April 24, 2014

2013 NBA Finals – Brian Spaeth breaks down the Heat and game 2 in 10 minutes – WFNY Podcast – 2013-06-09

WFNY Podcast LogoBrian and I decided to talk a little basketball today after the movie podcast. But, I’m posting the basketball podcast first, so you can pretend like it happened before the movie podcast… which will be posted later.

  • Breaking down the Heat game 2 vs. the Spurs

  • LeBron has fulfilled his potential as a player and he’s almost unhateable

  • LeBron wasn’t putting in effort during Cavs games

  • Dwyane Wade loves making excuses

  • LeBron James and his stage awareness back in the day

  • Dwyane Wade has the same game he had in 2006

  • Kind of feeling sorry for Chris Bosh

  • Bosh’s hysterical nature on the court

  • You can’t really have an opinion of the Spurs

  • “You don’t like basketball if you don’t like the way the Spurs play.”

  • Liking the NBA for stars

  • The fascination in the Heat when they lose

  • Brian would love to see the Heat get swept

  • Carmina Burana and O Fortuna

  • The Volatility of the Heat vs. the collected nature of the Spurs [Read more...]

LeBron’s lack of help in 2013 rivals lack of help in 2007

Big 3

Jordan had Pippen, Kobe had Shaq,1 and hell even Skywalker had Solo.

No matter how amazing or perfect someone may be, everyone needs help.

LeBron was chastised for heading down to South Beach to team up with an NBA Finals MVP and a reptilion all-star. He was branded scared, afraid, and a coward for running from the challenge he and his Cavalier teammates faced in the Celtics’ Big Three and heading to the land built by cocaine and murder to form his own trio.

“He didn’t want the pressure of being the guy”, we all said.

“He’ll never be Jordan. This clearly takes him out of the conversation. He can win as much as he wants to. There would have been something honorable about staying in Cleveland and trying to win it as the man.” Chimed in Charles Barkley on 790 The Ticket in Miami after “The Decision”.

At the time I couldn’t have agreed more. With a nasty taste in my mouth I searched high and low for quotes like this to wash it out. We all wondered who would be the alpha dog on this Heat team? Who would take the last shot? Who would ride shotgun when the crew of “best friends” headed to Chipotle after practice? It’s Wade’s team, LeBron doesn’t want to be the guy we concluded. [Read more...]

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Footnotes:

  1. Or Gasol []

2013 NBA Draft Lottery – Cavs win! Nerlens Noel, Kevin Love, Chris Bosh? – WFNY Podcast – 2013-05-22

WFNY Podcast LogoScott joined me for about 20 minutes to discuss the Cavaliers goings on since winning the NBA draft lottery last night. Here’s what we talked about more specifically.

  • The turmoil of having the first overall pick in the draft

  • What do you think about the trade down cuteness?

  • Due diligence and just how little fans and media can do

  • Nerlens Noel and how good he needs to be in order for Grant to justify taking him

  • Do you trust Chris Grant to avoid the tendency to chase height and need?

  • Kevin Love and how unavailable he really is

  • James Harden wasn’t available until he was either

  • Lamarcus Aldridge and his availability

  • Marc Gasol and his ability to be moved

  • Chris Bosh’s name and how nobody has talked about it yet

  • Free agency pool and who you would look at in free agency

  • Zach Lowe’s critique of the NBA lottery event and the Cavs

  • Players and how goofy they look on the dais [Read more...]

Spoelsta on Irving: This dude hurt some people last night

Kyrie love fest continues. Now getting in on the action is Miami Heat and Eastern Conference All-Stars coach, Eric Spoelstra, who gave his two cents on Irving’s performance last night.

Spoelstra recently named Chris Bosh to the Eastern Conference’s starting lineup as a replacement for the injured Rajon Rondo.

[Related: Video: Kyrie Irving breaks Brandon Knight's ankles]

Regardless of LeBron’s fortune, I already own the conclusion

One of the hardest lessons I learned from the LeBron James situation in Cleveland is that I can’t let anyone have that kind of control over me ever again. The power that LeBron James had over Cleveland was granted to him by people just like you and me. Sure, it was augmented by Phil Knight and Nike, as well as enablers that worked for both Gordon Gund and Dan Gilbert, but ultimately you can’t be sold anything if you aren’t willing to buy it. When it came to LeBron James, Cleveland bought in hard. In hindsight, too hard.

