The Optimist

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Sveiki, sturdy sons and daughters of the Cuyahoga! It’s me, the grand mufti of great expectations, checking in from the suckiest place Joakim Noah has ever been: Cleveland, Ohio, America.

Luckily for Noah and his bovine buddies, the excruciating experience of visiting our megalopolis is about to reach its merciful conclusion.

TheBron made sure of that possibility when he laid waste to the Bulls on Sunday afternoon, turning in yet another otherworldly performance – notching a 37-point triple-double, canning six bombs, and deflating their arena at halftime and from halfcourt.

That performance, plus Antawn Jamison’s silky smooth game and J.J. Hickson’s contributions off the bench left the Baby Bulls with one hoof on elimination and the other three on a banana peel.

And it’ll be no skin off our fair city’s nose when Noah and Co. split town. The nerve on that guy! I’ll bet Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett love coming to beautiful Cleveland and getting their buttocks kicked.

So you can flaunt Michael Jordan all you want, but your statute is running out, Chicago. Last time I checked, he was stink-eyeing his Charlotte Bobcats. So taunting Cleveland with His Air-Ness is as dated as the Super Bowl Shuffle.

The Bulls have good, young talent in Derrick Rose, Luol Deng and, yes, Noah. But they’re gonna need a bigger boat to get past the Good Guys this season.

We’ll get to whys and wherefores of tonight’s victory in two shakes. First, let’s peep a nice letter to the Optimist Mailbox (which, for the Playoffs, has been far too quiet and you should all wear the Ribbons of Shame™).

Optimist …

So, while I was waiting for the Cavs' game to start on Sunday, I sat through part of the Celtics/Heat game. And it kept coming up that Wade's contract expires at the end of this season. My question is this: why wouldn't Wade just ask to play for the Cavs? I mean, after they win the title this year, adding Wade to the team would make next year even more of a cakewalk.

One would think Chris Bosh should be knocking on that same door, and perhaps Carmelo the following year. I mean, if these players want championships – which are what I assume most NBA players really want – shouldn't their first choice be Cleveland?

Sincerest regards,
Dustin (formerly of Beaverton, a real suburb in Oregon, whether you believe me
or not)
West Des Moines, IA

See, Dustin? You had me. For a minute, you had me actually believing that this was a real letter from a real person from a real city. I’m still going to answer it, for my mature readers. I just wish I had a nickel for every college kid who tried sneaking a “Beaverton, Oregon” or a “Big Bone, Kentucky” or a “Bad Axe, Michigan” or even a “Mudsock, Ohio” past’s rigorous board of censors.

To be honest, I don’t know why any player wouldn’t want to come here. And further, I think it’s insane when a player is here and doesn’t want to be.

Carlos Boozer and the dyspeptic Larry Huge come to mind.

Playing with TheBron in front of a sold out crowd every night is a privilege. The dance team is really hot in Miami, but the fans show up in the third quarter. In Toronto – true story – fans left their seats to watch Olympic Gold Medal curling on the bar TVs.

But, Dustin, even if another superstar or two joined the Wine and Gold, winning a Championship is never a cakewalk, and you’re rarely greeted as liberators.

Even though this evening’s game is an elimination contest on the Cavaliers home court, the Bulls – like any team in the Second Season – won’t go down without a fight.

But this is where the rubber meets the road and the hammer meets the anvil, and TheBron won’t allow this one to slip by – starting with his 14-point first quarter barrage.

Derrick Rose goes quid pro quo with the Chosen One in the second quarter, but by the midway point of the third, he and his Bulls find themselves down a dozen. Delonte West gets as hot as he’s been in the series and finishes the third period leading everyone with 19 points.

After Chicago cuts Cleveland’s lead to five, 89-84, the soon-to-be-two-time MVP decides to break out the feared Five-Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique – canning a pair of deep threes to put Cleveland up 11, sending the Quicken Loans Arena crowd into a frenzy and essentially sending the Bulls to the showers.

The confetti comes down with Cleveland taking the 102-92 win, moving on to Round 2 to face the winner of the Celtics-Heat series. The Cavaliers locker room is quietly celebratory.

When the Wine and Gold close out the Bulls, the networks will take over televising our beloved Cavaliers.

Any night could be your last night to take in the dynamic duo of Fred McLeod and the incomparable Mr. Cavalier.

Marc Jackson is fine, but he can’t tell me when a player is or isn’t about to catch him a bird. And he certainly isn’t equipped to “THROW THE HAMMER DOWN!” Luckily, A.C. will still be part of FSN’s broadcast throughout the playoffs – and you can always seek Austin’s enlightenment through

As for Fred, I’ve once heard him say, nobody’s going to out-work him. And I am telling you: that is a fact. Freddy Mac works harder than James Brown and John Henry combined. He’s a fantastic announcer and an even better guy. Too bad he’s not better at Rock-Paper-Scissors, where I demolished him on the Team Bus this season – 3,121-1,994.

I think you knuckaheads have had enough for today. I don’t want to burn you out because we’ve got a long way to go. Thirteen wins to be exact.

That shouldn't be difficult if you’re willing to …

Choose faith, West Des Moines

Your pal,
The Optimist