Stepping in for TD today… We hit you with the sixth installment of the Top 10 Sports stories. The other five can be found after today’s story, which was undoubtedly a big one for all of Cleveland to enjoy. Imagine that – a moment that we get to actually enjoy. In Cleveland. Craziness…
The 66 wins were for the Cleveland Cavaliers tops in the NBA and resulted in a Coach of the Year award for Mike Brown as well as a league MVP award for LeBron James. But while the individual awards were great, the entire Cavaliers team played exceptional basketball despite missing key contributors Delonte West (wrist) and Ben Wallace (leg) for extended periods of time.
We can choose any one game as a big moment as we have with other teams on this list. But that exercise would be never ending. We saw new jerseys. New pregame handshakes. New pre-game (and even mid-game) celebrations. So, instead of picking just one win, let’s go with all of them…
Certain segments of NBA insists that the Cavaliers are nothing more than LeBron James and a bunch of castoffs from other teams. Much of this can be given to the amazing run that the Wine and Gold gave Cleveland in 2007 with key minutes from guys named Larry Hughes, Donyell Marshall and Sasha Pavlovic. Last season, thanks to huge additions from general manager Danny Ferry, the Cavaliers featured two All-Stars. They dominated opponents and cruised to the Eastern Conference finals before running out of gas against the Orlando Magic.
On their way to winning a franchise-high 66 games, the Cavaliers led the NBA in point differential, opposing field goal percentage, opposing points scored, and were among the best teams in turnover differential. They took care of the ball on the offensive end, had one of the slowest paces (24th) in all of the NBA, and played lockdown defense on the other side. They played Mike Brown basketball, and as frustrating as it may have been when it didn’t work out for the best, it resulted in 66 wins – most of which were by huge margins.
And the rest of the league didn’t exactly like it very much. In a post by Craig late in the season, he had the following to say:
“On top of losing last night, I made a big mistake, I think. I decided to spend the night with the sports bloggers of the world talking through the game on Twitter. Basically every team was represented on there and the conclusion I came to is that everybody, and I mean everybody hates LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Well, maybe not everybody, but really close. It is strange though, because I was expecting a lot of analysis and interesting perspectives, and almost all there was was vitriol, hate and anger toward LeBron James.
The only team that didn’t seem hateful and angry toward the Cavaliers last night was actually all the bloggers from the Orlando Magic. [...]
I thought that level of anger and hate was reserved for constant winners like the New England Patriots or historical winners like the New York Yankees or Dallas Cowboys. You see, I thought a lot of that anger emanated from jealousy. But the Cavshaven’t even won anything worth being jealous of yet. But there it sits. Even before the Cavs ever win anything it is already Cleveland versus the world. I just hope LeBron and company can conjure up a miracle to shut everybody up.”
Unfortunately, even when we have something to celebrate like these 66 wins, we did not conjure up a miracle to win the much-needed three more games to get the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals.
But that doesn’t mean we didn’t enjoy each and every one of those 66 wins.
Whether it was a buzzer-beater win over the Golden State Warriors or 51 points in overtime against the Kings. How about embarrassing the Boston Celtics to the point where Ray Allen has to cry to the media after a game where he intentionally elbowed an opposing player in the junk?
We can debate the biggest win of last season ad nauseum. After all, there were 66 of them to choose from. And while it doesn’t look like it will be a 66-win season this time around, we can look back at all 66 of last year’s wins with hopes that this year’s team wins the one that counts.
The rest of the Top 10:
# 5 – Cavaliers acquire Shaquille O’Neal
#6 – Browns trade Kellen Winslow/Braylon Edwards
#7 – Indians fire manager Eric Wedge
#8 – Browns stun Pittsburgh Steelers
#9 – Cleveland State’s miracle run to NCAA Tournament
#10 – Tribe comes back from 10-0 vs. Rays
(Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)