteed a game five victory over the Pistons last year in the playoffs and this year the Magic’s assistant coach Patrick Ewing guaranteed a victory for Orlando in game seven against Boston. J.R. Smith just guaranteed the Nuggets would be in the Championship.

Of the five people mentioned, how many of them are going to win a game by them selves? NONE!

My point is that this is a typical statement, made by a player who can’t individually back it up. Just look at Williams stats against Orlando in this series, 18 – 56 from the field, that’s 31.1%. I average better than that in a church league played on a carpet court. But……..yes I said but, Mo has a right to think the Cavs will win this series.

Does the best record in the league mean anything? How about the fact that the Cavs have only lost 3 games at home all year? Oh, and btw, he has LeBron James standing next to him to bail him out. Come on you know LeBron James, he is the league MVP, you know, the best player in the league.

What did you want Mo to say?

“We could be done, I think Orlando will beat us in seven games”?

I don’t think so, and confidence shouldn’t be confused with arrogance!

Plus it's not like Mo was talking about Dwight Howard's mom.


(Photo courtesy of Tracy Boulian / The Plain Dealer)

5/22/09

Nate Robinson uses Twitter in His Dreams

As pointed out by one of our favorite sports news/rumors websites RealGM.com, Nate Robinson was busy "Tweeting" while watching Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Apparently little Nate used Twitter as a means to channel his inner Miss Cleo when he boldly posted the following tweet:




Just for fun, let's ignore the fact that Nate Robinson is a professional basketball player and not a 12 year old school boy posting on Twitter before his bed time (although there is a definite resemblance) and try to make sense of what he is trying to say.

According to Nate Robinson, if the Cavs bench doesn't help LeBron the Cavaliers will be eliminated from the playoffs and LeBron will be a New York Knick.

I'm going to give him a little credit because he is right that the bench needs to step up if the Cavs are going to get even tonight. Big time. Not only does the bench need to step up but the other 4 starters do as well. Even LeBron needs to step up and get his teammates involved more down the stretch instead of dribbling the shot clock out.

Obviously my beef isn't with the first part of this Tweet.

Doesn't little Nate know better than to wish something that horrible on another player in the league? For him to threaten LeBron like that is uncalled for and should be considered cruel and unusual. As if potentially losing in the Eastern Conference Finals wouldn't be painful enough for LeBron, according to Nate he will also be forced to instantly become a New York Knick and play for a team that is more dysfunctional than the football team in the current city of LeBron's residence.

And that kids is why you shouldn't use Twitter to create dreams. Even if your name is Nate Robinson and you are a 12 year old school boy posting on Twitter before your bed time.

Eric Mangini Compares Choosing a Starting QB to Proposing Marriage














Tony Grossi of the Cleveland Plain Dealer published a beautiful quote from new Browns headcoach Eric Mangini in Thursday's edition of the PD.

When asked if he has yet to set a timetable for when he will decide on a starting Quarterback, Mangini offered up this golden nugget of a quote:

"It's like popping the question . . . you just know."

You just know?

You just know that it's the right time choose a quarterback, or you just know it's the right time to ask somebody to share the rest of their life with you?

Because those two things are pretty much the same, right Coach Mangini?

Maybe he meant to say this:

"It's like when Bret Michaels gets down to the last two girls on Rock of Love.....you just know."

Surely that's a more realistic comparison, right Coach Mangini?

I wonder how his wife feels knowing that he uses the same strategy to pick his quarterbacks as he did deciding that it was time to make her "The One".

Hopefully Mangini makes the right decisions and the Browns become a successful franchise. If not, his relationship with the city of Cleveland may just end in divorce.

5/21/09

Joshua Cribbs Statement

Here is the statement Josh Cribbs made to jocklife.com in its entirety.

"I humbly and respectfully come to Browns’ fans and the Browns letting all know that I have given my all to this team, on and off the field for 4 complete years selflessly without regard to myself and my own family. I have sat by while good players came and went, either due to contracts or injury. I have witnessed a lot of families uprooted from their stable homes and forced to move wherever the money came in from. I realize that this is not a fair sport for the players, it is a business and we are products.

Contracts are one-sided in favor of the team, yet we as players are told to honor our contracts without the team honoring them. We are not doctors and lawyers, we don’t get paid for 25 years of work. If we are lucky, we get 10 years at best to make all the money we can to last the rest of our life. We sacrifice our bodies and our health to make our owners wealthy. I am not asking for nothing that I have not already earned and will continue to earn. This is not personal, but I have to be a man and take care of my family for not just a year or two, but for as long as I am walking this earth.

