FanPost

24. King Incorporated: The View from Cleveland

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Well, I had my Tracy McGrady jokes all written and then the whole story got smashed flat as a pancake by 540 basketball writers all riding the news cycle... Now I'm forced to scramble to find something else funny.

So let's go with a sight gag...

How's this authentic (!!!) police diagram of a whoopsie which took place in front of the headquarters building of The Eldrick Woods School of Driving ?

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That should at least raise the corners of your mouth a little, eh?

No alcohol involved, of course! 

"Tiger"™® says he is gonna take an "indefinite leave" from professional golf. I'm sure there is more sentiment among his neighbors that he take "indefinite leave" from driving his Escalade.™®

 

Now, here are those controversial Western Conference All-Star results-to-date in an easily digestable form...

Western Conference

Forwards:

  1. Carmelo Anthony (Den) 588,958;
  2. Dirk Nowitzki (Dal) 366,300;
  3. Pau Gasol (LAL) 280,758;
  4. Tim Duncan (SA) 271,321;
  5. Kevin Durant (OKC) 177,205;
  6. Trevor Ariza (Hou) 168,167;
  7. Shawn Marion (Dal) 161,653;
  8. Luis Scola (Hou) 134,321;
  9. Ron Artest (LAL) 99,209;
  10. Lamar Odom (LAL) 85,817;
  11. LaMarcus Aldridge (Por) 70,588.

Guards:

  1. Kobe Bryant (LAL) 692,518;
  2. Tracy McGrady (Hou) 281,545;
  3. Steve Nash (Pho) 272,135;
  4. Chris Paul (NO) 248,049;
  5. Jason Kidd (Dal) 207,247;
  6. Jason Terry (Dal) 131,422;
  7. Aaron Brooks (Hou) 131,167;
  8. Chauncey Billups (Den) 112,509;
  9. Brandon Roy (Por) 106,416;
  10. Deron Williams (Utah) 94,715;
  11. Manu Ginobili (SA) 75,392.

Centers:

  1. Amar'e Stoudemire (Pho) 447,776;
  2. Andrew Bynum (LAL) 299,484;
  3. Nene (Den) 90,439;
  4. Marc Gasol (Mem) 75,765;
  5. Greg Oden (Por) 73,874;
  6. Al Jefferson (Min) 48,676;
  7. Antonio McDyess (SA) 46,323;
  8. Mehmet Okur (Utah) 35,606;
  9. Marcus Camby (LAC) 35,471;
  10. Andris Biedrins (GS) 28,287;
  11. Emeka Okafor (NO) 19,827;
  12. Spencer Hawes (Sac) 10,733.

 

As you can see above, and as you you've no doubt heard by now from 17 different sources: unless things change in the balloting, the starting Western Conference All-Star Guard tandem will be Kobe Bryant and Tracy McGrady.

Well, I don't know about you, but mark me down on the short list of people who think that would be awesome!

Let's review those 2009/10 seasonal stats of this Western Conference All-Star Starter, shall we?

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Tracy McGrady

Houston Rockets.

6-foot-8 [or so they claim], 203 pounds, G/F.

Salary: $22,483,124.

Games Played in 2009/10: Zero.

Average Minutes Per Game: Zero.

Points Per Game: Zero.

Field Goal Percentage: .000

3 Point Shot Percentage: .000

Free Throw Percentage: .000

Rebounds Per Game: Zero.

Assists Per Game: Zero.

My sincere apologies to those of you who feel that it's not a real conversation about basketball unless one trots out some so-called "advanced" stats like Effective Field Goal Percentage or Rebounds per 36, but you get the point...

Look, serious Houston Rocket fans are not cynical or delusional. They wouldn't vote for an injured T-Mac on a bet, even as a tribute to their highly compensated Unrestricted Free Agent-to-be... This embarrassing tally for a guy who hasn't even been functional this year is attributable to one and only one thing — internet voting from China.

