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Mr. West is in the Building

November 2, 2009

I had the good fortune to get some excellent seats to Saturday's Cavs-Bobcats game, free of charge. It was incredible the way the crowd responded to Delonte West. Delonte deserved it. He is struggling with a very real and very serious illness. Luckily, for everyone concerned about Delonte on a basketball court, it doesn't impact him physically. So he was able to step right in Saturday night and have a great game. He gave a big lift of the bench with his play and he fits right back in. He may have given an even bigger emotional lift to the team and the fans. It's very hard to like basketball and not love watching Delonte West play the game. Guards Mo Williams and Anthony Parker seemed to get particular benefit from Delonte's return as they both had very good games. It isn't a stretch to think part of the reason that pair played so well was that a talent like Delonte takes a lot of pressure off of Parker and Williams. Delonte can do it all from either guard spots and do it well. As a Cavs fan I am thrilled to have him back. As a person, I wish him the best and hope he can get past his struggle with this illness. Many fans sitting around me on Saturday echoed a similar sentiment in conversations going on around me. While what has gone on must have been tough for Delonte and everyone around him the last month or so, the silver lining may be it did serve to educate and open a lot of eyes in Northeast Ohio to the reality and seriousness of mental illness. Now, let me climb down of my high freaking moral horse and let's talk about the Cavs.

The first two losses stunk. Forget any excuses. This is a championship level team with a lot of experience. They just didn't do their jobs on the first two nights of the season. Game three was better, but game four was the best game yet. Z and Shaq were very good on both ends. The shooters got open looks and knocked them down. Williams, West, and LeBron did a great job facilitating and setting up others. The defense was very tough, rotating well and contesting a lot of shots. The Cavs did a nice job on the glass as well. The basketball season is a long one. It may have taken the Cavs a little longer than you would have wanted, about three days, but they finally look ready for the regular season.

The following paragraph is completely true. I attended a presentation with Dan Gilbert last Thursday. At the end, he took questions. I asked him point blank, "Is LeBron staying?" Gilbert gave a fairly long, well reasoned answer as to why LeBron will absolutely stay. At the end he said that it was a very long way to answer the question that yes LeBron will stay. He seemed very confident. So that's good.

I was thinking about keeping a running diary of the next Cavs game. Bill Simmons on espn.com does this from time to time and I always find it entertaining. If you'd be interested in seeing my running diary, or if you think I suck and absolutely don't want to be subjected to any more of my thoughts, let me know in the comments.

Don't forget to vote in Tuesday's election.

Jack Bacevice

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