I have always given the Browns’ team and its fans respect and my loyalty. I have stepped into many different roles for the betterment of my team and have brought honor toCleveland, in the way that I play on the field, and serve in the community.

I have been blessed with this opportunity to be somebody and ask that I be treated and compensated on the level of my peers, fairly, according to my work completed, and on the promise that my future will brightly upheld in a manner gracious of this team and its fans.

I want nothing more but to wear the Browns’ logo on my chest until my career has come to an end, and I am deeply disappointed that the team I put my hard work, blood, sweat and tears in will just write me off as though I am collateral damage. I maintain that this is not personal to Coach Mangini, Mr. Kokinis, or Mr. Lerner, for this is a situation that I could not keep in any longer."

5/20/09

Cavs looking to prove something.

Tonight the Magic get a chance to prove they belong here and the Cavaliers get a chance to prove that they can get the job done in a tough game against a worthy adversary.

At least for now people consider Orlando a challenge, but if the Cavs manage to beat them in less than 5 games, all you’ll hear is that the Cavs haven’t been tested yet and they don’t have a chance against the West. You won’t hear the media saying how dominant the Cavs have been in the playoffs and you won’t hear NBA fans saying that the Cavs are the best team in the league. What you will hear is that the Cavs are untested and their record against top teams in the league show how weak this team is. Never mind the fact that going into the series against Orlando the Cavs are 8-0 in the playoffs and have won each game by double digits. I don’t care who you play, that kind of record in the playoffs says something about how good a team really is.

The Orlando Magic are a good team and they are coming into this series against the Cavaliers riding high. Why wouldn’t they be, they just knocked off the NBA champion Boston Celtics on the Celtics home court in a game 7. My question is why did it take so long to beat the Celtics? Weren’t they missing the best player on their team?

I think the key for the Cavs to be able to win this series is the defensive effort we will get from our backcourt. Containing Howard will be tough enough, but the ability to challenge shots on the perimeter could be the difference in the series and Mo and Delonte will need to step up. I expect Sasha to get some serious minutes because of his size. Wally will too, but he’s a little slower than Pavs. Don’t plan on Orlando getting as many open shots as they have so far in the playoffs either. If I was an Orlando fan I would also be worried about Hedo. He looked real nervous the first couple of games against Boston and if he has to guard LeBron he may lose all focus on the offensive side of the ball, which could put a big kink in Orlando’s plans.

The big advantage the Cavs have over Orlando is playoff experience. Both teams have a great supporting cast, but in the end it will come down to coaching and experience and I don’t think I even need to mention the MOP (master of panic) Van Gundy.

5/19/09

Cribbs Running Away From Mini-Camp

Cleveland Browns special teams ace Joshua Cribbs has made his living running away from would-be tacklers. Now he may just find himself running away from the Cleveland Browns if he doesn't get a new contract soon. Heading into the Cleveland Browns first voluntary full team mini-camp with new head coach Eric Mangini, it appears Cribbs, a Cleveland fan favorite, will be absent. Apparently there is a misunderstanding regarding a promise that was supposedly made by owner Randy Lerner.

Cribbs is upset that the Browns new brass has yet to make an attempt to address his current contract. Cribbs claims that Randy Lerner assured him after the old regime was fired that he would make good on Phil Savage's earlier promise that he "would be taken care of".

Earlier this week the Browns organization made this statement:

"Contrary to published reports this morning, no one from the current Browns organization, including Owner Randy Lerner, has ever made any promises to Josh Cribbs with regard to his contract status."

The bottom line here is that somebody isn't telling the truth. This statement obviously can’t be sitting well with Cribbs and can only cause more problems because the Browns are basically calling Cribbs a liar. In the past, Josh Cribbs has been nothing but a hard working player who always put the team's needs before his own. That isn't the type of player who would fabricate a story claiming that he was promised a raise when he wasn't.

On the outside it seems that Cribbs is Mangini's ideal type of player; hard working, all hustle, impact player and not a distraction in the locker room. It has been rumored that Mangini has shown interest in putting Cribbs on defense for 15-18 plays a game. Giving Cribbs a larger role outside of special teams could be the reasoning for the Browns heavy pursuit of former Tennessee Titans free-agent Chris Carr after last season. Carr eventually would sign with AFC North rival Baltimore.

