The Optimist

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How hangeth the hammer, Cavallieros? It’s me, the Optimist, checking in from Cleveland, Ohio – home of the bad Terminator, the bad Sam Sheppard and the bad Danny Greene, who blew up a bunch of people in 1976 before he, himself, was blowed up in ’77.

“What’s with all this tough guy stuff?” you might be wondering.

I guess I’m still tweaking from Sunday’s heated loss in Beantown. The Cavaliers erased a 22-point deficit before conceding late. During the waning moments words were exchanged and feelings were hurt. “We don’t like them, they don’t like us,” quoth TheBron after Sunday’s knock-down-drag-out.

Personally, this gets me high on life. My favorite athlete of all time on my hometown team organically hating the one team I do.

“That’s what this game has lost – it’s lost what it’s had in the ‘80s and early ‘90s, where teams really didn’t like each other,” added the current and future MVP.

It turned out that the loss didn’t matter anyway, with the LakeShow losing and Cleveland clinching homecourt. And the shape-shifting, double-dealing Celtics can crow all they want about tying the season series with Sunday’s 117-113 win, but I have two words for them: 1. Anderson, 2. Varejao. He plays, they lose.

He's still got you surrounded,
Celtic dogs.
But we don’t look back in anger. We look forward in anticipation to Tuesday night’s matchup with the Raptors. But we do so with mixed feelings.

How do we approach these next five games? Do we continue to gird full-contact, or do we go shorts and shoulder pads and loosen our loins?

There’s no doubt that Toronto will go full-bore when they roll in this evening. Suddenly-hot Chicago is right on they arse for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. Canadian unemployment benefits are among the best in the world, and some members of Toronto’s brass would likely find out firsthand if the Raps get passed by a Bulls team that lost 10 straight in March.

And if the Raptors do hang on to the eighth seed, what kind of a message would we be sending by giving those Hosers a free pass this close to the postseason?

No. I think we’ll go full-gird tonight and maybe I’ll let some of you veteran Junior Optimists rests your loins in the second half of this week’s final back-to-back.

We won’t go big minutes; I’ll keep the columns short from here through the rest of the regular season. But we’re calling for wins every night – including a surprise stoot-slapping on Tuesday.

Before Moondog breaks a sweat, the Cavaliers find themselves behind, 8-0, to start the ballgame. Coach Mike Brown – fresh off Monty McCutcheon’s heave-ho on Sunday – calls timeout, dressing down his squad down in an intense huddle.

His charges get the picture, led by the Baby Bull – J.J. Hickson – who dunks himself silly for the remainder of the half. Hickson goes 7-for-9 before intermission, five of those field goals being point-blank crushes in the paint.

Cleveland leads by just three at intermission, but extend their edge to 11 by the end of three.

In the fourth quarter, Sir Maurice Williams begins raining treys on Toronto – canning a pair of back-to-back bombs to make Mike Brown’s decision easy, as he yanks his starters with just over five minutes to play and Cleveland well into Chalupa Country.

Behind Hedo Turk-o-glu’s late surge, Toronto makes it interesting. But the Wine and Gold flex their depth and determination on Tuesday night – toppling Toronto, 115-103, at The Q.

Here endeth the lesson, homeslices.

PLAY BALL!
With the Cavaliers on cruise control until the playoffs, feel free to cool off with the pastoral splendor of baseball – which celebrated their league-wide opening day on Monday.

Our beloved Indians opened against the Pale Hose in Chicago. Gone are Willie Mays Hayes, Ricky Vaughn, Roger Dorn and Pedro Cerrano – who can no hit curveball.

Lou Brown has been replaced by Manny Acta, who brings his National League style of small-ball to Cleveland. The new-look Tribe played such efficient small-ball on Monday afternoon that they didn’t score a single run.

As an American League guy, offense like that will take some getting used to. But I’m sure I will. It’s a long season.

As for our basketball campaign, it’s quickly coming to another merciful end – beginning with tonight’s victory over Toronto. Tune in, gird up, and don’t forget to …

Keep the faith, Cleveland

Your pal,
The Optimist