Friday, April 17, 2009

It's About That Time...

Did you ever imagine this moment?

Don’t lie to me.

You likely knew we’d be good, but this was just ridiculous. I think 66-16 exceeded expectations just a bit.

But now is the time the Cavs can prove their worth. That they really deserved to dominate SportsCenter and local media alike for much of this season. That “King James” is really king of this league.

We’ve heard it time and time again that anything less than a championship will be a disappointment. I hadn’t really bought that argument until the team recently clinched homecourt throughout the playoffs. Now Celtic forward Kevin Garnett’s health is in question, and Orlando’s Hedo Turkoglu might not be a 100 percent for these playoffs.

You might never got more of a sweetheart deal than that.

So, it starts with the Detroit Pistons, a familiar foe. A surprising 8 seed, they’re not exactly the powerhouse of the early ‘00s. Still, they’ve been around the block with proven big men Rasheed Wallace and Antonio McDyess and Rip Hamilton, the best in the NBA coming off screens.

Budding guards Rodney Stuckey and Will Bynum aren’t bad either ...

OK, I give up.


Nothing more to it. Their coach is a deer in headlights. Wallace will be more interested in technical fouls than rebounding and helping on LBJ.

I wholeheartedly expect a four-game sweep. Then, I expect to obnoxiously mock all of my friends from that area for at least the next full calendar year.

Should some shocking turn of events occur, I’ll rely on my man Rich-Rod to help me humiliate the state up north. That will surely work.

--Brandon C. Baker
Photo: The Associated Press

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Who needs rest?

The Cleveland Cavaliers are in a dilemma that this city has never experienced before.

With two games left to go they are fighting for two NBA records.

One is for the NBA's best record of the 2008-2009 season, which would guarantee them home court advantage should they make the NBA Finals.

The other would tie an NBA record should they win Wednesday night’s home competition vs. the Philadelphia 76ers. If they stand victorious Wednesday night, they’ll be 40-1 at home, which is absurd.

Normally, this is the time of the season where NBA coaches rest their starters to assure them fresh legs once the playoffs begin this weekend.

Here is why Mike Brown shouldn’t rest his guys.

1.) This city hasn’t experienced much success with professional sports, you don't need me to tell you that. So it’d be nice to boast about tying an NBA league record for most home wins in a season. Some pride associated with our professional sports teams wouldn’t hurt anybody, especially with all of the other things going on outside of sports.

2.) I think it is important to close out this season on a winning streak to maintain our groove, confidence and chemistry. Sitting out a game or two shouldn’t destroy anything, but I wouldn’t take any chances.

3.) Most importantly, Our guys aren’t logging a ton of minutes anyway, especially in the past few months. The Cavaliers have led by more than 20 points in 30 plus games. Lebron James has sat in at least 12 fourth quarters including Sunday’s Boston Massacre. James has played a career low in minutes and only two other players - Delonte West and Mo Williams - have logged in more than 30 minutes per game. Also, being the No. 1 seed will allow the Cavaliers to have a fairly easy match-up in the first round of the playoffs, most certainly allowing for some more fourth quarter resting.

Finally, I expect the Cavaliers to clinch the NBA’s best record tonight at Indiana. If that occurs, I’m sure Mike Brown will sit the majority of his starters on Wednesday, which would be a shame for how great the the Cavaliers have played at Quicken Loans Arena.

They deserve to stand next to the 1985-1986 Boston Celtics' record of 40-1 at home. The fans deserve it too.

-Nick Carrabine

A few things to pitch about

Despite a one game winning streak, the Tribe have some serious pitching issues.

Everyone saw it coming.

But no one saw this coming.

The starting rotation, which was questionable at best, put on one of the worst displays of “pitching” during the first week of the season where the Tribe just avoided going 0-6 for the first time in 95 years.

Cliff Lee, who yours truly kept as a keeper on his fantasy baseball team (which I regret, obviously), looks more like more like Cliff Huxtable trying to throw a baseball.

Yes, I know that comparison didn’t make any sense, but neither does the Indians management standing still during the offseason to correct this pitiful excuse for a starting rotation.

I’m not a proponent of getting rid of GM Mark Shapiro or Manager Eric Wedge just yet, but someone has to be held accountable for this train wreck, which everyone saw coming.

When you sign Carl Pavano, whose picture is next to “disabled list” in the dictionary, and depend on him as your No. 3 starter, you have serious issues.

I’m all for giving a guy a second chance but No. 3? Really?

Pavano turned in an impressive outing during his debut as a Cleveland Indian where he managed to give up three runs for every Texas Ranger he retired.

His ERA sits at a rock solid 81.00. Literally.

Who else is out on the market Shapiro?

Scott Lewis, who came into spring training as one of many candidates to win the No. 5 spot in the rotation somehow got bumped into the No. 4 slot. Hey, why not?

Now he’s on the disabled list.

If I were a starting pitcher in the Indians farm system, I would be shaking in my trousers to be called up to the big leagues in fear of having my name grouped in with these buffoons.

Anthony Reyes, whose picture could also be seen next to Pavano in the dictionary, was the only Indians starter to pitch six innings but still gave up four runs. Fausto Carmona gave up six runs in five innings.

To sum this blog up in one sentence, the Tribe are going absolutely nowhere if the starting rotation continues to give up 34 runs per week.