If you can think back to 2005, Josh Cribbs was an undrafted running-style QB out of Kent State in the MAC. He put up crazy numbers with the ball in his hands while crushing MAC rushing records along the way. Back in 2005 B.W. (Before Wildcat), teams were afraid to take a chance on a QB who prefers to run before he throws so Cribbs found himself trying out for the Cleveland Browns while still living with his wife and kids in their small apartment just outside of campus in Kent, barely making enough money to pay the rent. Cribbs impressed Romeo Crennel and Phil Savage enough that he was added to the roster and signed his first NFL contract with the notion that he would most likely make his living as a specialist. His parents were still living back in his hometown of Washington, D.C. and his dream of being able to provide a better life for his family was about to come true. Cribbs wanted to secure his longterm financial future so in 2006 he signed a six year deal.

Although Cribbs has previously expressed some regret for tying himself down to a six year, $6.7 million cap-friendly contract, he has vowed to not let it affect his play as he spent the next 3 seasons proving that he is worth more than the modest contract he signed. He has since fired his previous agent and signed on with J.R. Rickert, who has informed the Browns to find a trading partner if a new contract can't be worked out for his client.

Cribbs has obviously outplayed his guaranteed salary of $645,000 that he will be due at the end of this upcoming season and it seems Mangini has shown interest in increasing his roll on the team. When you look at the $15 million that Chicago's Devin Hester was guaranteed with a chance to escalate to $40 million with performance incentives, it’s not hard to figure out why Cribbs and his agent are seeking a new deal. In a world where sports stars are getting disgustingly large amounts of money to play a game, Josh Cribbs honestly deserves more than what he's getting. In Chicago, Hester has already excelled in his role outside of special teams, while Cribbs has yet to prove he can be a dependable receiver and is waiting to be given a shot in the defensive secondary if needed.

Cribbs and his agent are taking a chance. The major questions are how far are Cribbs and Co. willing to go to get a new deal and how likely are the Browns to trade a talented young player who is under contract for the next four seasons? Stay tuned because this thing could get ugly!

Get the latest breaking news on this story as it happens by visiting:

5/18/09

Columnist warns Cleveland. Should we be scared? No.

I found an article that Gregg Doyle of cbs.sportsline.com wrote the other day and it made me cringe. This article claims the Cavaliers have no chance at winning the NBA title and I felt the need to address a couple of points that I feel he is way off on.

Careful, Cleveland. Your Cavaliers are riding high, which means you're riding high, and that's fine as long as you ride high with one realization:

Your team isn't winning the NBA title. Not this year.

So keep that in mind, or at least keep that possibility in mind, as your Cavs continue to destroy the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Have your confidence. Enjoy this ride. But understand that there are certain things you cannot say, certain ways you cannot act, unless you have the best team in basketball. And you do not.

I beg to differ. Doesn’t having the best record in the NBA give us the right to gloat about being the best team? Doesn’t holding opponents to a league low scoring avg. of 91.4 points per game give us reason to believe we are the best? Or how about the FACT that we had the best point
differential in the NBA at +8.9?

• Series: Cavaliers 3, Hawks 0

So don't let your alligator mouth overload your hummingbird ass.

Pot meet kettle!

Because the Cavaliers, as good as they are -- and they won 66 games this season, scorched Detroit in the first round of the playoffs, and are scorching Atlanta in the second round -- are not good enough to win the NBA title.

And I like Cleveland. Because I love
LeBron James. He's my favorite athlete in sports -- I'm allowed to have one, right? -- but I don't like his team. Not as an NBA champion. That's an insult to the champions who came before, none of which had a frontcourt as pathetic as Cleveland's.

Here's a list of NBA champions. Try to find a team that was good enough to win an NBA title yet was bad enough to start players like Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Anderson Varejao at center and power forward. You can't. Don't bother.

Most NBA champions have had someone like Shaquille O'Neal or Tim Duncan -- sometimes with David Robinson -- or Hakeem Olajuwon or the combination of Ben Wallace and Rasheed Wallace. Going back a little farther, NBA champions had big men like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (and James Worthy) or Robert Parish-Kevin McHale-Larry Bird or Moses Malone. Or even Jack Sikma. Wes Unseld. Bill Walton.

Since the NBA-ABA merger in 1976, the only exception to my Big Man Theory is the Chicago Bulls dynasty of Michael Jordan, and Cleveland fans are probably clinging to that exception like a drunk clinging to a barstool. Well, forget it. Sober up.

We will cling to it. There is more than one way to build a basketball team. When you have a player as good as Tim Duncan or Shaq or Hakeem, you build that team from the inside out. But when you have a Michael Jordan or LeBron James you build the team around them. You don't want somebody clogging the lane on this team. You want that area open, so you build your team with one of two things. Jump shooting big men or fast big men that can rebound. The Cavs have both of these players in Anderson and Z, that is why we won 66 games.

