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Welcome to the Optimist

First, I'd like to welcome all you loyal Cleveland Cavalier followers to my first column. This is my first leap into the world of sharing my thoughts/opinions with those other than my self-formed Cavs family via my computer. With that being said, let me preface my introduction with the fact that am a 100% biased Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James fan. This column will include many different insights into the Cavs but will always end in Optimism. My thoughts are based on being a Cavalier fan since birth but most specifically since the introduction of LeBron James to Cleveland. With that being said, I have not missed a game since his first season. I'm a former high school basketball player and coach as well as have experience refereeing the game. I follow the NBA thoroughly but like all greats, cannot do it alone. My thoughts will also include key insights from 2 teammates who will be referred to as "Coach" and "Yoda."

Enough about me and my credentials. My columns will include a weekly synopsis of the Cleveland Cavaliers highlighted by:

  • Cavs record before each game (If you want stats/recaps, go to Cavs.com instead)
  • Key points from each game from me/my teammates
  • Key player from each game
  • Theme from each game
  • Optimist Summary
* Key point - I could name an MVP from each game but that is simply pointless. Any game LeBron James plays, he is the MVP for our Cavs. In terms of most valuable player to a team, LeBron James should have won the award every year since he entered the league. So again, the key player from each game, if it is not LeBron himself, it's the key player to the game in addition to LeBron.

No more ramblings, let's get to it and I'd like to thank you in advance. This team will bring Cleveland a long-awaited championship and we'll be there for the ride:

Cavs (20-8) vs. Phoenix Suns

Key points:

  • Tough bounce back game after a loss to Dallas vs. a hot home team
  • Excellent ball movement/passing led to easy opportunities
  • Return of "Shaqtus" to Phoenix
  • Varajeo and Z might have the best hands for big men in the NBA

Key Player:

  • Delonte West - Delonte is absolutely one of the keys the Cavs achieving NBA glory. His defense and energy in this game was crucial. He stepped up, created opportunities for his teammates and looked for his shot. When Delonte plays well the Cavs step into another gear both on offense and defense.

Theme:

  • Defense/Guts - After a marginal first half where we simply hung in the game, what an incredible defensive effort against one of the most potent scoring offenses in the league. Nonetheless on their home floor. Best 2nd half of defense this season keyed a crucial bounce back victory

Summary:

You will hear me refer to Guts or Gutless as a key theme at times during this season. In a major gut check game, the Cavs delivered strong in handing the Suns their first home loss in over a year.

Cavs (21-8) vs. Sacramento Kings

Key Points:

  • Moe Williams - You will hear me refer to this many times but when Moe score 20+ the Cavs are almost unbeatable.
  • Defense - specially LeBron James on newcomer Tyreke Evans. 0-5 in the waking parts of the 4th and making him a non-factor in OT. Offensive MVP and Defensive MVP - LeBron James.
  • Varejeo - Again, his hustle, screen and roll offense, rebounding, and scoring around the basket should not be overlooked but especially in this game.

Key Player:

  • Z - I've got to give this credit to "Coach." We certainly have many challenges with Mike Brown and couldn't believe they took him out in the 2nd half after he had scored over 10 points. Shaq in for 2 minutes, then finally Z comes back and look what he does. A crucial block and 3 huge 3s. This guy is absolutely critical to our team and should not even be a thought in Danny Ferry's trade rumors.
Theme:

  • Guts - Time and time again you'll hear this but going into overtime on the road and having the focus to make key defensive plays and get the ball to a 7 foot 3 assassin in Z proved the Cavs guts in this victory.

Summary:

Whether it was Mike Brown or one of his assistants, thank goodness they figured out to put in Z and got us the victory over the up and coming "Queens."

Cavs (22-8) vs. Los Angeles Lakers

Key Points:

  • Measuring Stick - and as those us who follow our Cavs know - We measure up well.
  • Test on the Road - vs. the 2nd best team in the NBA (behind the Cavs of course)
  • Phil Jackson and the refereeing. - I'll get to this gutlessness later.
  • Kobe and D Fish - grow up and act like you’ve been there before. What a joke. If it was up to Derek Fisher you wouldn' be able to post up in the NBA b/c he’d fall down the minute you established your position. I never wanted a right hand hook by LeBron to hit harder than when LeBron ran up the court and Fisher jumped in front of him to take a 75-foot charge.
Key Player:

  • Moe! That deserves an exclamation. What a complete team effort and someone else led the way besides LeBron. Coming off a few nagging injuries he stepped up and proved his all-star worthiness in the mouth of Derek Fisher.