For all the stupidity that occurred during LeBron’s free agency, it was amplified by the fact that LeBron’s actions forced us to look in the mirror and question ourselves. For a lot of us we didn’t like what we saw. Andy Baskin penned a long piece about how he felt he and the media had failed in a lot of ways in covering James. Even the angriest of fans, including the few that burned their jerseys, were more than likely redirecting a lot of their own self-anger and self-hatred toward LeBron James whether they knew it or not. In hindsight, for me and I think for a lot of other fans out there, it was self-hatred fueling a large amount of the fire. It is important to know that. It doesn’t let James off the hook as catalyst and key figure in the situation, but it is a far more balanced and intellectually honest view and baseline to begin any conversation on the topic. [Read more...]

Familiar Faces Return to Cleveland as Cavaliers Host the Miami Heat

Cavs have one last chance to stop LeBron and the Heat this season

The LeBron James circus is in town Friday as the Miami Heat (23-7, 2nd in the East) and the Cleveland Cavaliers (11-16, 10th in the East) square off for the final time this season.

In each of the first two matchups between these two teams, the Cavaliers played tough, hanging in there with Miami through 3+ quarters. But just as an older brother sometimes lets his younger brother hang around before ultimately playing hard at the end to beat him, so too did the Miami Heat manage to play hard in the final minutes and put the Cavaliers away. We’ll see if the 3rd time is the charge for Cleveland or if the injuries and talent deficiency will just be too much to overcome yet again.

Cleveland will once again be without Anderson Varejao, Anthony Parker, and Daniel Gibson. With their only two true SGs on the team out, the Cavaliers will turn to Alonzo Gee to start at SG, leaving Ramon Sessions and Ben Uzoh as the only guards on the bench, and both of them are PGs. I’d expect to see a lot of Sessions at PG with Irving sliding over to SG when Gee is needed either at SF or on the bench. It’s not an ideal situation to move guys around when playing a team as tough as the Heat, but this is part of why the Cavaliers’ flexibility was listed as a team strength before the season. There are a lot of interchangeable combo players on this roster, and it should make things a little easier to adjust. [Read more...]

Cavaliers Will Try Again To Steal a Win in Miami

Kyrie Irving and the Cavs fell just short in Miami last month

For the 2nd time this season the Cleveland Cavaliers (9-13, 9th in the East) will travel to Miami to take on the Heat (18-6, 2nd in the east). The last time out, the Cavaliers were struggling mightily and it was starting to look like their upstart season was unraveling. In many ways, that Miami game turned out to be one of the more important games of the season, as the Cavaliers were able to limit LeBron James to 18 points in a very tight 92-85 loss.

Usually you’d prefer a win be your watershed moment rather than a loss, but in this case, the Cavaliers had just been absolutely eviscerated by both the Bulls and the Hawks and some wondered if the wheels were coming off. By hanging in there and fighting tooth and nail with the Heat, the Cavaliers showed a real spirit in not giving up and not succumbing to their opponents’ will just because of the disparity in talent.

This time around, the Cavaliers face the Heat with some confidence and momentum on their side. After a week of insane 4th quarter comebacks and big wins over Boston and Dallas, the Cavaliers should feel a lot better about their chances. [Read more...]

Cavaliers Taking Their Struggles To South Beach to Face the Heat

Wait, we’re not tired of the “taking my [blank] to [blank]” jokes yet, are we?

The struggling Cleveland Cavaliers (6-9) must go to Miami where they will face the reigning Eastern Conference Champion Heat (11-5).

In some ways, both teams are having similar starts to their seasons as they had last year. The Cavaliers started off showing some spunk, winning games here and there, threatening the .500 mark, before the wheels came off.

The Heat started off better this year than they did last year, but they come limping into their first game with Cleveland, a team not exactly having things go as smoothly as they had hoped.

Of course, we all remember what happened in last year’s December 2nd matchup. The Heat sparked their season back into form and never looked back. The Cavaliers never looked back either. They just allowed defeat into their hearts and went on to set an NBA record losing streak.

So what’s going to happen this time? [Read more...]

Bill Simmons Says “The Decision” Worked

Bill Simmons used his recently launched venture, Grantland, to deliver an article about how “The Decision” was the best thing that has happened to the NBA in 15 years.  No. Really.  He used his new venture on Grantland, where it is supposedly not merely about driving traffic and hits, to proclaim that an event that disrupted the entire structure of the NBA was good for the league. His proclamation is based almost exclusively on ratings.  So, let me rephrase.  Bill Simmons started a venture, Grantland, where quality is derived almost exclusively by not blindly chasing Internet traffic spikes and yet the league he cares so much about was served proudly by an event of extremely questionable taste and judgment because it supposedly drove up ratings?