I'll give you this, that LeBron James is as good as Michael Jordan. Seriously. He is.

But Cleveland has no Scottie Pippen.

Hell, Cleveland doesn't even have 6-foot-10 Horace Grant, who was good for a double-double. And clearly Cleveland doesn't have Dennis Rodman, who was built like Wally Szczerbiak but averaged a Kareem-like 15.5 rebounds per game when the Bulls were winning titles from 1996-98.

Cleveland doesn’t need Pippen, Grant or Rodman. This Cleveland team has something that you can't put a pricetag on: chemistry - on and off the court. These players stand by each other, they trust each other, they feed off of each other and they are each other’s biggest fans. Each one of these players believes in the system and play their rolls to a T.

The only reason Pippen, Grant and Rodman were as good as they were, is because of Jordan. Don’t act like Rodman and Grant were great players either, together they went to 3 all-star games. The Cavs have Ben Wallace and Z, each with multiple all-star appearances.

So what I'm saying is this: If Cleveland is going to win an NBA title this season, with this roster, it will have to do something that has never been done: Win an NBA title without a great frontcourt, and without a great supporting cast for its superstar.

Hell, maybe LeBron is that good. Honestly, I wouldn't mind it. Wouldn't even mind being wrong about this particular column. I don't want LeBron to make the clich├ęd leap from small-market Ohio to New York. I live in Ohio, too, and I want him to stay -- but he has to think he can win it all to stay. Winning it all this season, one year before he becomes a free agent, surely would convince him to re-sign with the Cavaliers.

But this team has a major flaw, one that general manager Danny Ferry hasn't corrected. He did fabulous work to acquire Mo Williams, Delonte West and Szczerbiak to play alongside James, and the result was 66 wins. Only 12 teams have won 66 games in the regular season, and since the NBA-ABA merger only one failed to win the title: Dallas, in 2006-07. Guess what that Dallas team didn't have? A great frontcourt. Dirk Nowitzki is 7-0 and brilliant, but the Mavs' inside players were Erick Dampier and DeSagana Diop. And you don't win an NBA title with Erick Dampier and DeSagana Diop.

The Cavs have been second in the league in rebounds the past 2 years. That alone tells you our frontcourt isn’t terrible, plus Z does plenty of scoring. Why would Ferry go out and waste money building up the front court when the Cavs obviously have struggled shooting the outside jumper in past years. This team needed Delonte and Mo “Flo” so defenses couldn’t double LeBron all the time. What Ferry did is gave LeBron a couple jump shooters he could rely on. This includes Z’s spot on jumper.

Nor do you win one with Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Anderson Varejao. No, I take that back. A team could very well win an NBA title with Ilgauskas and Varejao, but only if they're coming off the bench. If those guys are your backups at center and power forward, you have a formidable team. If they're the best you've got? Yuck. Ilgauskas is 7-3 and still plays below the rim, lacking the fast-twitch muscles to do anything but spot up and shoot. Varejao has muscle and effort but no skill. Backups Joe Smith and Ben Wallace? They're done. Their gas tanks are empty. This isn't 2004.

As I agree that Anderson is not a legitimate starter at PF but to say that Z should come off the bench is ridiculous. Z is still a force in the NBA and has played a huge role in getting the Cavs where they are today. I can almost guarantee that teams hate playing against Anderson, he is like an annoying gnat, and hustles till the end. He may not be the most talented player but his hustle and unwillingness to quit more than makes up for it.

And this isn't conjecture, people. This is fact. Look who's left in the East: Orlando and Boston. And look who has been most likely to come out of the West: the Lakers or Rockets. All four of those teams have, or had, great size. Orlando has Dwight Howard, Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis. Boston had Kevin Garnett, plus some Ilgauskas-and-Varejao pieces like Kendrick Perkins, Glen Davis and Leon Powe. Houston: 7-6 Yao Ming. The Lakers: Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom.

Cleveland played those four teams, when those teams were at full strength, a total of 10 times this season.

And lost seven.

Think about it. Against everyone else in the NBA, including the playoffs, Cleveland is 73-9.
Against Boston, Orlando, Los Angeles and Houston -- arguably, teams with the NBA's best four frontcourts -- Cleveland is 3-7.

By my count the Cavs were 4 – 7, and Z was out for 3 of those loses and Wallace was out for a couple also. So of the 10 times those teams were at full strength, 5 of them the Cavs weren’t at full strength. So do some research before you make stupid arguments that hold no weight.