Will that happen? Probably not. But hey, this is Cleveland so hope for the best but expect the worst.

-Nick Carrabine

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Glad to see Dallas police officer resign after incident with NFL player

The incident in Dallas two weeks ago involving a former Dallas police officer and Houston Texans running back, Ryan Moats, was disturbing to say the least.

If you didn’t hear or read already, Moats and his wife were rushing to a Dallas hospital as his wife’s mother was literally lying on her death bed.

Moats, in a hurry to see his mother-in-law alive one last time, ran a red light.

The police officer, Robert Powell, flashed his lights and followed Moats to the emergency room entrance at the hospital.

He drew his gun and reportedly pointed it at Moats' wife who ignored the officer as she ran into see her dying mother.

Moats stayed behind to deal with the officer.

While many people are pulling the race card (Powell is white, Moats is black) I wouldn’t go that far.

But I wouldn't hesitate to pull the jerk card.

Listen, I’m sure police officers hear excuses similar to Moats’ all of the time. In fact, I personally know people who have used the excuse when pulled over that they were rushing to see a dying family member.

I know police have to take these excuses with a grain of salt and still do their job, but HELLO, Moats was three feet from the emergency room entrance of the hospital.

That is pretty believable.

A woman ran from a presumably loaded gun which was reportedly pointed at her into the hospital.

Sounds legit to me.

Furthermore, about 10 minutes after Moats unsuccessfully begged the officer to let him go inside to see his mother-in-law, another officer told Powell that a nurse confirmed the woman was dying and Powell’s response was “I’m almost done.”

Unlike the officer, Moats wasn’t on an egotistical power trip that night. Moats could have easily resorted to what a lot of celebrities do when they are pulled over and pull the “don’t you know who I am?” card. For the most part, he kept a level head but it’s still heartbreaking to hear a man plead “My mother-in-law is dying, I don’t understand how you can’t understand that.”

By the time Powell was done with Moats, a reportedly 13 minutes later which included threats such as “I can screw you over,” his mother-in-law was dead.

Now, Powell is done. He resigned from the department today.

His departure was inevitable as the chief of the department told the media he was disgusted and embarrassed by Powell’s actions.

I think everyone should be disgusted with Powell, including himself.

-Nick Carrabine

Cavs still have work cut out for them

Now that the No. 1 seed in the East is pretty much wrapped up, the Cavaliers now must turn their attention to (I can’t believe I am saying this) maintaining the best record in the NBA.

The team with the best record in the NBA Finals will have home-court advantage and as long as the dirty Cleveland curse can keep its ugly head out of here for just this one time, the Cavaliers should be playing in June.

Whether they have that best record or not, we'll find out in the next eight games.

Right now, they hold a three game lead over the Lakers. However, the Lakers own the tie-breaker, so we would have to finish one game above them to guarantee home court advantage.

Lets take a look at each team’s remaining schedule.

I’ll start with the Lakers, who have lost two in a row at the absolute worst time of the season to Atlanta and Charlotte (who by the way, find themselves just one game behind Chicago for the No. 8 seed in the East.)

The Lakers have eight games left including tonight at Milwaukee. Tonight’s game marks the final game of their seven game East Coast road trip.

The rest of their schedule includes home games to Houston (4-3), Los Angeles Clippers (4-5), Denver (4-9), Memphis (4-12), and Utah (4-14) and road games in Sacramento (4-7) and Portland (4-10).

I only expect the Lakers to lose one, maybe two more games.

They’ll be challenged by Houston Friday night and Denver next Thursday, but at home, they should pull off the victory.

Next Friday, they play the Trail Blazers at Portland. The Blazers beat the Lakers on March 9 in Portland by 17 points.

Houston, Portland and Denver, as of today, all sit within a game and a half of each other in the Western Conference playoff standings (Denver No. 2, Houston No. 4 and Portland No. 5.) So all of them have something to play for and will compete as if it were a playoff game.

But of course the Lakers, as they learned last June, need home-court advantage in the finals so I assume they'll be playing at a playoff level as well.

Utah also is within two and a half games of second seeded Denver, but the Lakers/Jazz match-up isn’t until the last day of the season and there is a good chance by then all of the playoff seedings will have already been sorted out.

The Cavaliers also have eight games left. They’ll play on the road in Washington (4-2), Orlando (4-3), Philidelphia (4-10), and Indiana (4-13) and play home to San Antonio (4-5), Washington (4-8), Boston (4-12) and Philadelphia (4-15).

Many of these games scare me.

Washington, despite their horrid record, always plays well against the Cavs, which they should because we’ve ended their season the past three years.

The Orlando game will be extremely tough as the Cavs have not won on the road versus the Lakers, Boston or Orlando yet this season. Orlando and Boston are still fighting for that No. 2 seed.

The San Antonio game won’t be a walk in the park either, they are still fighting for the No. 2 seed in the West.

Both games against Philly will be tough because they are fighting for the No. 5 seed.

The Cavs can afford to go 6-2 and it wouldn’t matter how the Lakers finish their season.

If I had to bet, 6-2 sounds just about right. We’ll probably lose in Orlando on the second night of a back-to-back against one of the best teams in the league and while Boston and San Antonio will be extremely tough match-ups, I’ll pick the team that is 36-1 at home to pull those games out.

At Philly next Friday could be the final defeat of the season.

-Nick Carrabine