I now suspect that video of Yao Ming's old games are the Chinese equivalent of reruns of "Gilligan's Island" and "I Love Lucy" from Shanghai to Beijing to the village of Hwang Chung in Xinhui County. And since this season the average Chinese fan doesn't have the option of stuffing the NBA All-Star ballot box for 国家英雄光荣与脆性陶瓷脚 [Glorious National Hero with Feet of Brittle Porcelain], the next best thing a proud Chinese basketball fan can do is to vote for those old familiar names who play alongside him.

Hell, 布鲁克斯先生 [Mr. Aaron Brooks] is running ahead of Deron Williams in the balloting. That alone should tell you that something is seriously screwed up. It's not that Aaron is awful — it's just that Deron is deserving. 

These bizarre little early voting idiotosyncrasies™® emerge almost every year when fan balloting opens up. Not to worry... There will no doubt be a big push in the near future on behalf of Steve Nash and Chris Paul, both of whom will end up on the team, barring the crash of a gigantic meteor into the earth which causes cancellation of the NBA season.

Still, you have to admit the concept of 0-for-2009 Rocket Tracy McGrady being voted a starter in the All-Star Game is pretty damned funny... And the truly crazy madness would probably come during the run-up to the game, when it would be discovered, I'm just guessing here, that McGrady's participation would void out about $20 Million of insurance coverage that the Rockets are no doubt banking on. (You don't really think they're going to play him again this year, do you?)

One final aside: Kudos to the NBA for listing Amar'e Stoudamire as the Center of the Phoenix Suns — at least they got that much right, nearly two dozen box scores listing squeezably soft Charmin Frye as their starting C notwithstanding. But what does poor LA Clippers Center Chris Kaman have to do to get the love?

And now, a word from our sponsor...

    

Advertising changes over time — generally for the better, it would seem...

Last year we League Pass Broad Band subscriber-suckers had to watch 23,132 showings of the loathsome Kevin Garnett pretending to be humble in a "The NBA: Where Amazing Happens" commercial, complete with its pensive piano music. Like a hammer tap-tap-tapping on my brain, that was... This year it is a great relief to get to watch 23,132 showings of the Wisconsin Mullethead Taxi Driver — a character who definitely needs to become famous.

"Hey, DERON WILLIAMS!!! You're from Utah — great state! I got the crap beat out of me in Provo once..."

Now that's funny.

 

Congratulations to the 2009 Nobel Prize Winners!

Medicine: Carol W. Greider, Elizabeth H. Blackburn, and Jack W. Szostak — for their discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres.

Chemistry: Ada E. Yonath, Thomas A. Steitz, and Venkatraman Ramakrishnan — for their work mapping the human ribosome.

Physics: Charles K. Kao — for his work in the field of fiber-optic light; Willard S. Boyle and George E. Smith — for their invention of the CCD, an imaging semiconductor circuit.

Literature: Herta Müller — German author of The Passport.

Economics: Elinor Ostrom — for her work analyzing economic governance; and Oliver E. Williamson — for his work analyzing the ways in which non-market institutions are managed by the firm.

Peace: Barack H. Obama — for his escalation of the Afghanistan War while not being named George W. Bush.

 

Channel Surfing.

Thursday, Dec. 10.

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Denver Nuggets (16-6) at Detroit Pistons (9-12).

This game may have being "available in crystal clear high definition," but one question was begged: WHY?

Never mind that at the moment Detroit and their mighty 9 & 12 record stood as a playoff team in the sucktastic Eastern Conference. The Pistons' 6 game winning streak against the Nuggs meant less than nothing given the fact that stars Rip Hamilton, Will Bynum, Tayshaun Prince, and Ben Gordon were all out with various injuries.

If you think this starting lineup sounds compelling, Detroit will compel you: Chucky Atkins, Rodney Stuckey, The Ghost of Ben Wallace, Jason Maxiell, and rookie Jonas Jerebko. Let's not even talk about the bench, or I will be compelled to commence projectile vomiting... Charlie Villanueva and, who exactly? Yikes.