Cleveland has caught a break in two of those cases. Garnett (knee) is out for Boston, and Ming (foot) is done in Houston. But that still leaves Orlando and Los Angeles. In five games this season, Cleveland went 1-4 against the Magic and the Lakers.

And those are the teams between Cleveland and an NBA title.

Hey, Cavs fan:
Don't hate me because I'm right.

You are right? You are so right in fact that you forgot to include the Denver Nuggets as one of the teams between Cleveland and the title. I bet you the Lakers won't forget about Denver when it's all said and done. Why let the facts get in the way of a good argument? You didn't use very many facts for all of your other points.

5/11/09

Indians are Worst in MLB. Nobody Cares.

Let's face it. The Cleveland Indians suck. Period. We can't hit. We can't score runs. We can't put a single run on the board for our ace. We can't throw out runners in a close game. We can't hold runners. We can't hold leads. We can't save games. It's May and while the season isn't anywhere near over, it will be very soon if things don't completely turn around. We are talking 180 degrees. Is that going to happen? Not likely.

With all that said, our question is this: Who cares?!

Don't get us wrong, we don't enjoy it when when one of our teams is the WORST TEAM in their respective sport (as of this morning). We don't appreciate the fact that the Washington Nationals are making the Indians look like a AAA ball club.

It's the simple fact that the team playing across the street at Quicken Loans Arena has all but erased the Indians and their many struggles from the minds of Cleveland sports fans with their flawless execution on offense and defense. Does anybody really care that Grady Sizemore struck out 3 times when LeBron James is putting up 47 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists in one of his best playoff performances ever? At this point, the Indians could call up 15 players from AAA Columbus and trade all of their struggling veterans and few would even notice. Ok, so we would notice. But would we care?

Game 4 is tonight and the Cavs have a chance to sweep the Hawks and go 8-0 after winning the first 7 games by double digits. There is nothing else on the mind of Cleveland sports fans today. We care only about witnessing what LeBron James is going to do as an encore to Saturday's showcase. We don't care if Eric Wedge will still be sitting on the bench wearing an Indians hat at the end of the week. Rumors are already starting to heat up indicating that Wedgie's days may be numbered with the Tribe. If Eric Wedge gets a pink-slip we will wish him well and thank him for his services right after we check the stat sheet to see how close LeBron came to a triple-double the night before.

Is that too harsh? It might be. But it's the truth.

5/8/09

Cavaliers Still Looking For a Fight



As the Cavaliers were disposing of the Atlanta Hawks in Game 2 at The Q last night I thought about how rare it is for an NBA team to have an 8-day layoff and come back playing better than they played before the break. Who does that? Kenny “The Jet” Smith over at TNT expected the Cavs to look rusty in Game 1. He also predicted that the Cavs would play soft due to the added emotion and nostalgia of LeBron’s pre-game MVP trophy-holding ceremony. Doesn't he realize that this team has been shattering records and winning awards all season? The first quarter back in Game 1 was the only time that this series has actually looked competitive, like the Cavs might have a fight on their hands.

Not the case. At least yet anyway.

More than a few things will have to go Atlanta’s way if they are going to successfully defend their home court and send this series back to Cleveland for Game 5. Here is a quick rundown of what the Hawks will need to do to give themselves a chance against LeBron & Co. as the series heads down to Atlanta.

1) Get Off to a Quick Start: The Hawks have come out aggressive on the offensive end in each of the first 2 games. Josh Smith made his first 4 or 5 shots in Game 1 and the Hawks ran out to a small lead. They will need to pound the ball inside and get Smith and Horford some good looks if they want to establish any kind of rhythm.

2) Put the Cavs in Foul Trouble: The Cavs will need to be careful and play smart in the early goings because I expect Atlanta to come out playing very aggressive and attack them. If LeBron James or Mo Williams picks up a few quick fouls it will force Mike Brown to substitute early and by doing that it will keep the Cavs from getting into an early rhythm both offensively and defensively.

3) Force a Shooting Contest: The Hawks would love the Cavs to come out and get into a shooting contest with them. Teams always seem to shoot better in their arena. The Cavs will not be able to afford very many “1 and done” possessions. LeBron can keep this from happening by challenging Atlanta’s defense and getting to the foul line. Mike Bibby has been lights out from behind the arc but he hasn't taken enough shots to make much of an impact. That will change at home and the Cavs need to be ready with their rotations and make sure they contest every shot and not leave Bibby with any open looks.

