The Optimist

Ciao, knuckaheads! It’s me, the Optimist, checking in from Chicago, Illinois – home of the Cook County Assessor’s office.

The Wine and Gold are rounding third and heading home on another stellar season. And for the second straight game, they’ll face a team desperately seeking the Second Season.

On Tuesday night, the Cavaliers smushed the Raptors by a dozen – as predicted in this column – but the victory was bittersweet.

Early in the affair, all-around good guy Antawn Jamison accidentally elbowed fellow good guy, Chris Bosh – sending the slender superstar to the prestigious Cleveland Clinic for some immediate grill and front end work.

As the former All-Optimist Second Teamer lie there, bleeding all over our floor, all I could think was: “WHY, God?!!!! Why couldn’t this have been one of the Celtics?!!!”

Get well soon, Chris Bosh.

Bosh and our neighbours to the North have never done wrong by me. Au contraire – I love Canadia! And if the Cavaliers have to kick the stuffing out of the Raptors in the first round, I hope the Hosers understand that it’s nothing personal.

With Bosh on the shelf, Chicago will try to sneak in the back door of the playoff picture.

Cleveland could facilitate the Bulls’ conquest by coasting to next week’s finish line, starting Thursday. But it wouldn’t be fair to crush the Raptors – a team we’re fairly indifferent to – and not extend the same courtesy to the Baby Bulls – a team we really don’t like at all.

With that in mind, we’ll get to predicting the outcome of tonight’s game in just a second. First …

Dear Optimist,

Instead of predicting the outcome of tonight’s game, can we just hate on Boston for a little bit more? Maybe start a rumor or two.

Doc Rivers has freckles. FRECKLES!

Columbia, SC

Dave from Columbia – first of all, where were you five paragraphs ago? I know you Southern folk move slow, but we already hated on the Celtics today. And secondly, if you expect me to do anything but praise four-time All-Optimist Second Team coach Doc Rivers, here’s you: barking, and here’s me: wrong tree.

We’ll have plenty of time for loathing Boston at some point during the Eastern Conference playoffs, methinks. As for now, let’s concentrate on the Bulls, re: smoting.

It’s no secret that Chicago is a different team with a healthy Joakim Noah. And with him and a healthy Derrick Rose, the Bulls have gone from a team that had lost 10 straight in March and was left for dead to a team that’s won four of six and is right on Toronto’s arse.

As I mentioned, there’s some bad blood between the two clubs – particularly between Noah and TheBron.

In a December 4th laugher at The Q, the Chosen One’s dance moves hurt Noah’s feelings and he let him know about it while Numeral 23 was shooting his free throws – prompting our fearless leader to get up close and personal with the Bulls’ center.

TheBron doesn’t go off the reservation like that too often. So, when I say there’s bad blood, I mean there’s bad blood.

Of course, this will all be settled within the framework of good sportsmanship on Thursday – with TheBron throwing down a pair of first half dunks that let the entire Bulls squad who the big dog is.

Unfortunately, this does not dissuade Vinny Del Negro’s bullheaded bunch. Chicago goes toe-to-toe with our beloved Cavaliers for the
full 48.

But as they have on 61 occasions leading up to Thursday, another opponent wilts under the weight of the Wine and Gold warriors.

With just over one minute to play in regulation, Jawad Williams drains his fourth three-pointer of the game – third in the fourth quarter – to give the Cavaliers a five-point lead.

Kirk Hinrich draws Chicago to within a deuce on the next possession, but Anderson Varejao’s reverse over Noah seals the deal for Cleveland.

The Good Guys win for the sixth time in their last eight meetings with Chicago – 105-101 – making for a sweet Team Bus ride back from the Windy City.

Maybe we’ll even hook up with the Tribe’s Team Bus, also returning home from Chicago after taking the rubber match in their season-opening series. I know an excellent truck stop just outside of South Bend.

As for you meatheads back in the homeland, remember – the playoffs draw nigh. And the time is now to begin pre-girding. You can start tonight by remembering to …

Keep the faith, Columbia

The Optimist