And the Pistons were on the tail end of a back-to-back... Did I mention that?

Nuggets were short Kenyon Martin (jammed finger), but still...

A few observations here in an effort to demonstrate to myself that my wasting over two hours on this pig of a game had at least some socially redeeming value:

1. Denver really knows how to run out on misses. We all know about D'Antoni's Knicks, and D'AntoniDisciple's Suns, but the Nuggets know how to run, run, run. Ya gotta get back on long rebounds if you're playing those guys or you'll be paying the 2 point toll. And they'll collect it in multiples if you're lazy.

1A. The Detroit Pistons run better than the Blazers, too. So does everybody.

2. I'm not quite sure what the principle is that allows an inferior team to play even with a superior team in the early going of an NBA game. It seems like bad teams can dodge the wolves for 2 quarters or so before nature starts to take its course and the low-flyers become a protein source for the predators...

3. The Pistons still have the most entertaining public address announcer in the NBA: "DEEEEEEEE-TROIT" (crowd:) "BASKET-BALLLLLLL!!!"

4. Ben Wallace is the worst Free Throw shooter in the league. No question, not close. He airballed one about a foot to the left of the hoop. I've never seen that before, ever.

5. Carmelo Anthony is a beast. You knew that already. If he goes down this year, Denver is screwed.

6. Chucky Atkins sprained his ankle during the game. He scraggled back in, but still... Blazers aren't alone with the injury issues...

Hey, here's the punch line: in this one, the protein source fought back and ate the coyote... Charlie Villanueva, freakish looking animal that he is (Mr. Clean with a plastic facemask), was a super stud. Melo's 40 point night went for naught. "DEEEEEEE-TROIT BASKET-BALLLLLLLL!!!" Pistons 101, Nuggets 99.

 

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Orlando Magic (17-4) at Utah Jazz (12-9).

Charles Barkley is widely recognized as a smartass, rarely called a sage. But he has given the world one extremely accurate aphorism: "If you live by the jumpshot, you die by the jumpshot."

Sometimes during the same game, it turns out.

For the better part of two quarters, the Eastern Conference co-leaders from Orlando beat the hell out of Jerry "Grinch" Sloan's Utah Jazz. They whipped the ball around the perimeter unimpeded and drilled three after three after three, opening up a seemingly insurmountable 18 point lead. Everything was falling and Utah was on the ropes.

Then suddenly the worm turned. The Jazz began to ratchet up the defensive intensity, staying closer to the arc and closing on shooters. Offensively, they continued to mix it up, with Deron Williams, C.J. Miles, and Carlos Boozer alternately driving the ball and hitting their mid-range open looks. By halftime the Jazz had closed to single digits. In the second half, they won going away, Utah running up a season high 38 points the 3rd Quarter. Orlando was befuddled, baffled, and befouled by their inability to hit much of anything at all.

Moral of the story: the Magic will kill ya if you give them open looks from distance. But that's their whole game, their full game, a-men. Jazz 120, Magic 111. All-Star Deron Williams finished with 32 points and 15 assists. Let's see you do that against top competition, Mr. Aaron Brooks!

 

Friday, Dec. 11.

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Portland Trail Blazers (14-9) at Cleveland Cavaliers (15-7).

The flipside of those games you just KNOW the Blazers are going to win, as was the case with their visit to Indiana on Wednesday, are those games you just KNOW the Blazers are going to lose — like this one.

Acting Head Coach Dean McMillan took one good look at the 9 healthy players on his bench and then decided that he'd rather play 7, limiting Jerryd Bayless to 8 minutes and Dante Cunningham to just over 4. Both scored 2 points during this time and finished +6 and +9, respectively.

Each of these players produced 2 more points than did Steve "Binky" Blake in his 36 minutes. Blake finished 0-for-4 from the field, although he did manage to lead Portland with his 4 turnovers.

Blazers can live with Przy scoring 2 points, because he rebounds and plays defense, guarding the paint from the likes of Shaquille O'Neal. But you put a PG on the floor with him who scores ZERO points?!?!