4) Enjoy a Little Home Cookin’: The Cavs have yet to play in a truly hostile playoff environment. That worries me a little bit. The two games in Detroit were close to 50/50 as hundreds of Cleveland fans made the 2-hour drive to the state up north. That won’t be the case down in the A-T-L, or Hot-Lanta (depending on your preference of slang hip-hop terminology). Expect the Atlanta faithful to come out loud and energized as they try to breathe new life into their tired and injury depleted Hawks. The key for the Cavs will be to keep the home crowd in their seats and it starts with not allowing the Hawks to get into an early rhythm. LeBron James should take the assignment of guarding Josh Smith in the early going to keep him from pumping up the crowd with a few thunderous between-the-legs dunks. Smith gets easily frustrated when played physically and when you combine that with the possibility of Joe Johnson not playing in Game 2 it means the pressure is on Smith to keep Atlanta in the series. If he handles the pressure well, the Hawks have a chance. If not, we could see a repeat of Games 1 and 2.

5) Get a Few "Lucky Bounces": This might be the most underrated aspect to the game of basketball. Sometimes one team seems to get every “bounce” and the ball just finds its way to the right player whether on a tip, rebound or loose ball. The more aggressive team will get the good bounces more often than not. The Cavs just did not get very many good bounces in the series against Boston in the Semi-Finals last year and it made the difference. A simple offensive rebound and reset of the shot clock be lethal in a close game late in the fourth quarter. Remember when the Cavs were one rebound away from upsetting the Pistons in the 2006 playoffs? One rebound. We failed to get it and Detroit scored and won the series. Good bounces mean everything and the Cavs have been getting them all season. Let’s hope that continues as they push deeper into the playoffs.

5/7/09

Indians. Who, What, When, Where and Why

Who wins the central?

Jamin: The Central could turn out to be a five-team race until the very last games of the season. There are not really any dominant teams in the division. Right now the Kansas City Zack Greinke’s are playing the best ball, but unless Greinke can win 32 games there is no way they stay at the top of the division. I plan on Chicago being at the top in the end with Cleveland and Minnesota close behind. I refuse to give up completely on the Indians. There is a lot of talent on this team, they just need to shake things up a little and get the ball rolling.

O’Ryan: Kansas City – they are due, big time! I’m not sold on Cleveland winning it and I don’t want to see Chicago or Detroit win it if we don’t!

Where do we finish?

Jamin: I put us in the top 3 for sure. I know we are getting off to a slow start but that’s typical for the Indians. We could win the central but in order for that to happen we need to get the pitching on the right track and we need to add a little speed to the line up. The Indians need a true lead off hitter, someone with speed that can get on base and make things happen. I love Grady just as much as the next guy but let’s face it, he should not be a lead off hitter. Think about it, after Grady there is nobody with any kind of speed on this team.

O’Ryan: I’m hoping we finish on top because I believe we are still within striking distance still if we can get the bullpen squared away. If I had to put money on it I say we finish either 2nd or 3rd. Maybe we can steal the wildcard from New York and sneak into the playoffs. That’s very optimistic.

What player are you most disappointed with so far?

Jamin: What in the world happened to Rafael Perez? In 2007 he was lights out, he dominated batters, he finished that year with a 1.78 ERA. Last year he struggled at times but overall finished with a solid year. Now? 18 hits and 19 earned runs in 10.2 innings pitched? Unacceptable! Think about this, in 07’ he gave up 12 earned runs in 60.2 innings pitched.

O’Ryan: Hate to say it because I’m a huge fan but I’m disappointed in Grady Sizemore. I’m not sure if he’s a power hitter who hits home runs or if he’s a leadoff guy who gets on base and steals a few too. One thing is for sure – he strikes out way too much. The Tribe as a whole strikes out way too much. We need to fix that.

When if ever do we turn things around?

Jamin: Right now. Tonight we could tie our season high win streak……..2? Realistically there is still plenty of time. Yes we may be in last place but we are only 6 games out of first, which is presently occupied by KC, a team that will fall apart soon enough. Like I said earlier, this division should be close all year. With a good second half, the Indians should turn out okay.

O’Ryan: My guess is that we have a good if not great second half of the season and put ourselves back into the hunt for the division. The biggest weakness is the bullpen and I think putting Laffey out there will help. I wonder what Kerry Wood can do in an actual save situation. He hasn’t really gotten much of a chance to answer that this season. I personally thought Jensen Lewis should have had a shot to close this year but I understood the Wood signing.

Why are we talking Indians when the Cavs are playing tonight?