I don’t really want to talk about LeBron James anymore.  I don’t want to talk about my feelings or what a self-centered egomaniac I think he is.  It is all tired.  It has been stated ad nauseum and there is a specific reason that I am staying away from watching these NBA finals.  I refuse to co-sign for what occurred in the league dynamic this season.  I realize fully that my little “vote” counts for very little in the ratings book.  Trust me, it isn’t about me trying to punish anyone with a “powerful sword” that I have at my side.  It is more about not torturing myself as I vote “none of the above.”

None of that means that I don’t have opinions about the league and what it has become / is becoming.  I will always have an interest in the business of sports.  That is where I have the most problem with Bill Simmons’ latest column claiming that “The Decision” worked.

Let’s get into some of the specifics. [Read more...]

Why I Can’t Root for the Celtics

As the Miami Heat leads their series with the Boston Celtics, ESPN reports that the Celtics provided the blueprint for what LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh put together in Miami.  “Seeing guys make sacrifices to come together and play as one.  They set the blueprint and went out there and did it.  They won a championship.  They competed every year” James said.

“With LeBron losing to Boston in Cleveland in the playoffs, he felt like, ‘I gotta do more, I need to be around more to contend for a championship,’ ” Wade said. “Me feeling the same way going into the summer, saying that I needed more, it was because of Boston. They knocked us out.” [Read more...]

LeBron James Returns to Cleveland, But Does Anyone Care?

The Miami Heat landed in Cleveland last night, but it appears that only the diehard fans are truly aware.

The last time the Heat and Cavaliers squared off in Cleveland, the media circus was unavoidable.  Fans were rallying via different mediums, security was being increased ten-fold, and outsiders were giving their various takes on just what exactly fans of the Wine and Gold should do as LeBron James made his first apprearance to the visiting locker room at Quicken Loans Arena.

[Read more...]

Kevin Durant is “Doing Things the Right Way”

In Cleveland, it is a rarity of epic proportions for a visiting team, player or fan to get applause from those in attendance.

Shaquille O’Neal received some applause during his introduction on Cavaliers opening night.   Bernie Kosar’s Dallas Cowboys jersey may have sold more units in Cleveland than it did in Dallas. Omar Vizquel could run for mayor, not campaign, and still win in a landslide.  If Zydrunas Ilgauskas was in a random Clevelander’s home, he would be told to just lock the door as he leaves.

But all of the abovementioned players actually played games in the city of Cleveland, for a Cleveland team.  On Sunday afternoon, prior to the Cavaliers getting drubbed by 20 points at the hands of Oklahoma City, All-World forward Kevin Durant was greeted with a warm reception which caught the star player a bit off guard.  [Read more...]

Pat Riley Fires Back at Miami Heat Critics

Miami Heat president Pat Riley met with the media Friday to discuss some topics concerning the free agency summer of 2010. The long-time coach of the team took personal offense to many criticisms of the Heat throughout this long process and left no prisoners with his statements.

For Cavalier fans, it is a story that will never die and continues to haunt every single day. As much as the city of Cleveland wants to put the entire LeBron James era in the backseat now, the story will continue to be a major attention grabber for years to come.

Riley extended the news cycle of the two acquisitions of James and Chris Bosh. From comparing James to another Eastern Conference forward to lashing back at Charles Barkley, the comments are almost comical if they weren’t meant to be so serious.
[Read more...]

Dwyane Wade: “I Wasn’t Going to Cleveland”

Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade made an appearance on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live Thursday night, introduced to the crowd as “possibly the greatest general manager of all time.” 

The visit focused almost solely on the last month of free agency movement in which Wade gave all of the credit to Pat Riley for orchestrating arguably the biggest coup in the history of professional sports.

Wade himself claimed that he is catching up to Gloria Estefan in terms of popularity in Miami and did not count out living with his new teammates.  When asked about Chris Bosh possibly being linked to Cleveland prior to he and LeBron James taking off for “South Beach,” Kimmel asked Wade if he would have considered playing with the two other All-Stars in Cleveland.

“No,” Wade quickly replied.  “I wasn’t going to Cleveland.”

The response drew a laughter from the Los Angeles-based crowd, obviously because Cleveland is such a dreadful place to play basketball for six months of the year.  Just ask Joakim Noah.

The full appearance in video form is after the jump.  Have at it, folks. [Read more...]

LeBron James Is The Third Man!

This video pretty much speaks for itself:

This video has been floating around on Twitter and is the perfect way to bring some levity to a slow Thursday afternoon in the office. Enjoy.

