The Optimist

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¿Que pasa, Cleveland? Welcome to the celebration of Life through Sport in a little column we call “The Optimist.”

What does this mean: “celebration of Life through Sport”?

Well, it means that we Clevelanders might normally be suffering from a serious case of “the Mondays” today. During the fall and winter, you might be bummed about the Browns on any given Monday.

But instead, you’re walking on sunshine – up at the crack of dawn, geared and girded up for a Game II stoot-slapping by our beloved Cavaliers.

In Game I, the win went according to script. The Wine and Gold’s frontline was dominant, as expected.

The Diesel (“No Brakes”) was playing downhill all afternoon – battering Chicago’s centers about the breast, neck, chest and head. TheBron barely got above a 7.0 and still led Cleveland with 24. Anderson Varejao was a beast on the boards and Mo Williams played a deadly floor game.

Historically speaking, the Cavaliers are 7-0 in their previous best-of-seven playoff series in which they’ve won Game I.

Right now, it looks like the Bulls are gonna need a bigger boat.

But that doesn’t mean the Cavaliers can drop their guard in Game II. Derrick Rose is handful; he gets to anywhere he wants on the floor. The elfin Kirk Hinrich is an underrated defender. And Joakim Noah – the Wild Thing’s doppelganger – is a rough-and-tumble ballplayer.

Over the weekend, Noah stayed in the headlines, saying that “there’s nothing going on here” and that “Cleveland really sucks.”

Yeah, if “nothing going on” means the prestigious Tri-C Jazz Festival, the Great Lakes Theater’s production of Bat Boy: the Musical, Impending Doom opening for the Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza at Peabody’s or the traditional “Polka Brunch” at the Beachland Ballroom in Collinwood.

On top of all that, Cleveland’s Cavaliers kicked the crap out of Chicago’s Bulls at The Q and our Tribe swept their White Sox at
the Prog.

We’ll get to the bare essentials of how Noah and his little buddies might fare on Monday night in two shakes. First, I must address a question from our Parmanian friend …

Dear Optimist,

If Michael Jordan came out of retirement again, would the Bulls or the Bobcats hold his rights?

Bort Stein, Esq.
Parma, OH

Bort, that’s actually a salient, coherent question – in your own bizarre kind of way.

What. Is. He?
I guess Michael Jordan is in some sort of legend’s limbo. Magic Johnson is definitely a Laker. But Larry Bird is like half-Pacer and half-Celtic – he’s like a Peltic. I guess that kind of makes Air Jordan a Bullcat.

But, what does Air Jordan have to do with our current First Round series? Those painful memories of M.J. tormenting the Cavaliers lie deep under an ancient burial ground in Richfield. We've got the new Numeral 23.

Like, maybe one day Chicagoans will look back on that Game II in Cleveland, when TheBron dropped 41 points on them. They might remember Mo Williams’ 19-point, 9-assist performance or how Noah fouled out with 5:39 to play in the ballgame.

They might even remember J.J. Hickson’s key dunk-and-1 that gives Cleveland their first lead with just under two minutes to play.

But mostly, when they sit around drinking with their buddies – like we Clevelanders do – Chicagoans will lament the fact that our local superstar scored the final five points of the Cavaliers back-breaking 92-90 win.

The Bulls much-improved performance in Monday’s tough loss is enough to keep John Paxson and Vinny Del Negro from throwing down in the visitor's locker room. They both know that the Windy City awaits.

In the meantime, enjoy supping upon the sweet nectar of victory. We’ll reconvene later this week from Chicago, my feral little friends. Expect a different band of Bullcats when they take the floor at the United Center.

Only 15 wins stand between us and the day in June that our Cavaliers lip-lock the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

So now, more than ever …

Choose faith, Parma

One love,
The Optimist