The Optimist

by Joe Gabriele Managing Editor

Oi, Cavalier fans! I’m an Optimist. Why wouldn’t I be?

As you can tell from the sweet postcard to the right, I’m checking in from Miami, F.L.A. – home of Hyman Roth and the Heat Dancers, Crockett, Tubbs and “The U.” And wanna hear something else interesting about Miami? It’s the only major city in the United States founded by a woman.

That woman? Julia Tuttle from Cleveland.

A-ha!! You male chauvinist pigs thought Miami was founded by some swarthy conquistador like Ponce De Leon or Francisco Hernandez de Cordoba. As it turns out, the “Mother of Miami” came from Cleveland, Ohio and settled in Biscayne Bay back in 1875.

Years later, Julia Tuttle was instrumental in bringing the railroad to Miami – transforming it from a sleepy beach town into a tropical metropolis, filled with surgically-enhanced party girls and furry fatties in Speedos wearing an oversized gold crucifix.

So for those of you “beautiful people” sunning your buns and drinking fruity drinks down on South Beach – from all of us here in Cleveland: You’re welcome.

Dwyane Wade and his Miami Heat aren’t interested in any more Northeast Ohioans coming down to South Florida. The Cleveland Cavaliers, for example, come to AmericanAirlines Arena looking for their third straight win in their gym. The Heat want no part of that.

Our beloved Cavaliers – down a pair of point guards – clawed their way past “The Durantula” and Oklahoma City on Saturday night. In his first start since 2007, Boobie Gibson drilled the game-winning three-pointer. And TheBron made yet another jaw-dropping defensive play to save the day.

Personally, the highlight of my night came when Coach Mike Brown inserted Cedric Jackson – the pride of my alma mater, Concrete State – into the ballgame.

Jackson – who inked a 10-day deal after tearing up the D-League – only played two minutes and two seconds. In that time – possibly the worst two minutes and two seconds of Russell Westbrook’s life – Jackson was 0-for-0 from the floor, including 0-of-0 from beyond the arc. He was 0-for-0 from the stripe with 0 boards, 0 assists, no steals and no blocked shots. The Cavaliers were +8 with the former Viking on the floor.

What was that last part?!

That’s right, the Cavaliers were +8 in the two minutes that Cedric Jackson was on the floor. That’s how we Concrete State Vikings do! It seems like we’re sloughing off and not doing a thing. Then – POW!: Total Productivity.

Of course, Cedric Jackson’s Tournament CSU Vikings weren’t as much fun as my Tournament CSU Vikings, coached by the incomparable Kevin Mackey – who notoriously got busted in the wrong place at the wrong time in the wrong place.

With Mssrs. Maurice Williams and Delonte West still on the shelf with separate injuries, the prestigious Horizon League’s former Defensive Player of the Year gets another crack at NBA action on Monday night in Miami – dogging Rafer Alston into back-to-back turnovers in the third quarter.

On his second steal, Jackson feeds ahead to TheBron – who has his buddy, D-Wade, in his sites.

In an instant – like only he can – the reigning MVP remembers Wade posterizing, and hurting the feelings of, his good friend, Anderson Varejao back on November 12. The young King accelerates and absolutely mashes one home against Wade – sending Flash (and Michael Beasley) sprawling into the stands. (Luckily, it’s only late-third quarter, and most of the Miami fans haven’t gotten to the arena yet.)

The Optimist

That dunk gives the Cavaliers all the momentum they need. Cleveland closes the third on an 11-3 run and holds the Heat to just 14 fourth-quarter points – running away with the 103-91 affair.

Wade leads Miami with 29 points. TheBron finally notches the elusive triple-double.

There you have it, homeboys and girls: a nice, solid double-digit win on Monday night at the site of the 2010 NFL Pro Bowl.

Gird up good and proper back home on the North Coast, my friends. That cold, grey weather is what makes you and me and Cedric Jackson that much tougher. We matriculated at a college in downtown Cleveland whose campus has just a single patch of grass that’s slightly larger than a parking spot.

These leathery Miamians will never understand.

Until we meet again, please, PLEASE …

Keep the faith, Cleveland

The Optimist