“Don’t be irrational,” I thought. “It’s just one game.”
You’ve been saying all summer long that you hope to see this team play their way into the playoffs this season, only if it is for a few nights.
On paper, I really thought they could win 41 games. Maybe I was just trying to make myself believe that.
Maybe I thought that if they did respond that way on the basketball court this season, after all that’s transpired off it, the Cavaliers organization would send some type of message about Cleveland. A message sent by actions as opposed to words, which reads: we’re still here, we’re still fighting.
For some reason I thought that would matter. Only this team doesn’t fight, and it’s tough to believe that bothers them.
Once upon a time, long, long ago this season, the Cavaliers beat the Boston Celtics. I expect Vegas would favor the Celtics over the Heat if they were to collide in these playoffs this season. Meaning I think Boston’s a better team, objectively.
The Cavaliers beat that better team this season, and did so without Mo Williams that night. So don’t tell me it was impossible for Cleveland to go into the 4th quarter on Thursday trailing by EIGHT POINTS.
I mean let’s be real here. Nobody was really even asking for a win. Just hang around for a while, give the fans their money’s worth for an hour? And for the love of World B. Free, don’t hug and pal around with him all night long either.
Worse yet, if you do chose to do that, you really better play hard enough to not trail by a ‘diff’ that needs more than two hands to calculate by halftime.
Oh, and simply please fellas, if you are going to get blown out of the gym, while making the on-court environment as warm and friendly as possible for the guy’s return, do not come out the next day and attempt to send the collective message that you all really weren’t being as friendly as it seemed to the guy.
By no means am I singling out the only guy who scored 20 points here either. The only guy with enough stones to speak to the media the next day. That comment is directed at each and everyone of the huggers and wannabe best friends wearing Wine and Gold, desperately hoping to catch an invite to his next South Beach sock hop.
Which brings us to an ironic juncture that leaves Dan Gilbert asking that same question Nike did. What’s he supposed to do about all this?
I think he genuinely wanted to send the type of message I mentioned earlier heading into this season. Sure there’s an assortment of marketing reasons why he would need a season like that right now, waning interest to name one. But I’m not going to be so naive as to think that Dan Gilbert doesn’t believe sports can mean more to a community than simply games played by world class athletes, making world class dollars.
I think he wanted to put a collective group of players on the floor that stood for and demonstrated teamwork, courage, and hard work moreso than any other team in the Association. I think he wanted to do that for Cleveland, a city I think he genuinely loves.
I also think he’s addicted to winning though. In sports, in business, in life, it’s all he knows. I don’t know that he’s ever made decisions in life that he knew would result in losses. He might have to now though.
After watching the worst regular season performance in Cavaliers history on Thursday, he has to know now that he can’t win with the majority of the players he currently employs. They don’t resemble any of those things he wanted to stand for either. It must be a pretty painful realization to come to for the guy, I’d imagine.
Fact is, Maurice Williams is his best player. It was a playoff atmosphere to be sure on Thursday, and Maurice Williams played the way he typically plays in the playoffs. Awful. Every other player followed his lead.
The time has come to get much worse before we can ever think about being better again. Trade everybody, cut them too if you have too. Rebuild this thing from scratch.
Photo Credit: Brendan Bowers / WFNY