The song goes on and on about all the miracles God performed for the Jewish people, continuously singing praise and stating that “it would have been enough” for each of the individual actions, but the list continued forward.
That’s what it was like in reverse Tuesday night for Cleveland Cavalier fans, with as negative feelings as you can get in just 10 months. Yes, it would have simply been enough murdering to a fan base to have the playoff meltdown against the Celtics. Certainly let alone The Decision or The Letter or the then ridiculous preseason predictions. But then the rough return and losses in 20 of 21 contests already? Hopefully, one would think that would have been enough as well.
But not in Cleveland. No, that’s clearly never enough in Cleveland.
I’m the youngest member of the WFNY staff as has been noted before, and so my misery is not as personally painful, but last night was an absolute disaster for Cleveland sports. With the 112-57 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers (the NBA’s worst in 13 years and third largest margin of victory in LA’s storied history), the Cavaliers fell flat on the faces yet again.
And certainly yet again, it would have been enough from there. But oh of course, that is only where the story began last night. From LeBron’s viral tweet heard ’round the world to Mo’s insightful wisdom, there was plenty of commentary to share on the Cavs’ misery.
But when you saw the quotes pouring out of the locker room, it was beyond even the usual for Northeast Ohio sports fans. Antawn Jamison, a player much criticized even upon his entrance to the city, shared this about the performance:
“It can’t get any worse than this,” Jamison said. “I don’t know how much of this I can take but this by far is rock bottom.
“The frustrating part about it is I know what we got in us. I don’t know, but something has to change.”
Before going too much into those comments on where we stand at the moment, let’s rewind a little bit to some commentary during this period of suffering to depict what could be next to ensure that this is actually the bottom and not just the beginning of the end. Two things in particular stand out as guidance for the road to come.
First and foremost, a recent piece by Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don’t Lie. One of the best basketball writers in the country, he is the one that got in so much trouble back in early July for predicting just 12 wins for an only slightly deteriorated Cavs roster at the time. He’s written a few times on the team this week, but this is one segment that sticks out the most:
“What was the point of almost or actually making the playoffs with this roster, this payroll, these non-stars? It was just delaying the inevitable, an inevitability that has hit hard by the second week of the new year, even with the high-priced talent still on board. It’s the worst of both worlds, and Cleveland deserves so much more.
It’s unfortunate that this team’s ownership group doesn’t feel the same way. It’s unfortunate that Dan Gilbert still thinks he can sell the Cavaliers on … well, what is he trying to sell them on? What a big doofus LeBron is? Still? Is that still the rallying cry? Because it was a pretty lame one in July, and even lamer five months later. He’s gone, Dan Gilbert, and you cashed in on your martyrdom mere minutes after he split. Needlessly dragging Cavalier fans behind you the entire time.”
At the time of reading this quick article on Anderson Varejao’s injury just Monday morning, it was difficult to comprehend. It still seemed like the team was heading somewhere in some direction with this depressing season, and I wasn’t ready to at least create that much of a psychotic rationalization of Gilbert’s actions to attempt to compete this season.
But in the end, Dwyer seemed to be getting somewhere with any sort of over-arching goal for this franchise at the moment. Were the Cavs still realistically hoping to be a playoff caliber team last week and if not, what is going on right now?
In the meanwhile, there was one other commentary I wanted to point toward. It was one that I took a great deal of criticism for in the comment section back on July 10th here at WFNY, but it is an article that I still stand by today. Check out some of these clips for yourself:
“So, what should the Cavaliers do with the remainder of their team now that LeBron James is gone? Blow it up. Get rid of guys left and right. Please don’t acquire more bad contracts by players that are not on the right side of their prime years in the league.
Acquiring Antawn Jamison, Shaquille O’Neal and others over the past two years were mistakes. These are players that could be decent role players on a good team, but now that the Cavs are merely mediocre, they represent nothing for the future. … In order to get better, the Cavs should try to get rid of these contracts and succeed in the future through the draft.
Stock up on young players for the first time in years. Outside of Hickson and Williams, the Cavaliers have no decent prospects that any team in the NBA would even really want in a trade that badly. … The quicker the rebuild occurs and the quicker the Cavs attract young players with decent upside, the quicker this team will again contend for an NBA title.”
So now seems to be the perfect moment of truth for Gilbert in relation to those quotes from Jamison and this realization stemming from the Lakers’ loss. “It would have been enough” to just have the events from this summer, but the embarrassments have continued.
How can we really try to be proud of a team that loses by 55 points with no immediate direction? Is it your fault, Gilbert, for putting the team in this particular situation of misery? Is it finally time to relieve the suffering of the veterans like Jamison and the Cleveland fans everywhere by doing something proactive?
It certainly seems that way even despite the injuries and excuses for Tuesday’s blowout.
But the song Dayenu never really was supposed to end. And in Cleveland sports, misery just seems to be a never-ending trend so far through my lifetime. That means the ball is in your court Gilbert; let’s see if you can stop the cycle.
(Photo above via AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)