Okay, so I watched bits and pieces of the Cavaliers and Wizards game when I wasn’t watching Modern Family (Wednesday nights at 9:00 PM on ABC) and I wasn’t really impressed. That is in general and on an individual basis for players on either team, except for Antawn Jamison. And Mike Miller. And the incredible Earl Boykins, but not for the same reason as the other two gentlemen.
First of all, the Cavs have had a problem for a while now, dating back to their series with the Magic, of not remembering that the game is 60 minutes long and doesn’t end until the final buzzer sounds. That may seem a little Madden-esque in its obviousness, but the Cavs can’t seem to put good to great teams away after earning a lead.
The reason why the Cavs lost last night could be attributed to many factors, facing a team with more glaring talent not among them. What I felt was the deciding factor is that Cleveland was outhustled by a Wizards team that needed a victory more than the Cavaliers did. The Wizards outrebounded the Cavaliers 49-35, and 16-6 on the offensive boards.
And there are even reasons for this lopsided rebounding total that can be excused by some on the Cleveland side. The Cavs played without Shaq, who despite his lost talents is still a big body that can sway a rebounding battle, especially with Brendan Haywood. Along with that, energy boost and all around hustler Anderson Varejao was noticeably absent from the Cavaliers.
It is very true when anyone says “you don’t know what you got until its gone”. A player’s value is most noticeable when he is no longer there. It happens all the time to any team that trades a significant player, and is most glaring when it is a midseason move. Remember the Chauncey Billups/Allen Iverson swap? Of course you do, who doesn’t? Billups was the wheels for the Detroit vehicle; he allowed it to flow smoothly and without much interruption. He was the distributer and leader of a team of veterans that lost focus after he left.
I could even notice it with Rashard Lewis being absent from the Magic’s first ten games where his excellent three-point shooting at the power forward position was glaringly absent and teams played the Magic like a standard team with Brandon Bass in the paint.
What does this mean for Cleveland? It means nothing as long as LeBron’s injury isn’t serious enough for him to miss major playing time. The Wizards and Cavaliers will see each other at least two more times, and nobody would be surprised if they met up in the playoffs and rekindled some of that magic from yesteryear. However, a fully healthy Cavaliers team should beat a fully healthy Wizards team more often than not, unless Gilbert can become near superhuman as he has in the too distant past for my liking.
How could I not have spoken about the most recent uprising that Allen Iverson is leading yet? To me, it is the best thing for Allen to do, even though it is some extremely childish behavior (if you don’t give me what I want, I will pout and make it miserable for everyone). Going to New York wont solve his problems, unless his only true problem is he wants to start again.
I thought at this point that Iverson would have seen that the end is drawing near and he should try and cement his legacy in the league by being on a contender once again. But, Iverson has always been the bronco that was impossible to break. You can think that you finally had the saddle on him and were calmly riding him around the ranch when he bucks you 15 feet into the sky only to have you crashing down on your fragile skull.
I thought that the Bobcats are the ideal situation for Iverson until they traded for Stephen Jackson, almost assuring no Iverson and Brown reunion. I don’t understand the Bobcats yet, but I hopefully will eventually. They are going through so much player turnover to try and find an identity that can bring more victories than headaches; maybe Jackson is that piece that can steady the ship.
He assuredly brings some much needed scoring and the Bobcats traded away Raja Bell who is having wrist surgery and Vladimir Radmanovic who didn’t play that often for Charlotte anyway. So I would say that is a net positive for the Bobcats if they can play Jackson at the 2, Gerald Wallace (the human tornado) at the 3 (or visa versa), then they could have some solid scoring potential from their wing players.
I have a Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Ruins episode recap if you want one, and we all know you do. Here it is:
Jack Daniels leads to an angry and drunk Brad who takes it out on his female teammates at first. Then, in a foolish and life-threatening move, Brad focuses his drunken rage onto Darrell Taylor, a muscular black man who was a boxer for 8 years and had a bit to drink himself.
Brad, not realizing the physical harm that could be inflicted, provoked Darrell, sending Darrell into a blind rage where he took Brad to the ground and punched him in the face multiple times. The results were twofold: first, Brad’s eye swelled up and made him resemble the elephant man, the second was both Darrell and Brad were kicked off, leaving the Challengers with only one male competitor left (Dunbar).