Jamin: This is simple. The Cavs are dominating the competition. How many times do people need to hear me say “Lebron is the King” or “Cleveland in 4”. It was time for a change of pace, plus the Indians finally got another win, so I felt what better time than now.

O’Ryan: Because we are writing The Cleveland Sports Flow, not The Cavaliers Sports Flow.

5/6/09

Another easy one for Cleveland


Finally, after an eight-day break from meaningful basketball, we Cleveland fans have something to cheer about again. To me it almost felt like the season was over. It had been so long of a break it almost felt like the pre Lebron era, when the Cavaliers never played basketball in May.

Three hours before the first ever postseason matchup between Cleveland and Atlanta, the league MVP was out on the court warming up, even before the lights at The Q were fully illuminated. The first ever Cavalier to win the MVP award shows us why he is what he is. THE KING.

After the 20,000 anxious Cleveland fans drowned David Stern’s MVP presentation speech out, the Cavs were able to shake some of the rust off. After starting off slow the Cavs finally got things rolling in the second half. Mike Brown said “No matter how much rust we have on our bones, we can still play defense.” After halftime the Cavs defense held Atlanta to 28 points. The Cavs have won each of the first five-playoff games by double digits, the first team to do this since Detroit in 2004.

This Cavalier basketball team is the perfect example of how to play team basketball. They put on a clinic every time they go out onto the court. From the before game high fives and photo ops to the on and off the court camaraderie, this team is as one. I don’t see any teams being able to stop them on the road to the championship series.

5/5/09

Congratulations to LeBron James 2009 NBA MVP!




We here at The Cleveland Sports Flow would like to congratulate Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James for his well deserved 2008-2009 MVP award. It has been an absolutely unbelievable experience following the growth and development of this young man. Not only has he lived up to the hype but he has surpassed it with style and ease that only LeBron James is capable of.

It makes us very proud to know that years from now we will be able to tell our grandchildren about a kid from Akron, Ohio who grew up with very little and yet he accomplished so much because he stayed focused and was able to use his God-given gifts to take him to heights that no other person or athlete from this area has ever been before.


Nobody knows what the future holds for LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers but one thing is for certain...We are all here, WE ARE ALL WITNESSES and this is happening in CLEVELAND, OHIO.


Home of the 2008-2009 NBA Most Valuable Player, LeBron James.



5/1/09

NBA Playoffs Round 2 Preview: Cavaliers vs. ???



With a win tonight, the Atlanta Hawks will book themselves a Conference Semi-Finals showdown with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Dwayne Wade and the Heat are hoping to extend the series and force the Hawks to defend their homecourt in a possible Game 7. With the James Gang currently on “spring break” after sweeping what’s left of the Detroit Pistons we got to thinking about which opponent (ATL, MIA) would give the Cavs more trouble as they continue their rampage. Here is what the matchups should look like for both scenarios and who we think has the edge at each position:

Point Guard: Mo Williams vs. Mike Bibby vs. Mario Chalmers
O'Ryan: This is a tough one to call. I’m going to toss Chalmers out of the argument because he isn’t Miami’s primary ball handler - that would be DeeWayne Wade. That leaves Williams and Bibby. Both are deadly three point shooters and can make a huge impact by controlling the tempo. I’m going to be a homer and give the nod to Mo Williams but only because he has the luxury of playing with a superstar and Bibby does not. The attention that LeBron receives from the defense allows Mo Williams to play off the ball and get any shot that he wants at anytime. Bibby can thrive on the attention paid to Joe Johnson but nobody is losing sleep over having to double team Joe Johnson so far. Williams also gets to take advantage of LeBron’s pinpoint passing.

Jamin: I will agree with Chalmers not being a big factor in these games but I’m not willing to throw him out of the argument. Can he hang with Bibby or The Mo “Flo”? Not a chance, but he can make a small splash. Lets not forget he got the Cavs for 21 in the only game the Heat beat them in the regular season. As for Mo and Bibby, give me Mo any day of the week. I like Bibby’s game but when it comes down to it, Mo has a much better shot. So who would give the Cavs more trouble here? Atlanta.

Shooting Guard: Delonte West vs. Flip Murray vs. Dwayne Wade

O’Ryan: This isn’t even close. Dwayne Wade vs. two quality role players! I love Delonte West’s game and I wouldn’t trade him for Flip Murray even though Flip played a big role for the Cavs a few years back with his outside shooting and defense so the real battle here is for second place. We all know what Dwayne Wade can do. The problem for Miami is that they are in trouble because Wade looks like he’s battling injuries right now and that’s not good news in South Beach. I will go ahead and give second place to Delonte West because the Cavs just weren’t the same team when he was out with a broken wrist. He simply provides more value to Cleveland than Murray does to Atlanta because he can switch off with Mo Williams and run the point.

