Cavs’ Fan Guide to the NBA Playoffs

Over the weekend when I wasn’t watching the Tribe sweep the Orioles, I was checking out the NBA playoffs.  I saw on Twitter that some of the rest of you were doing the same and it got me thinking.  There were many theories about how to root in the playoffs in order to best represent the interests of Cavs fans.  Obviously, rooting against the Heat is an easy one and we can get that one out of the way early.  After that, it gets a lot more difficult.

I saw some people rooting for the Oklahoma City Thunder.  That makes sense because the Thunder have an amazing budding superstar named Kevin Durant who is easy to get behind.  This is a guy that announced his extension with his current club on Twitter.  This is a guy who went through the building process with his club and wants to be the glue that holds it all together as they strive toward the ultimate NBA prize.  You think Cavaliers fans can get behind something like that?

Only problem is he plays for a franchise that ripped the basketball heart out of the city of Seattle.  Many will try to claim that it is the city’s fault or whatever, but they said the same things about Michael White and the Browns.  The Sonics fans lost, regardless of who was to blame.

I saw some fans rooting for the Celtics because they are a team that can possibly knock off the Heat.  It is a sound theory and we have grown all too accustomed to seeing the Boston Celtics drive far into the playoffs.  What, exactly, would we be celebrating with a Celtics victory though?  That team was built through trades, particularly one that turned the Timberwolves into an irrelevant team.  Since that trade – that also included cash considerations – the Wolves haven’t won more than 32 games.  The team also hasn’t won more than 20 games in the last two seasons.

It is impossible to dismiss their own hand in their misery between “General Managers” Kevin McHale and David Kahn, but still.  Boston used big market power to rope in some guys in a coup by Danny Ainge.  In Cleveland, I am not really in the mood to celebrate any team executives and their “coups” right now, if you know what I mean.

Speaking of that, I won’t even go into the New York Knicks.  Some people want to give Carmelo Anthony credit for telling the Nuggets and letting them trade him, but I am over that line of thinking.  I think of it like congratulating one bank robber over another because the one didn’t shoot the teller.

I saw some people who wanted to root for the Spurs, but couldn’t bring themselves to do it because it would be a wholly low-rated NBA playoffs with them involved.  Explain to me again when sports fans became junior TV execs?  Either you like the sport of basketball, or you don’t.  If you really loved the sport of basketball, you wouldn’t spend so much time rooting for major markets to blow up the TV numbers.  You would hope that David Stern and company can make it market neutral like the NFL.  Well, unless you are a big market fan.  Watch and see which bloggers talk about TV ratings and you’ll find a not-so-impartial journalist.

In the end, I don’t really know what to tell you.  I tried to wade through it and come up with some kind of fake rule that would allow me to go all in with some other team, but I can’t.  I am a Cavaliers fan and if they aren’t in it, then my interest quite limited.  I’ll keep a small eye on it as a way of hoping the Heat gets knocked out, but even that doesn’t really have me fired up.

So, are you even watching?  If so, do you care about any team in particular?

  • Jean-Christian

    I watched Nuggets/Thunder game 1 last night, and it was extremely fun viewing. I didn’t expect to develop any rooting interest (given that I care only about the Cavs), but I found myself rooting for the Nuggets. Nene dominated stretches of the game, the guards made several beautiful cuts and floaters, Birdman… well, was Birdman, and the storylines are pretty compelling for a non-supporter (Karl’s battle with cancer, a team without a superstar coming together and playing well after Melo was traded). It’s not nearly the same as rooting for the Cavs, but last night made me want to follow the Nuggets’ playoff run.

  • GhostToMost

    Anybody but Miami. As much as I despise all Boston teams, I found myself rooting for the Celtics last night, because I believe they would pose the most problems for the Heat. After all the hype I want nothing more than to see the Superfriends go down in the second round. Beyond that I could care less.

  • B-bo

    At gunpoint I’d say Blazers I guess, but I’m not even watching. I don’t like today’s NBA enough to pay attention if my team isn’t involved, plus there are too many things not to like about the teams in the playoffs for me. Instead, I’ll spend this time enjoying the Tribe’s hot start for as long as possible.

