The Optimist

by Joe Gabriele Managing Editor
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Dzien dobry, Cavaliers fans! It’s your friendly neighborhood Optimist, checking in from sunny Cleveland, Ohio.

“Dzien dobry” is “Good afternoon” in Polish, I believe. Cleveland has a lot of Polish folks, although not as many as Drew Carey would have you believe. I’ve never seen any of our local Poles with a solar-powered flashlight or using white-out on a computer screen. And the few I have known can change a lightbulb almost single-handedly. So I don’t know what all the jokes are about.

But enough about Cleveland’s wonderful multiculturalism. Let’s talk hoops. On Saturday afternoon, our beloved Cavaliers put a pasting on the Washington Wizards, 105-74. TheBron continued his early-season dominance, scoring 24 points and Drew Gooden doubled-up for the second time in as many games. Z continued to roll and Jeff McInnis stayed strong.

The win was Cleveland’s third straight and gets the Cavaliers back to even. When they beat the Warriors tonight, the Wine and Gold will be above .500 for the first time since January 10, 2001.

Tonight is also TheBron James Hardwood Classic Bobblehead night at the Gund. All fans in attendance will receive a complimentary collectible at the gates. I personally like this year’s bobblehead more than last year’s. This year, TheBron is in the sweet “Miracle” throwback uniform from ’76 and actually looks like LBJ. He looked too much like Billy Dee Williams last year and I already have a Billy Dee Williams bobblehead that Colt .45 sent me when I mailed in my 1000th bottle cap.

Bobblehead night does bode well for the Good Guys. Last year’s TheBron Bobble Head night had fans waiting in line all day and they weren’t disappointed as the Cavaliers trounced the hapless Hawks by 143 points. And the most recent Mini Bobblehead Night – honoring Zydrunas Ilgauskas – was the night of Cleveland’s incredible comeback in which regular-sized Z hit a three-pointer to send the game into overtime.

The Warriors just want to return home, which they'll do after tonight's beating.

Tonight, the Warriors come to the Gund a little bit beat up. They finally won their first game on Saturday night in Charlotte to put Mike Montgomery’s club at 1-6. Before that, they had lost to the Turnbull A.C.’s, the Orphans, the Lizzies, the Baseball Furies, the Rogues and the Grammercy Riffs. After they leave Cleveland, they still must face the Savage Huns, the Boppers, the High Hats and the Electric Eliminators. It won’t be easy to get back to the Bay in one piece, but between Ajax, Jason Richardson, Swan, Mike Dunleavy, Cochise and Ansu Sesay, I guess they have a fighting chance.

It would be too easy to call for any type of guarantee tonight, and besides, I think the Warriors could be dangerous like a cornered animal. Not that they’re going to win. They’re not. But I think Golden State could be tougher than their record would appear. And they did knock off our beloved Cavaliers twice last season.

Still, TheBron averaged 31.5 ppg against them last year and he’s much better at basketball this year. The supporting cast has been rock-solid as well. Z is hitting everything he’s putting up, Gooden is grabbing everything that’s coming off and J-Mac is consistently on the attack. The second team is finding their form as well.

As for the Warriors, I remember holding a grudge against Golden State forward Jason Richardson, who bounced the ball off former Cavalier Carlos Boozer’s head before hitting a three-pointer in the Rookie Challenge the previous season. But since Carlos broke up with us, Richardson can bounce to the ball off Boozer’s melon every time he shoots against him. As long as he doesn’t bounce it off any of our guys’ heads, I’m cool.

With that in mind, let’s go with a 92-89 Cavaliers’ win for tonight. I fear the Warriors will be tougher than we anticipate. But the Wine and Gold will still prevail.

That’s all I have for today, fellow Cavaliers and Cavalettes.

Please remember to Keep the Faith, Cleveland.

Your pal,
The Optimist