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The Cava-List: John Michael's Favorite Radio Calls


Radio Days

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The one and only John Michael is now the TV play-by-play of the Wine & Gold -- and he's done an incredible job every step of the way. But every now and again, it's nice to step into the recent past. And today we're looking back at a few of J-Mike's favorite calls when he was behind the mic.

From the title-winning sequence in 2016 to Larry Nance Jr.'s aerial exploits, John has called some of the biggest moments in team history.

We'll be hearing from different Cavs broadcasters as we go, but today's Cava-List belongs to the man we lovingly call "Juan Miguel" -- who breaks down a few of his favorite calls in his own words ...



Final Flurry

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"Who can ever forget the degree to which Matt Dellavedova, who was replacing an injured Kyrie Irving in the 2015 Finals, literally left everything out on the floor.

"When we left the building about 75 minutes after the Cavs had won Game 3, the chants of “Delly…Delly” were still echoing off the side of the arena from all the way down on East 4th Street.

"By the way, the Q was HOPPING that night……just deafening…emotional and beautiful all rolled into one."


Running of the Bulls

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"Two things stand out to me about this game that likely got lost in the wild finish ...

"(1) This was the game that with under a minute remaining then-Associate Head Coach Tyronn Lue pulled then-Head Coach David Blatt back onto the bench as Coach Blatt stood to call a timeout that the Cavs didn’t have. (2) Down 2-1 in the series, the Cavs trailed by 11 points late in the 3rd quarter, only to see JR Smith score 11 points in a 4:16 minute span early in the 4th quarter to propel the comeback and set up LeBron’s buzzer beater.

"LeBron also after the game commented that he changed the final out of bounds play…turns out he audibled, called his own number, and delivered."


Junior Achievement

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"This was Larry Nance’s first home game for the Cavs after being acquired from the Lakers in February 2018.

"Larry back at home in Cleveland just felt right, didn’t it? Still does."


Northern Exposure

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"My longtime partner, Jim Chones, calling Kyrie’s shot, still makes me smile to this day."


Bombs Away!

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"It seemed that for a two-year span, every time the Cavs would break a three-point shooting record – either in the regular season or postseason (two Cavalier sweeps in 2015 and 2016) – it happened to be against the Hawks.

"While I could have chosen from so many plays, I picked this one because it features not only a player who will go down as one of the top three-point shooters in NBA history, but also a player who is one of the best humans on the NBA circuit. The fact that Kyle Korver set the record here against his former team gave this one the edge."


Coast to Coast

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"Prior to winning the 2019 NBA Championship, the Toronto Raptors ran headlong into the Cavs in three consecutive postsesasons and were eliminated all three times, including via a sweep each of the last two.

"To me, this LeBron game-winner encapsulated the Raptors’ frustrations and inability to solve the Cavs during that stretch."


Get the Horns

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"This night, in March of his rookie season, Collin Sexton finished with a team-high 25 points (10-18, 4-7 3P) and led the Cavaliers to a 107-102 home victory over the first-place Milwaukee Bucks. It marked the 7th consecutive game that Collin scored 23 or more points.

"His breakneck speed off the dribble that he displayed in this highlight was evident from his very first season."


Neon Dion

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"Dion Waiters always will hold a special place to me. Selected 4th overall by the Cavs in 2012, Dion always marched to the beat of his own drum and never apologized for it.

"Dion played two and a half seasons in the backcourt alongside Kyrie Irving before being traded in January 2015 in the deal that brought JR Smith and Iman Shumpert to the Cavaliers."


Wild One in Washington

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"The Cavs trailed the Wizards by three points with three seconds to go, no timeouts, and with the ball under their own basket.

Next: a 70-foot Kevin Love inbounds pass to a LeBron James 3-pointer as he was falling into the Wizards bench. The NBA’s official play-by-play line for LeBron’s game-tying shot to send this game to overtime reads, “James 26’ Turnaround Fadeaway Bank Jump Shot.”

"Here’s how it sounded."


Capping the Comeback!

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"The end of the Championship Game was crazy because even though the Cavs had a 4-point lead with 10 seconds left, at no time did we ever exhale and think 'Man, we got this game'…

"The game was tied at 89 for what seemed like a half hour in real time (it was actually from the 4:39 mark of the 4th quarter to the 0:53 mark – an incredibly long stretch), so when Kyrie hit the three-pointer that would ultimately put the Cavs ahead for good, the tension was still gripping inside Oracle and remained until the final horn.

"As a broadcaster, you prep countless hours for that very single moment – a moment that very few play-by-play guys will ever experience – yet when it actually occurs, emotions run so high and unpredictably that it’s almost impossible to focus and remember anything that in advance you thought you might say.

"I just kept repeating one thing over and over to myself in my head during the extended call: 'Keep your emotions under control, so all of your listeners can lose theirs.'

"Hopefully, many of them did."

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