  • jimkanicki

    i truly dislike the ‘tears for the seattle supersonics’ gambit.

    first, never ever compare the sonics leaving to the browns in terms of ‘ripping the heart’ out of an area. craig.. think about it. if you want to have the debate on whether the browns or sonic meant more to their respective areas.. im sure there are many people who’d be happy to engage. it’s absurd in general and especially so coming from a clevelander.

    second, let’s move on with the calling them ‘zombies.’ it’s been three years. i dont remember anyone calling the ravens ‘the modells.’ will tears be shed when the kings move from SACTO? no. the only reason for an ongoing national awareness of the sonics’ having left is due to bill simmons’ perpetual reminders which smells like cynical maneuvers to gain readers/listeners in a major and growing media market.

    seattle is home to boeing and microsoft and starbucks and believe me.. they dont give a crap about cleveland. they’ll be fine even with the temporary displacement of their nba franchise.

  • lstavole13

    Definitely Portland first. I wouldn’t mind seeing the Thunder, but the Seattle thing bugs me as well. Basically I hope Portland can pull it off.

  • Conrad

    Root for the Thunder, root against the Heat. That is all.

  • Jon

    I’m rooting for the Thunder, it’s not KD’s fault that he got drafted by a franchise that bugged out. I want to see him establish himself as the dominant player of this generation (above the Miami trio). I also like Portland, Memphis, and Philly (kill Miami).

  • B-bo

    I feel for any city that has a team they support and care about taken away, and I would think anyone who had experienced such a thing firsthand would do the same. The “my pain is worse than your pain” or “our team meant more than their team” attitude is just like the “real fan/bigger fan” chest-thumping nonsense that following sports becomes so often anymore. Losing the Browns seems worse to us because it happened to us, but I have no doubt that there are/were Sonics diehards who took a serious blow when they were robbed, and Kings fans feeling it now as well. Why it needs to be a matter of degrees baffles me.

  • gfish

    As a cleveland native going to school in Indianapolis it’s hard not to get behind the Pacers when the cavs are out. Granted they have little chance of beating the Bulls, but they did play tough on Saturday. Pacers fans are some of the most informed and enthusiastic supporters I have seen outside Cleveland. Indianapolis, like Cleveland is looked down upon as a city by rich snobby kids from places like Chicago, New York, Boston ect…I would love to see the Pacers knock off the Bulls and make a run.

  • Jo

    Always been kind of a Hornets fan. Not really sure why even. So… them… or the Griz. Just cuz.

  • Craig Lyndall

    I am in the B-bo camp on this one.

  • Mike Mayer

    How about some love for the Nuggets? They’ve got a fan base that knows what it feels like to be spurned by their beloved star, and they plan a fun, uptempo style.

    Plus, George Karl is one classy dude.

  • ClemJax

    Wait…the playoffs started?

    Yeah, the NBA is so far off my radar at this point it may as well just get the lockout started early and completely disappear.

  • JNeids

    East – Since someone has to make it, and there’s really only 3 teams that have a legit shot, I guess I have to root for the Bulls. I’m still not over Noah’s needless jab at Cleveland, but I do like Rose after he told everyone to “leave Cleveland alone” in the NBA 2K11 commercial. Oh, and he’s just freaking awesome. I only caught the last 5 minutes of that Game 1, and that was all I needed to see.

    West – I’ve been pulling for Dallas all year. I’ve always liked Dirk and Cuban (love a passionate, honest owner). If they happen to go down to Portland in round 1, I’ll let Gerald Wallace (who I always wanted in Cleveland) and the Blazers take over my rooting interest. Regardless of who wins the West, they have my support in the Finals.

  • mgbode

    unfortunately, I am more a root-against guy this year than a root-for. too much dislike for teams from being a contender these past few years + disdain for the Heat.


    root against:

    1. Heat – duh.
    2. Lakers – double duh.
    3. Celtics – winner of Heat v. Celtics hopefully will lose in ECF.
    4. Bulls – of ‘real’ contenders in East, they are most palatable, but it makes me sick ‘rooting’ for them.
    5. Knicks – more laughing at than rooting against though.

    indifferent, just like to watch playoff basketball (from most likely to root for):
    1. Mavs – too many choke jobs in the past, too much Dallas-love in Austin.
    2. Magic – tough to say, but I like alot of what they have. I just hate SVG’s antics and that is almost enough to put them in the root against category.
    3. Hawks – alot to like really, but they just don’t seem like they are put together really well.
    4. Hornets – I want to root for them, but I really don’t like that Paul is positioning himself to be “next” to make a cowardly move.
    5. Grizzlies – they gifted the Lakers Pau and setup their run. but, they rebounded to build a pretty nifty team themselves. fun when Conley Jr. is on his game. dysfunctional offense when he’s not (I know he’s not their best player, but he’s definitely their catalyst on offense).

