The Optimist

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Guten tag, y’all! The locals call me “Optimist.” Welcome to another glorious Monday in the Garden of Earthly Delights we call “Cleveland.”

One look out the window should tell you that March has finally arrived. And I think it’s safe to say that there’s nothing like springtime in Northeast Ohio.

March 1st is a day steeped in history – marking the first parachute jump, the discovery of radiation, the completion of the Hoover Dam, the establishment of the Peace Corps, the annexation of our Great State of Ohio and the independence of both Bosnia and Herzegovina from those rotten Yugoslavians.

One week ago, back in February, many of you were concerned that the sky was falling. One week later, not only is it still up there, but the Cavaliers have won three straight – including a gutsy overtime win in Toronto following a decimation of the Celtics on Thursday night.

But the news isn’t all good, as you undoubtedly know.

As you read this, Shaq’s right thumb is suffering from a serious case of “the Mondays” after undergoing surgery this morning in Baltimore. The injury could cost the Diesel the remainder of the regular season, with his return to play estimated to be approximately eight weeks away.

BAD Baby!
The Cavaliers were 5-1 earlier this season with Shaq on the sidelines nursing a bum shoulder. Of course, they had the Large Lithuanian – who the Diesel himself called “the second-best center in the East” – to plug into the pivot. And the Wine and Gold will have to make due again.

As for the incident, I didn’t see Big Baby Davis supposed “twisting” of Shaq’s thumb. (I just heard the actual foul – from the opposite side of the Garden.) But if my man, Austin Carr makes the claim, who am I to argue? And if it’s true, slim just made the All-Nemesis Team – a nefarious list I’m only too happy to populate with Celtic trash.

I wish the Big Fella well and may his recovery be rapid.

But the schedule doesn’t stop or slow down for injuries. And despite the Diesel’s absence, the Cavaliers have some Knickerbockers to thump on Monday night at The Q.

With the Knicks in town, that means the dreaded New York media is around, too – here to both cover and covet TheBron. But those New Yorkers should know what it says in the Bible about coveting other people’s stuff. (It’s against it.)

The New York media is in town hoping to see TheBron drop 50 or 60 points on their Knicks. But if they actually covered him on a daily basis – (instead of lazily discounting everything he does that doesn’t pertain to free agency) – they’d know that Numeral 23 doesn’t compensate for lost teammates by scoring. He does so by energizing his remaining teammates.

TheBron puts up big numbers in tonight’s double-digit win over New York. But those numbers come in the form of a record-setting assist night.

The biggest beneficiary of TheBron’s generosity is Cleveland’s starting center, Anderson Varejao.

Hide the nice things.
Normally, against New York, I would predict Andy breaking everything – the basket stanchion, the score keeping equipment, one or both of Bob the Dancing Usher’s brittle hips.

But the Wild Thing has to be a little less wild than usual. He fouled out in Friday’s win over Toronto and the Knicks will undoubtedly eye that same result on Monday night, particularly with a high-energy post player of their own – David Lee.

But Lee has to play ‘D’, too. And he and his mates can barely keep up with TheBron’s mad distribution. With the Chosen One dishing one helper after another, Knicks defenders don’t know whether to crap or wind their watch.

By the time the young King hands out his career-high 17th helper, the Wine and Gold is cruising – running a small lead into double-digits by mid-way through the fourth. When TheBron cans a 27-footer to put Cleveland up a baker’s dozen, Coach Mike Brown empties his bench.

The Cavaliers win this one going away – 111-95. Anderson Varejao leads everyone with 24 points and 11 boards. He destroys quite a bit doing so, but nothing some duct tape can’t fix until the Cavaliers return on Friday.

Shaq will be back and by the time the Playoffs hit full-swing, our beloved Cavaliers will be whole again. If this team has taught you one thing, it’s that they don’t get bogged down by injuries.

They just win.

Expect more of the same on Monday night at The Q, knuckaheads. Peace be with you, and with Shaq’s thumb.

Gird up good and proper and please remember to …

Keep the faith, Cleveland

Sincerely yours,
The Optimist