Maaaaan..............

Why is the Portland coaching staff so intent upon turning this promising season into a 41-41 Lottery Year Spectacular?

A is for Andre — Start him!

B is for Blake — Bench him!

C is for Coaching Change Needed if Nate doesn't catch on...

D is for Duh.

I'm starting to feel like a Chicago Bulls fan, understanding full well that many, many painful losses are going to have to come before something changes at the top. Nate McMillan and his Acting Surrogate Wannabe Clone Dean Demopoulos are simply not capable of averting catastrophe. So get ready for it.

Portland's 54-45 halftime lead was clearly not enough when one was paying a visit to the castle of The King. You just KNEW the Cavs were going to come back. Sure enough, the Cavs went on a run in the 3rd Quarter, powered by the Blazers' piss-poor inability to stop the mighty Anderson Varejao.</s> Thereafter the Blazers entertained the Cleveland faithful by maintaining a non-threatening but sporting proximity to the Cavs on the scoreboard for the rest of the night. God, I hate losing games like this that could have been won... Cavs 104, Blazers 99.

 

Now more bitterness and cynicism via the Popcorn Machine GAME FLOW SUMMARY. Go ahead and click that little link now, if you would.

Observation 1: The game turned in the 3rd Quarter when Cleveland went on a 15-2 run. The beginning of the run corresponded with the pulling of Martell Webster. The end of the run corresponded with the reinsertion of Martell Webster. I state this for what it is worth, without offering opinion as to causation.

Observation 2: The Cavs' 3rd Quarter was powered by LBJ's 14 points, Shaq's 9, and Varejao's 6. For the Blazers in the same period, LMA had 11 and Brandon had 7. They didn't get a lot of help.

Observation 3: Cleveland sealed the game with a late 6-0 run. They did what they had to do to pull out the win at home, helped along by a missed goaltending call. The Blazers did not.

Observation 4: Varejao had 22 points. LMA had 22 points. The Blazers have got to be about +10 in that matchup to have a chance with the non-offensive Pryz and the pathetic Blake on the floor. That means LMA needs to play better defense and get low scoring the ball at a higher clip — both.

Okay, I've got myself worked up enough... Next comes a MUST WIN in Milwaukee.

Moving right along, please grab yourself a frosty cold beverage and join me in watching Friday's installment of THE GREATEST THING IN THE WORLD... (A little bit of NSW language today, be forewarned...)

 

Which brings us to the real point of this meandering mess, the snips of wisdom and dunderheadedness from the bloggers and journalists of the Cavaliers' kingdom...

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(1)

LeBron James, Anderson Varejao lead Cavaliers past Portland, 104-99

By Brian Windhorst, Cleveland Plain Dealer

It is hard to attach the word underrated to any sentence that includes the name LeBron James, but that may indeed be the case when in comes to the Cavalier star's rivalry with his counterpart from Portland.

Even before Friday night, James and Trail Blazers' franchise player Brandon Roy already had some good matchups, including a game in 2008 when James scored over Roy in the final seconds for a one-point win.

This edition wasn't quite as exciting, but the young stars did stage a quality fourth-quarter battle that should have satisfied the national television audience. Both were controlling the ball and everything the offense did while coming up with some clutch defensive plays.

In the end, James was able to do just a bit more and again get his Cavs the victory, 104-99, their fifth straight over the Blazers (14-10). * * *

 

(2)

Recap: Cavs 104, Blazers 99 (Or, The Time Andy Saved The Week)

by John Krolik, Cavs: The Blog (TrueHoop)

* * *
If there was any doubt coming into this game that Anderson Varejao is the Cavs' best big man by a fairly wide margin, it should be erased after this game.

The Cavs allowed the Blazers to stay in the game in the first quarter by turning the ball over a few too many times, and in the second quarter got burned by the unlikely duo of Juwan Howard and Andre Miller, who accounted for 25 of the Blazers' 31 points in the second quarter. Some of the Miller points were thanks to Miller performing his signature weaving drives into the lane and finishing from weird angles, but the 3 jumpers, including two threes, are definitely something you live with.