    root for:
    1. Blazers – 1-team town + no superstar team + a few of my favorite under-the-radar guys (Batum, Gerald Wallace, etc)
    2. Spurs – built the team the right way, didn’t get gifted superstars through ex-player bogus trades. great coach.
    3. Nuggets – exciting basketball, no superstars, plenty of characters (including Karl). fun times.
    4. Thunder – hate that they were ripped from Seattle. but, Durant is a great and humble player and Westbrook is exciting and they play team ball.
    5. 76ers – I love how they play basketball. Really do. And Iggy is an under-rated player (and he’ll be over-rated soon again and then under-rated again…he’s one of those guys that goes in cycles)

    team that doesn’t deserve to be there:
    1. Pacers – let’s just be glad that the Cavs weren’t “good enough” to be in this select company.

  • Thunder Dan

    Has it really gotten to the point where Chicago and Boston are the most palatable picks out of the East? Sure, because the Bulls and Celtics haven’t won enough championships. Gah. Still, I’ll root for either of ’em if they’re facing the Heat.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing Dirk finally get a ring so he won’t have that asterisk attached to his name forever. I’m a huge Tim Duncan admirer, so I wouldn’t mind the Spurs having one last taste of glory.

    The Nuggets and Blazers are real longshots, but I’d totally climb on their bandwagons for a month or two.

    Basically, I’ll be pulling for whatever Western Conference team makes it to the finals, except LA, unless they’re facing Miami.

  • mgbode

    @Thunder Dan – “Basically, I’ll be pulling for whatever Western Conference team makes it to the finals, except LA, unless they’re facing Miami.”

    yep. you summed it up pretty well and succinctly to boot.

  • GhostToMost

    As much as Ive hated Kobe Bryant over the years, theres a part of me that wouldnt mind seeing Kobe win his 6th ring. Why? Because of the rivalry between he and LeBron. You know it eats at LeBron to see Kobe with 5 rings and he with none.

    I think that was a big part of his motivation to team up with Wade, he knew that his chances of winning 5 or 6 rings in Cleveland werent good. He had to team up with another superstar to have a shot at catching Kobe. As long as Kobe is winning titles and LeBron is ringless, Kobe will continue to be referred to as the best player in the game, most clutch, best closer, etc.

    That, and I dont want LeBron to go down as the best player of his generation. My hope is that LeBron vs Kobe isnt even a debate 15 years from now. My hope is that it will be a no-brainer…Kobe.

    Kind of a “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” kind of thing.

  • Shamrock

    C’mon now you all want to root for the Celtics and you know it, lol. I don’t know if our old men can hang in there but game 1 was great. Other then the C’s I’ll cheer some for OKC but I also liked the Meloless Nuggets.. It’s a shame these two had to meet round one.

  • kevin

    I’m so disillusioned by the NBA.

  • Denny


  • Dave

    I know I’m supposed to hate the Celtics for ripping my heart out repeatedly, but I really can’t. I was born and raised in New England, and watched the Celtics play horribly after Larry Bird and Kevin McHale retired leaving an aging Robert Parish to try to anchor the team.

    But 15 years later they were again competing for championships, so it gives me hope that the Cavs might be able to as well.

  • Drew

    Each team has their pros and cons.

    I can’t get behind Boston because of obnoxious Boston fans and Kevin Garnett. However, I can always root for D West.

    The Bulls have D Rose who is the most exciting player to watch in the NBA. The Bulls also have Noah who has been insufferable to watch teams play against since his Florida days. Also, some guy named Boozer.

    The Lakers have entitled fans. I actually don’t have any pros for this team except that they may have the best shot at taking down the Heat.

    Spurs are old and boring. That is their pro and con. They also destroyed the ill-prepared Cavs in the 2007 Finals.

    The Mavs have the whole Texas thing against them. But I’ve been a big Jason Kidd fan his entire career and would like to see the old man finally get a ring.

    Ultimately the Thunder is the team I’ll be rooting for. Durant is a stand-up guy. It isn’t the fault of the players or in fans in OKC that the Sonics fled Seattle. I’m sure I’d feel different if I grew up in the Seattle area though.

    No other team has a realistic chance of winning it all.

  • Cooley Ford

    For some reason, I’ve been drawn to the Grizzlies since the Gasol trade. They strike me as a good young team that could hypothetically grow into a perennial playoff team. They were a train wreck a few years ago, but somehow they’ve righted the ship.

