Cavaliers valid contenders

on May 2016 | in Sports | by Dario Passarelli | @PapaDart | with No Comments

I don’t really like starting off with an apology, but here goes nothing. Dear readers, I apologize in advance for the use (and abuse) of a word that is greatly frowned upon here in Canada. Those with weak hearts, soft ears or those in the vicinity of minors please take caution. You have been warned. This is your absolute last chance. Fine, for those that have stuck around, the word is… hate. I know what you are thinking, “@PapaDart, don’t you mean ‘strongly dislike’ instead? We in Canada choose not to use that word because it is so divisive.” No, I don’t mean strongly dislike, I mean hate and when I say hate, I mean really, really hate too. See, I told you I would abuse that word.

Now I don’t hate the Raptors despite being as frustrating as they are. They really have been a step behind Cleveland all series and can even beat them if they ever play a solid 48 minutes. Unfortunately the Raptors haven’t played a solid four-quarter game all season, so I don’t have very high expectations for these next two games. If you are heading to the game or Jurassic Park, cheer them on, support them and if they are down double digits, show some class. Don’t boo. If you boo, you’ll make my hate list too (Ha… you thought I forgot about the hate thing right? Wrong.) And trust me you don’t want to make my hate list. So what is it that I have a hate on for? Well for starters LBJ.

Yes, I hate the King, LeBron James. I hated how he handled The Decision way back when. I didn’t have a problem that he, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh conspired to go to Miami together, but that whole one hour TV show spoke to his arrogance. I also hated how he made things look so effortless, that he never seemed to compete as hard as I thought he could. He lacked Kobe Bryant’s killer instinct. Yes James has been to 6 NBA finals, but he has only won 2. If Vegas bookmakers are correct, he will lose another finals soon enough.

Speaking of the finals, I also hated the fact that despite losing to Golden State last year, he singlehandedly won two games. Literally, by himself with Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving both injured. Personally, I would have given him the Finals MVP last year because he was just that good. And yes, for those that are keeping track of things, I hate LeBron James because he is just that good. In Game 2 all he did was notch his 15th career playoff triple-double behind 23 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists. That puts him second behind Magic Johnson. With a healthy Cavs team having now won 10 straight playoff games (only 4 teams have done that in history) it shines an even brighter light on what LBJ did last year by himself. Whoever comes out of the Western Conference this year better be ready, the Cleveland Cavaliers are on a mission.

Oh, speaking of the Cavs, I need to inform all of you that… I hate the Cleveland Cavaliers. I really do hate them. I hate the owner Dan Gilbert for his classless letter to season ticket-holders where he berated LeBron James for leaving them. I hate their General Manager, David Griffin who earlier this year fired Head Coach, David Blatt. Everywhere Blatt has gone he has won and he was hired before anyone knew the King was returning home. Blatt may not have been perfect, but I find it hard to believe that you would fire a coach that in his first year in the NBA took your team to the finals and halfway through his second season, has the team in first place in the East. So I hated the Cavs for showing such little class in firing a coach who did nothing wrong. Yes, obviously LeBron James had a lot to do with that “decision” and therefore, you guessed it. I hate LeBron again.

But as much as I hate the arrogance and the lack of respect that LeBron and the Cavs have shown, there is one thing I hate even more. I really, strongly, superduperly (yes Editor, I know that’s not a real word but work with me please) hate the fact that LBJ and the Cavs are playing such overwhelmingly wonderful basketball against my hometown team. Despite the scores, the Raptors truly are a very good team and if a few things just went there way they would have given the Cavs much more of a fight. Things such as Jonas Valanciunas being healthy, better shooting from behind the arc and oh yeah, a few freak’en calls here and there wouldn’t hurt either ref! The Raps were called for literally twice as many fouls (31-16) as the Cavs which translated to less than half (18-37) of the free-throw attempts. I really hate the refs but let’s save that hatred for another time shall we?

Back to Cleveland. Right, did I tell you I hate them? I do, but if you can stop analyzing the Raptors woes for a moment you will see that this is a very determined Cleveland team that is firing on all cylinders. They have been better at passing, shooting, driving to the basket, defence and every other possible statistic. On top of that, they are fun to watch. James has this team purring like a Ferrari and there is definitely no one in the East that can keep up with them, including our beloved Dinos. This is a city that has not won anything in the last 50 years. If I am correct the only team in Cleveland that won a championship were the Browns in 1964. This Championship means so much more to them and they are playing as if this was their very last chance to hoist a trophy.

Now, I still have hope that the Raptors will win a game, maybe even two if things finally start bouncing their way. But as much as I hate it (and apparently I hate a lot) there is a possibility that the Raptors will also get swept. The Raptors may just be a bump on Cleveland’s road to glory, but that doesn’t diminish the season they had. Regardless of what happens in Game 3 and 4, fans should be cheering the Raps all the way to the end. The world has seen how crazy Toronto fans are by gathering in the cold, wet weather or by following our team across the US. This weekend, let’s show the world that the fans in Toronto are still wild, still crazy, but also have a little bit of class.

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