What LeBron James Should Have Done

The LeBron James thing has been played (and re-played) over and over again non-stop.  As Rock said in his summer league post, we can’t promise we are done yet either as details come out.  But now for something totally different with less hatred than most postings, let me suggest how it should have gone.  It is time to stop analyzing it and restating the same things over and over again.  Just wanted to put together, simply and easily, what LeBron could have done to make it slightly more palatable.  It still would have tasted about as good as a plate of cow feces, but instead of shoving my face in it at least let me eat it with a knife and fork, right?  Right???!?!!?  OK, that was a bad metaphor. Anyway…

This is assuming LeBron truly did make his decision sometime either Wednesday night or Thursday morning.  Obviously the authenticity of that fact is somewhat questionable, but let’s just assume that LeBron wanted to make his announcement in a relatively similar time frame.  Here is how I think it should have gone down. [Read more...]

NBA Free Agency: The Big Collusion

The Collusion – that’s what AP and Cavs beat reporter Tom Withers was calling the arrangement that came to fruition this past week in Miami.  Spike Lee was calling it a conspiracy, articulating that we were all hoodwinked and it was rigged: “It was laid out. This didn’t happen by happenstance.  They made people look like idiots. They had the thing planned out two years ago.”

Brian Windhorst, in a piece that sportswriters have been heralding since last night, delivered the excellent and detailed reporting which has provided a base for these collusion, and potentially tampering, accusations in an A1 Plain Dealer story this morning.  Journalism and reporting have been discussed nearly as much as the players themselves in the past few weeks.  Windhorst’s triumphant reporting, something he calls only the “tip of the iceberg,” details a plan hatched and honed over the past four years to unite the 3 stars in their 2010 summer of free agency.

[Read more...]

Cavs Complete Sign & Trade; Heat Party Completes Transformation into America’s Most Hated Team

“I’m not up here just blowing smoke at these fans, because that’s not what I’m about.”

With the wounds from Thursday night’s “Decision” still open, scenes from an extravagant and unseemly premature celebration in Miami on Friday night poured an entire box of salt right into them.  If the spectacle in Greenwich had not angered everyone in the country outside of So. Florida, the spectacle in Miami seemed to convert the few remaining holdouts who had not yet been irked by the behavior and words coming from the stars of the new superteam.  Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch, a removed and even-handed analyst of sports media, tweeted “Not trying to be alarmist or hyperbolic: I honestly believe the Miami Heat are now the most hated team in all of professional sports.”  As with Thursday evening, LeBron James’s words seemed to be the troublesome sparks for this inferno of anger and disillusionment borne from the great summer of NBA free agency.  Brand and image in tatters, LeBron, impetus for the new nickname “Three Mi-egos,” lit those tatters on fire and finalized his heel turn to supervillain.

[Read more...]

While We’re Waiting…LeBron Reaction Outside of NE Ohio

We skipped over WWW yesterday in lieu of original content on the biggest Cleveland sports story in some time. This is a mega compilation of what is being written outside of the jilted region of NE Ohio.  Much of what has been expressed here and by fellow Cleveland bloggers is echoed and expanded upon at the national level.  As always, send tips to our email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com

“There are reports that James tried to convince Chris Bosh to come to Cleveland to play with him there… Bosh preferred the beaches of Miami and the cover of Dwayne Wade. And LeBron James, faced with the decision so big that it became The Decision on ESPN, follows Chris Bosh. You have to ask yourself if you could imagine Jordan or Magic or Bird or Kareem or Russell following Chris Bosh in hopes of glory…What I think we learned on Thursday is that for all the hype, for all the talk, for all the bravado, LeBron James did not believe in himself enough. He just wasn’t quite sure if he’s good enough to make his own team win in Cleveland. Maybe he’s not. The shame of it for Cleveland is: We’ll never know.” [Joe Posnanski/Sports Illustrated]

[Read more...]

LeBron, Loyalty, and the Suffering of Cleveland Sports Fans

Loyalty in sports is dead. It’s been dead for quite some time, actually, but we’ve been too blissfully ignorant to open our hearts and let the truth in. We deluded ourselves into believing that even though Cleveland continuously gets stomped on and left behind by stars, that LeBron was going to be different. He’s from here, so he’s going to be the one to change everything. We heard for 7 years about what a loyal person LeBron is and how he loves this community and the people here and how he understands what it is to be a Cleveland sports fan.

The only problem is, we all forgot that loyalty in sports is dead. [Read more...]