    I also loves me some Rudy Gay, so they’ve got that going for them. I think they could have made a run at the 6 seed if he stayed healthy.

  • DKH

    My list:

    Disliked teams:
    1, 2. Lakers, Celtics, duh
    3. Spurs: they are a colossally dirty team and I won’t root for dirty teams.
    4. Miami: also a no-brainer, except that I do kinda hope Z finally gets a ring.
    5. New York: slapping superstars together doesn’t make a team

    Meh teams:
    1. Indiana
    2. Chicago: I like Noah as a Varejao-equivalent, but I don’t think Rose is as good as everyone thinks he is.
    3. Philly: I guess they play team ball, but I don’t know anything about them.
    4. Atlanta: Just no strong feelings about them, except that their future is gone because they overpaid Joe Johnson.
    5. Orlando: Not a fan, but I like their team design and strategy. Too bad their players other than Howard aren’t showing up.
    6. Dallas: Also no strong feelings. They are good for perpetual 50-win seasons and early playoff exits.
    7. Oklahoma City: I like them, but yea, they’re stolen from Seattle.

    Liked teams:
    1. Memphis: Underdogs and I hate the Spurs.
    2. New Orleans: I like Chris Paul and hate the Lakers.
    3. Portland: Well-managed team; I wish Roy and Oden still had their knees.
    4. Denver: Team ball, thriving without their “superstar” (Melo isn’t that good, he just gobbles shots).

    So four teams to root for and five to root against. I can at least get some enjoyment from the playoffs.

  • Cooley Ford

    My favorite teams left

    1. Memphis – Salvaged train wreck. I’ve also been driving the Rudy Gay bandwagon since 2005
    2. Philly – I don’t know why, I just like watching them play. I can’t put my finger on it, maybe it’s the uniforms.
    3. Denver – So fun to watch, especially if J.R. Smith is going off. So many fun guys here.
    4. Indiana – I’m still mad the Cavs didn’t get to draft Roy Hibbert. I had him earmarked for us since he was a sophomore @ G-Town to be Z’s eventual replacement. Psycho T is a joy to watch.
    5. Dallas – I really feel bad for Dirk. Also, we need to have a Mavs v. Lakers series for Cuban and Phil banter.
    6. Portland – Gerald Wallace and Nick Batum are beautiful on defense. Gotta rep for the guys w/bad knees, too.
    7. Atlanta – Flawed, but I never really disliked them. Fun team if they’re hitting on offense.
    8. New Orleans – Neutral towards them. Don’t really like CP3. I think he’s going to NYK eventually. I feel for them financially, though.
    9. Orlando – Residual bitterness from Roidshard Lewis and Sir Bricks-a-lot & co in ’09. Otherwise, I’m fine with them.
    10. Spurs – Can’t stand Manu Ginobili, and I’ve grown tired of them. They’d be lower if they were a real contender.
    11. Boston – Other than KG, I kind of like their team. He alone drops them this far. He is the definition of a chump.
    12. Chicago – Derek Rose gets so many BS superstar calls. Noah is an annoying POS as well. Boozer is also Chris Bosh -1.0.
    13. New York – They play no D, Carmelanoma is a ball-stopping cancer. Mike D’Antoni may also be the most overrated coach ever. Also, they’ve had inordinate media coverage all year due to their locale.
    14. Oklahoma City – I don’t know why, but I just can’t stand Kevin Durant. Something about his game infuriates me to no end. Clay Bennett is a lying (expletive deleted), and I hate how they’re shoved down our throats as a team that was “built the right way.” Right after they executed a planned tanking, fire sale, and relocation.
    15. Los Angeles – If Kobe wins another ring, may God have mercy on us all. His fanboys will proclaim him the best ever, and ESPN will release stories through their hired trolls (Cowherd, Skip Bayless, etc.) on company directive to make it a huge issue.
    16. Miami – I really can’t stand that Joel Anthony fellow. I heard it through the grapevine that he’s a terrible tipper…

  • Foghorn Leghorn

    I have to root for the Bulls, Celtics, Magic, and Sixers to start because those are the only teams that can potentially beat the Heat. It would be foolish to root for the Knicks and setup that potential secound round beat down from the Heat.

    Out west, gimme Thunder, Spurs, or Lakers. Spurs or Lakers if the Heat make the finals, Thunder in any other scenario.

  • JM

    Thunder and anyone but Miami from the East.