Then, Kelly Anne, who is someone who you can watch easily with the volume muted, started arguing with Dunbar because she heard that he was bragging about, uh, having relations with her. Dunbar denied ever proclaiming such heroics, but Kelly Anne insisted and really messed with the little team chemistry that remained.
The actual challenge was not all that exciting; they traversed hanging fences a couple hundred feet in the air. No big deal, the champions won, as always. So the champions sent in Katie to face Kimberly (the secret racist who doesn’t know any better) and they sent in Johnny Bananas (not his real last name, just a nickname) to face Dunbar, the lone male on the challengers. The episode ending with a “to be continued”, which is always disappointing and frustrating since I devoted an hour of my night to see who gets kicked off.
I really hope that the teams are mixed up better next season. For a couple of seasons now, one team dominates, which is not fun. You wouldn’t want to watch a Yankees-Royals series for 3 straight months would you? Next season they are doing a rehashing of “Fresh Meat”, which introduced us to the lovely, Evan, Kenny, Evelyn, Diem, and Casey.
I didn’t like “Fresh Meat” and I am not fond of them doing it again, unless they can’t secure enough former cast members to come back. There really is no difference between these newcomers and the former casts of the Real World or Road Rules; they all want fame and attention but don’t want to do much other than work on their bodies and get paid for it. Still, it’s the principle of the matter.
Onto a more ridiculous topic: the Cleveland Browns. Firing Eric Mangini before the season is over is a bad idea. It won’t turn the team around this season and leaves the team without an identifiable leader. Perhaps though, they could replicate the 49ers last season, which fired Mike Nolan and replaced him with Mike Singletary, who seems to be a good fit with that young team. Who would replace Mangini though? My best guess would be Rob Ryan, twin brother of Jets head coach Rex. He brings fire and enthusiasm, things Mangini seems to be purposefully eliminating from his memory bank.
And to my beloved Brady Quinn, who by all accounts last week, sucked. I can even admit that he did not play well at all. However, his two interceptions bounced off of receivers’ hands, which is in part his fault for not timing the throws better or putting them in a better spot. However, Steve Young, who knows a little bit about playing quarterback, said that not even Peyton Manning or Tom Brady could succeed with the talent level around Quinn (and for that matter Anderson).
The Browns have young offensive talent who may not be as good as some presumed them to be. And those players who could make plays last year were removed by Mangini as an attempt to establish dominance, which seems to me to be inherent with the position of head coach but whatever. Plus, the Browns were facing a Ravens team that was embarrassed and angry about their performance in the previous weeks leading up to the matchup.
All I am saying is that the Browns, and specifically Quinn, had no chance of succeeding. And another thing, everyone who is complaining about the throws during the last couple of seconds during the game that sailed out of bounds should shut up. Did that change the outcome of the game or were they meaningless attempts that were more symbolic than consequential? Sure, I would have liked to see the receiver have an opportunity to make a play, but Cribbs (the target) was triple covered with no hope of success. There were a lot of things to pick apart in Quinn’s game on Monday, but that should not be one of them.
I am starting to believe that Quinn will never be able to succeed in Cleveland, especially not with this coaching regime that removed all confidence he had in them when they benched him. Perhaps a change in scenery is the only way the Quinn can start over and become the quarterback a lot of people thought that he could be.
Seriously though, and I have said this before, Quinn is not the type of quarterback that can succeed with average talent around him. He needs a playmaker to find the openings in the defense. He needs someone who can turn a 5-yard catch into a 20-yard explosion. Or he needs an incredibly great safety valve that he can dump the ball to when in trouble (like he had in Kellen Winslow before Mangini removed him).
Oh, and one more thing. It boggles my mind that the Browns have not given Josh Cribbs the money he not only deserves, but is continuing to earn. He is the only reason the watch Browns games right now, he works hard on special teams (returning and covering), and he has done everything that is asked of him. Yet, the Browns have yet to figure out that it would be a good idea, no, great idea to resign him and give him a lot of money.