The Optimist

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Erin Go Bragh, McKnuckaheads! Welcome to another installment of a wee little feature I like to call “The Optimist.”

Before we do a gosh-darned thing, I have to get an immediate apology off my chest. Last night, I predicted that the Wine and Gold would stoot-slap the Pistons by nearly three touchdowns.

What was I saying? That a John Kuester-coached team would lay down for our Cavaliers?! The Pistons did nothing of the kind – battling Cleveland for four quarters before succumbing to the overall awesomeness of McBron and Sir Maurice Williams. The dozen-point deficit was not indicative of Detroit’s play.

I am sorry Coach Q, and you know I’d wear the Ribbons of Shame if they didn’t clash with my dashing green-on-green ensemble.

Of course, I’m decked out in green because today is St. Patrick’s Day!!! And despite what Cavaliers radio producer, Scott “Z-Man” Zurilla, thinks – we ARE all Irish today.

People of all colors and creeds, from every part of the world celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, Z-Man. From Argentina to New Zealand to South Korea. Why, just look at the mob scene in Seoul (pictured, left). Who are you to deny these South Koreans’ their right to party?

In Great Britain, they celebrate with horse racing, in Montserrat – the Emerald of the Caribbean – it’s a public holiday. Here in the States, over 20 cities will host parades – including Cleveland. In the Windy City, they dye the entire Chicago River green and chase Dr. Richard Kimble around.

No one can tell me that the crowd for last year’s March 17th game against Orlando wasn’t a little extra fired up because of St. Patrick’s Day. Like today, it was a gorgeous early-Spring afternoon, and half the crowd came in pickled.

Donning SVSM green-and-gold kicks, McBron canned the game-winning free throws to chants of “MVP!” with 8.7 seconds to play. He finished with 43 points, 12 boards, eight assists and four steals.

Of course, I don’t want to compare tonight’s crowd to last year’s crowd. I don’t want to put that kind of pressure on you. All I’m saying is that St. Patrick didn’t chase the snakes out of Ireland for you people to sit on your hands.


Despite their Irish heritage, both Troy Murphy and Shaquille O’Neal are required to play on St. Patrick’s Day.

Of course, the Diesel is still nursing his injured thumb. But Murphy will suit up, and – with Danny Granger likely out after a facial injury last night – is one of the Pacers’ remaining threats.

Statistically speaking, Murphy and the Pacers are in a predicament. The Cavaliers haven’t lost to a team under .500 since before Thanksgiving of 2009. And Indiana hasn’t beaten Cleveland in Cleveland since before Thanksgiving of 2004.

But the reason we play the game is because A. McBron is extremely fun to watch, and B. because anything can happen on any given night.

For example, the shocking development that sees the shorthanded Pacers actually leading the Wine and Gold halfway through the fourth.

For the second straight night, the Cavaliers are stuck in fourth gear. But on Wednesday, it’s the Baby Bull who awakes the sleeping giant.

On successive possessions, Hickson scores and is fouled – converting all six points and pushing the Cavaliers ahead by a single digit. Mike Dunleavy’s three-pointer gives the Pacers back the lead, albeit briefly, as Delonte West and McBron go to work.

Numeral 23 scores seven straight and Delonte keys a fastbreak and-1 that breaks things open. In a mirror image of Tuesday’s game in Detroit, the Cavaliers explode late and run away with the 103-93 win – their fifth straight.

Unable to close out Cleveland again, Jim O’Brien’s squad takes another kick in the shillelagh – in a season that’s been full of them.

You’re free to go, little leprechauns. Just remember, if you intend to drink copious amounts of Guinness – or even play the Austin Carr drinking game – it’s best to catch a cab or designate a driver. The Five-Oh will be on the prowl tonight.

Tomorrow Morning You will definitely thank Last Night You. I guarantee it.

We’ll speak again from the Windy City on Friday. I hope the Chicago Police catch Dr. Kimble by then. He’s an escaped convict.

Until then, please …

Keep the faith, Cleveland

Bottoms up,
The Optimist