Saturday, May 23, 2009

Take It Easy, Cleveland

Joe Posnanski writes, in Sports Illustrated, about the chance that the Cleveland Cavaliers will bring a major sport's championship trophy to Cleveland for the first time in nearly half a century.

I'm not an NBA fan. I didn't even get swept up in it when the Mavericks made it to the NBA finals a few years ago, and I haven't watched a minute of this year's playoffs. But I read the columns and the game stories online. And I know the Cavaliers are playing well, and everyone is talking about whether LeBron James and his teammates can end that title drought.

If Cleveland is going to advance to the championship series, the Cavaliers will have to win at least one game on the road in the Eastern finals. Orlando made sure of that by winning Game 1.

But Greg Doyel of CBS Sports gushes that James had a "Michael (Jordan) Moment" with his game–winning shot last night. Bill Livingston of the Cleveland Plain Dealer clearly saw Jordan on that court last night — but this time, the shot went Cleveland's way.

And because of that, the Cavaliers only need to win once on the road instead of facing the seemingly insurmountable task of winning four games before the Magic can win two more.

Comparisons to Michael Jordan help solidify the case that James is going to end Cleveland's suffering. Look what Jordan did for Chicago. But the Cavaliers must win a best–of–seven series in which at least three more games remain to be played.

And the winner of that series will have another tough assignment in the form of Denver or Los Angeles. That series is also tied at 1–1; the Nuggets, with their Game 1 victory, guaranteed that the Lakers would need at least one road win to advance.

Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel knows that this series isn't going to be easy. For anyone.

And if the next round doesn't feature Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, it will showcase Carmelo Anthony and the Denver Nuggets. And, as Dave Krieger writes in the Denver Post, Anthony has earned some recognition.

It's a little premature to be daydreaming about titles. That seems like a sure path to disaster. Focus on the task at hand.

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