Jamin: D-Wade is a superstar. He is not even in the same class as Delonte or Flip, so I will leave him out of this. Delonte has stepped his game up a lot since last year. His shooting is much better but it’s his defense that has really impressed. Flip is a role player and does his job well but no way does he worry me or any other team. Who gives the Cavs more trouble? Miami.

Small Forward: LeBron James vs. Joe Johnson vs. James Jones

O’Ryan: Another laugher! Joe Johnson is an All-Star caliber player but he’s nowhere near the level of LeBron James. I haven’t followed Miami close enough to know what James Jones can do but I’m guessing he sets wicked screens for DeeWade and that’s about it. If the Cavs play Atlanta in the second round it would most likely be LeBron guarding Joe Johnson. That should be fun to watch.

Jamin: Lebron James? Who is Lebron James? Let me start by saying, I want to see LBJ and D-Wade square off in the playoffs. I love watching these two super stars going head to head, they’re my favorite players in the NBA. That being said, Joe Johnson is definitely more of a problem for the Cavs, the boy can shoot and shoot some more. James Jones doesn’t concern me at all, he’s not going to score in double digits, he’s not going to pull in a bunch of boards and he’s not going to slow down the KING. Who gives the Cavs more trouble? Atlanta.

Power Forward: Anderson Varejao vs. Josh Smith vs. Michael Beasley

O’Ryan: I’ll give the edge to Josh Smith even though Varejao is my favorite Cavalier this season. Smith can take some pressure off Bibby and Johnson with his offensive skills. The problem for Smith is that he’s probably going to be defended by Anderson Varejao if Atlanta advances. Andy is one of the best at getting under player’s skins and if memory serves me well – Smith doesn’t have the best control of his temper. I look for Andy to get the better of him in that potential matchup. Beasley is young but he has a nice inside out game. The experience that he’s getting in his rookie season will pay dividends down the road as he develops into an All-Star caliber player.

Jamin: This is a hard one. On one hand you have the no skill all hustle Anderson Varejao. Andy has a knack for getting in the head of his opponents, a skill I admire and love but there is no way he is a better player than Josh Smith or Michael Beasley. Overall, Smith is the better player on all counts here. He can score better, he can rebound better and he can block your shot better. Beasley is going to be a good NBA player one of these days, he has all the tools necessary and is learning a lot in these play off games. I would not be surprised if he turns out to be an all-star eventually. Who gives the Cavs the most trouble? Atlanta.

Center: Zydrunas Ilgauskas vs. Al Horford vs. Jermaine O’Neal

O’Ryan: It’s hard to pick against the Large Lithuanian but I’m going to give this one to O’Neal by the slightest of margins because of the energy that he provides inside the paint. With Wade constantly looking to go to the rim, O’Neal is at his best when he crashes the boards and gets easy put-backs. His low post scoring is better than Z and Horford as well. Big Z brings awesome value to the Cavs because he can spread a defense with his outside shot. That doesn’t seem like it would be that important but opening the lane for LeBron is like giving a fat kid a giant piece of cake with whip cream frosting. Horford is still developing but has been here before as the Hawks gave Boston everything they could handle last year in the first round. I expect him to make an impact and create a tough matchup. Either way the Cavs are going to have matchup problems in my opinion. Mike Brown may choose to assign Anderson Varejao to O’Neal or Horford simply because Big Z doesn’t have enough quickness to stay in front of them.

Jamin: I don’t have much to say here, O’Ryan pretty much nailed this one on the head (yes that was hard for me to say). Overall, Horford and O’Neal are going to tear Big Z up on the inside. Who gives the Cavs the most trouble? Miami.

The Final Flow

Jamin: Overall I think Atlanta gives the Cavs more trouble than Miami. D-Wade just doesn’t have enough help around him to really make it past the first round. Either way the series goes between Atlanta and Miami expect both teams to be beat up when it’s done. There seems to be no love lost between these two teams and I expect there to be a couple ejections in tonight’s game. I see Miami winning at home tonight and then Atlanta winning game 7 at home.

O’Ryan: I have a feeling it’s going to go 7 games too, but since I miss watching the Cavs play and I’m getting pretty anxious I’m going to take Atlanta tonight in a nail-biter and let’s kick things off Sunday at The Q!