Theme:

  • Domination - this was as complete a team effort as you can get. As the players began to feed off each other and specifically their defense, we proved we are the team to beat in the NBA.

Summary:

Mke Brown finally figured out when to play Shaq and Z together. ONLY AGAINST LA. As he said, the Lakers "Felt" the Cavs D and that led to wonderful Christmas present for us all. Now, I hate to be negative and have respected Phil Jackson, but what an absolute joke to criticize the officials on National TV and encourage the gutless celebrities to throw their $2 foam fingers at our Cavs. As Phil watches the tape, he'll realize the foul shots were just about even. Plus LeBron James is easily the hardest player to referee in the league and guess who's second. Not Kobe, Shaq! These guys are so physically dominate at their positions that it helps justify my NBA conspiracy theory (a separate article may come at some point on this). For all the doubters including ignorant NBC commentators, we'll take that classy victory and fly home with our own foam finger (slightly different finger pointing up) sticking out the back window of our plane looking down on the city of LA ready for the finals.

Cavs (23-8) vs. Houston Rockets

Key Points:
  • Sluggish start for the best 1st Quarter team in the NBA
  • Effort in bouncing back from a huge road win
  • Hold home court vs. the team that has the best record against LeBron since he joined the league.
Key Player:
  • LeBron James - this one is easy. I know I said he's always the MVP but he deserves special mention. His leadership in starting the third quarter put this game away for the Cavs. And, he did this against Shane Battier who for my $ defends LeBron the best of any player in the NBA. Oh and by the way, LeBron just won Eastern Conference player of the week. Just put this in the books every week he plays. Seriously David Stern..

Theme:

  • Focus - As I said before, the Cavs showed tremendous focus in getting control of the game on a tough turnaround game after a huge road win thus protecting home court and extending their winning streak. Big to continue momentum going into 2 interestingly scheduled games against the Hawks.
  • Special Mention - Cavaliers three-point shooting. Shoot it Moe! Shoot it!

Summary:

I'm going to reference Cavalier's radio expert Jim Chones on this one. He said that in boxing the most important rounds of a fight are round 1 and round 2. First, you get respect from your opponent and second you assert fear that you're going to win. The Cavaliers sent this message to the entire league on Christmas and that fear crept into the minds of Houston during the second and third quarters. We are doing the things we need to do and setting the stage for a final round knockout come June.

Thank you again for your support and I look forward to your comments and another great week on the road to Cleveland's first championship.


Cavs Optimist

4 comments:

  1. Optimist,
    Great atricle. I have found that we share many of the same opinions reguarding the wine and gold. I feel that you have a good background of the game and I will enjoy reading the up coming posts in the future.
    One goal in 2010,
    Dan, from A-Town

    ReplyDelete
  2. Go CAVS ...Love the "Optimism" approach. This is what I have been waiting for in Cincy. Glad you are here to represent us.... strongly believe Delonte and Mo are the absolute key to our season because we know what will get outa Bron. Also Mr.Optimist, who do you think will get minutes cut with the addition to Leone Powe?.... J.J.? If so, can we expect a trade for another shooter/veteran scorer? TAKE CARE GO CAVS
    Scott Terrytown
    Milford, OH

    ReplyDelete
  3. Fellow followers - first let me just send a thank you for your positive thoughts at the column and my approach.

    Scott from Milford - I certainly agree with your assessment of the importance that Delonte and Moe together bring to the team. In reference to your questions, I don't think there's any doubt JJ's minutes will go down but I think Mike Brown is going to start him because he's going to want to bring Varajeo and Powe off the bench depending on the type of team we're playing. If we need a more athletic guy for a Orlando or LA, I think it's Andy. If it's a more physical team such as San Antonio or Boston, it'll be more Powe. I'll be anxious to see as Mike Brown has been a marginal substituting coach since he joined the Cavs. I will respond to your trade/acquisition question in a special article forthcoming - HINT: The Cavs are #1 in the power rankings, why change !?!

    Dan from Atown - Love your enthusiasm as well! Couldn't have said it better myself - One GOAL!


    Cavs Optimist

    Dan from Atown -

    ReplyDelete
  4. It will be great to watch NBA All Star Game, i have bought tickets from
    http://ticketfront.com/event/NBA_All_Star_Game-tickets looking forward to it.

    ReplyDelete