I know what some of you meatheads are thinking. You’re thinking: “Not today, Optimist.” “We’re not in the mood for your upside-down question marks, Optimist.” “You’re wrong ALL THE TIME, Optimist!”
OK. I’ll cop to that third claim. My spidey-senses have been way off base this year. If any of you took my advice and bet your new farm on the Cavaliers like I suggested, you’re probably walking around in a barrel held up by suspenders – a terrible look for impressing women.
So I’ve been wrong. I’ve been wrong a lot. But where’s the love?! Haven’t we been through the wars together?
In the old days, you fans and I were thick as thieves, we were. When the hated Pistons rolled into town, it was a rumble in the jungle. When we rolled into the Motor City, we did so in the EM-50 Urban Assault Vehicle – brandishing the on-board flamethrower.
Back then, we hated the Pistons and they hated us. They were the Wine and Gold’s white whale.
It was a glorious time.
My Optimist Mailbox was filled with hate-mail from the State Up North. One fan said that Cavalier fans had “a foul, monkey turd stench” and a female Piston fan from Dearborn, MI once told me to “suck it!” – whatever that means.
All this and the Pistons are coached by John Kuester, literally the nicest guy on Planet Earth.
But on Wednesday night, nice guys’ll have to finish last – or at least in second place. Sorry, Coach Kue, but Lord Byron Scott’s a nice guy, too. And his Cavaliers need to get off the ultimate schneid against their Central Division rivals.
Why is tonight any different? Why is tonight different than Guaranteed Win Night™ over the Heat or Slump-Buster Wednesday™ over the Pacers?
Because tonight, the Wine and Gold are prepared for victory.
I know it’s been a while, but the Cavs aren’t playing like they were when this whole megillah started – with teams routinely taking triple-figure leads after one quarter. The Cavaliers have lost their last four by just a combined 21 points and have had several teams – including the Mavs on Monday – on the ropes before succumbing late.
But on Wednesday night, Byron Scott’s squad doesn’t do any succumbing. In fact, they go wire-to-wire.
I won’t bore you with the X’s and O’s, but I can say that Boobie Gibson – fresh off an All-Star Weekend nod and channeling 2007 Piston-killing Boobie Gibson – goes berserk from beyond the arc – dropping six treys overall, part of a 26-point effort.
Detroit gets within a touchdown early in the fourth quarter, but a late surge gives Cleveland the much-needed, pipe-cleaning 11-point victory.
The melding of two Boobies.
Pretty sweet, huh?
Maybe for you.
But I’m used to the finer things – 54 wins per over the last five years. And one-game win streaks don’t impress me. We haven’t supped the sweet nectar of victory in 53 excruciating days. And beating the Pistons isn’t enough.
Other than celebrity deaths, everyone knows that all good things come in threes.
And I see the Wine and Gold running the table right through the weekend.
The Clippers are in the midst of an 11-game road trip (although the last one’s against the Lakers). They’ve dropped four straight and face the Knicks before coming to Cleveland. By the time they do – Blake Griffin or no Blake Griffin – the Cavaliers will have a renewed confidence and the ClipShow will be California Dreamin’.
On Friday night, it’s the Wine and Gold by five – with Christian Eyenga canning the three-pointer that gives Cleveland their first and final lead of the game.
On Sunday, feeling a renewed sense of vim and vigor, the Cavaliers welcome the Washington Wizards.
Antawn Jamison – empathizing with Washington’s 25-game road losing streak – thinks about taking it easy on his old teammates, but realizes he doesn’t recognize any of them. This only serves to cheese the former Wizard off, and he drops 33 points on Flip Saunders' squad.
Manny Harris adds 19 points and nine boards as the Wine and Gold rattle off their third straight win – topping the Wizards by six in overtime on Sunday night.
Now you same meatheads are thinking: “Hey Optimist, aren’t you getting a little greedy? We just dropped 25 in a row and now you expect us to win three straight?"
I’m cool either way.
And before I cut you nerds loose for the day, let me remind you that the Voice of the Cavaliers – Joe Tait – recently returned to his palatial digs in Lodi, and word on the street is he’s looking lean and mean.
The Cleveland Clinic didn’t just fix his ticker. They rebuilt him. They have the technology. They made Joe Tait better than he was. Better. Stronger. Faster.
I don’t know when the Hall of Famer will get his pipes warmed back up, but once he does I’ll be calling for three game win-streaks all over the place.
Let’s stick together, Cavalier fans. And not just because it’s colder than a well-digger’s arse in the Klondike here in C-Town. But because we’re in this thing for the long haul – for better or for worse.
And it’s about to get better.
If you believe that, you’re already ready to …
Keep the faith, Cleveland