And as for Howard turning back the clock and scoring 11 straight Blazer points to start the second quarter, I mean, what is there to say? Tip your hat to the guy. * * *

 

(3)

Who Cares?

posted by "Ryan in Myrtle Beach" to Waiting For Next Year open thread

Ahh who cares about the cavs? THE BROWNS WON!!!

OK im watchin the cavs on the 67″ but c'mon im still celebrating the Browns win.

 

(4)

Back from the Game

posted by "JJ Smooth" to Real Cavs Fans message board

Back from the game, and here's a few observations and notes:

(1) The Q was pretty pathetic that opening half in my opinion. Until the Cavs actually came out with some intensity in the 3rd did the crowd actually get into the game. Fans know the expectations and talent level, and their somber reaction for that first half was a message on that sad display. Get the hint Cavs?

(2) Speaking of, great to see that full court press and the defensive pressure turned up. Listening to the Coach Brown comments on the drive home I have to agree 100% that our second half play is our identity and needs to be so for as close to 48 minutes as possible. As discussed plenty of times on the forum, it starts with Lebron, and I was glad he acted like a DPOY candidate to set the tone in the 3rd. Cheers to the home team for making the Blazers play to them, not the other way around (one of my tips to victory in that beautiful original post).

(3) You can't stop Roy or Alridge, but Parker did a nice job and should be applauded (even if the stats aren't there). I was also pleased with the hustle of Andy and Delonte as well. J.J., you hurt me so and my crystal ball says bench warmer real soon if this play continues. I even called the JJ pull after that first fumble, hopefully it sinks in. *  *  *

(5) Sucks not having access to commentators or RCF when an injury goes down, as it did with Shaq. I hate texting like a fiend trying to get updates from anybody who happens to be watching the game at home. Glad to hear the initial prognosis is it's not serious (fingers crossed). * * *

 

(5)

Won It In the Third

posted by "Doug Heil" to Real Cavs Fans message board

I can't remember thinking we won a game in a third quarter before.

We won the game in the third quarter.

Nice energy and passion. Nice second half. Everyone stepped up and showed desire.

 

(6)

Cleveland Sacks Blazers in Second Half

by Cody Norman, King James Gospel (Fansided)

After a disappointing road trip, the Cavaliers returned to the shores of Lake Erie in time to see their Brownies tear apart the hated Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night. * * *

With LeBron on the bench and the Wild Thing holding down the fort to start the final period, Cleveland took a page out of Rob Ryan's playbook and sacked their opponents. Varejao went 6 of 7 in the period to pour in 12 of his season-high 22 poits. They outscored Portland 28 - 23 in the period and picked up a 104 - 99 victory. * * *

Cleveland outscored the Trail Blazers 52 - 18 in the paint and 18 - 7 on fast breaks to pick up their sixteenth win of the season. They will be back in action in Oklahoma City on Sunday night to take on Kevin Durant and the OKC Thunder.

 

(7)

Adjustment Time As Cavaliers Return Home

by Ward Peterson, Cavmen (FanBall)

We were reminded of a few things after the recent road trip.

First of all, it put an exclamation point on exactly how impressive last season's regular season run was, as the Cavaliers had a 66-16 record and were the top seed in the Eastern Conference heading into the 2009 playoffs.

With the season a little over 25% complete, the Cavaliers have already lost 7 games. Project this record out for the rest of the season and the Cavs will finish 54-28. As the investment ads state, "past results are not an indication of future performance", and 54-28 would be a welcome record in most cities, but here in the recently Shaq-ified land of Witnesses....not so much. * * *

 

The Bottom Line:

1. We have LeBron James and you don't...

2. Anderson Varejao saves the day! You go, Andy!!!

3. How 'bout them Browns?!?!? Hey you Pittsburgh skanks, Shaq has a little freestyle rap he wants to drop on ya...

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