Monday, April 11, 2005

Nothing but blue skies and gray hopes

Orlando -- Woke up this morning, ate Cherrios, went to shootaround at the O-rena (I know it's called the TD Waterhouse Centre, but it'll always be the O-rena to me). Jeff McInnis wore his practice jersey backwards (just for me?), then proceeded to curse me out on sight and swore to continue doing so for the rest of his life. All for a two-sentence note I wrote two weeks ago that was true, because he told me so. When I reminded him I've written about 20 times as many positive things about them as negative, he swore at me again. I'll continue to act like a professional, even if the crabby millionaire won't. I understand, after all, I'm his biggest problem.

Then I had to check the pulse of Drew Gooden, who was rumored to have been killed in an auto accident last night. The news was being reported on radio stations in Orlando and Cleveland. I found him alive, in good health, and good spirits. He said he was watched Napoleon Dynamite at his house here.

Afterward, played putt-putt golf with fellow beat writers. Mary Schmidt Boyer of Cleveland Plain Dealer netted four aces and Bob Finnan, the only non-golfer in the group, proved to have a steady stroke. But neither could deal with my stinging consistency as I was victorious by eight strokes (that's right, Boyer had four aces and I still was undaunted).

It's sunny here and currently sunny in Cavsland because they actually won a game on Saturday. I scoffed at it, it was fool's gold. My belief in the team's chances has waned considerably because I flat out have no faith in their defense, especially since the All-Star Break. They used to play good team defense in the fourth quarter early in the season, but they've dropped a lot of the principles that got them to 11 games over .500. They don't challenge, they don't rotate, and they don't help consistently.

There are plenty of reasons for this, some which lay at Paul Silas' feet and the players willingness to help each other. Even in beating Milwaukee, when they held them to 81 points, it was more because the Bucks couldn't run pick and rolls because Joe Smith was out with injury and Desmond Mason got ejected. Also, Michael Redd and his teammates were out there freelancing and taking jumpers, letting the Cavs get long rebounds and run.

When the Cavs score, they can beat anyone. That's what LeBron James does best and when he's at his best, like Saturday, he's almost unbeatable. I will admit, it was quite a show even for those of us that see him everyday. But he can't do that every night, especially on the road where he doesn't shoot as well. I may have to take this back later, but I don't see any light for this team as it is currently constructed. I know that is a chance in stance from my thoughts earlier, but we all know this is a changed team.

For more on the Cavaliers current state and what life is like for Brendan Malone, read by Sunday Column.

Take care all,
Brian aka