The good news is that the Knicks lost by 22 points Wednesday night.
The bad news is everything else.
Cleveland fans thought they could step away from their sports woes at least for one night and watch the Cavs instead of CC Sabathia pitch against Cliff Lee in the World Series. Ooops! Instead, the Cavs turned in another dud, falling behind the Toronto Raptors just four minutes into the game and never regaining the lead in a 98-91 loss. (That ghost of playoffs past, Hedo Turkoglu, scored 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds to aid the Raptors.)
It’s officially panic time in Cleveland. Maybe we don’t have to worry about LeBron bolting for New York two seconds after his contract expires next spring, but he might be willing to go just about anywhere else if this keeps up. And if you don’t believe that, you didn’t watch the Indians ruin their season with an 0-6 start and you didn’t watch the Browns blow up their campaign with an 0-4 start. (Hey, come to think of it, maybe an 0-2 start is merely a flesh wound.)
- Last season the Cavs didn’t lose their first home game until February against the Lakers. This time around they took care of that in the first game of the season.
- Last season the Cavs didn’t lose two consecutive games until the game after the defeat to the Lakers this season. This time around they took care of that in the second game of the season.
- The Cavs were 12-2 all-time against the Raptors before Wednesday’s game, the best mark of any Eastern Conference team against Toronto.
The Cavs are starting to look like a team that 1) is old and slow despite having only three players over 30 years old, 2) read waaaaaaaaaaaay too many NBA preview issues, 3) has a fifth-year head coach who looks like he’s coached his first two games, 4) has absolutely no interior defense (28 points on 11-for-15 shooting by Toronto center Andrea Bargnani, a career 12.4 ppg scorer), and 5) desperately needs Delonte West.
Oh, sure, Optimist Prime will tell you the Cavs started 1-2 last season before vaulting to the best record in franchise history. It’s true. But that’s not the point. The Cavs have simply booked bad in two games. They haven’t held a lead in the second half. Key acquisition Shaquille O’Neal, a career 58% field-goal shooter, has made just 11-of-23 shots in two games while opposing centers have made 17-of-25 shots. Zydrunas Ilgauskas looks like he left his game in Lithuania. Any other big free agent signing, Anthony Parker, looks like he should be playing about 20 minutes a game instead of 40. Coach Mike Brown looks like he needs former assistant coach John Kuester to bring back the offensive playbook that he took to Detroit. (Oh, the Pistons started their season with a 22-point win Wednesday night.)
At the top of the excuse list is that the Cavs will take time to gel what with all the new players they’ve added. Just give them time to figure out their roles. All fine and dandy, except that the Lakers won their first game, the Celtics won their first game (you remember that one), the Magic won THEIR first game, and the Spurs won their first game. All the contenders did what they were supposed to do — win.
You could probably say the Cleveland team did what it was supposed to do as well. Disappointment is soooooo Cleveland.