Welcome back. Since we last talked, the Browns shot up the ESPN NFL Power Rankings all the way to big number 29. It’s comfortable to say that we aren’t the worst team in the league anymore, and that feels pretty damn good. Not to mention that on top of not being the worst, we actually look like we’re playing the game of football now when we step on the field. On a final note about them for now, the Browns are now 2-0 when I watch the game at Cluckers at Cardinal Towne in Louisville. Best believe I’ll be back there on Sunday to watch us finish off the Ratbirds. Anyway, I wanted to dedicate most of this post to the Cavs’ season-opening win last night. I plan on writing again tomorrow or Friday to talk about the stupid Ravens and how we’re going to beat the feathers off of ’em (if you don’t get that one, it’s ok because that was a really bad attempt to be clever and witty).
Kyrie Irving said earlier this week that he believes that this year’s edition of the Cleveland Cavaliers is a playoff team. After last night, it certainly appeared that they may indeed be. For our daily Cleveland dose of reality, the Washington Wizards may be one of the worst teams in the league WITH their star guard John Wall. Without him, they are certainly one of the bottom five teams in the Association. But what the hell, right? We don’t really care, because we’re undefeated, leading the Central Division, and the Eastern Conference. To cap it at all off, we’re also tied for the best record in the NBA. Before we dive too far into this, check out last night’s highlights HERE.
Here’s a couple of observations from last night that have nothing to do with the actual game:
Those new yellow jerseys? Might as well make ’em the full-time home threads. SICK.
NBA League Pass Broadband needs to get their act together. Took us forever to get a solid feed to work on our TV. If anyone from the NBA reads this, it had NOTHING to do with our shoddy wi-fi connection, our questionable HDMI cable, or anything like that. We eventually figured out a system, and while it wasn’t pretty, it worked.
I know the updated home floor at The Q was tweeted out by Dan Gilbert earlier this week, but it looks sharp. I’m a fan.
Tons of the Browns showed up to support last night, including B Weeds, T-Rich, Joe Haden, Jordan Norwood, and Phil Taylor (who just got activated from the PUP list, by the by). Phil even Instagrammed a picture of him, Trent, and Machine Gun Kelly. MGK is obviously the least cool of the three, but he’s a sorta famous rapper from Cleveland, so there’s that I guess. Let’s face it people, he’s so Cleveland it’s a God-damn shame, and that’s all anyone can really ask for. Right?
So, about the actual game…
I didn’t realize how big of a game Kyrie was having for a while, because Andy had 18 freakin’ rebounds by the end of the 3rd quarter. Never mind the fact that he was real close to a triple-double. The energy that Varejao brings to the floor is nothing new to us, but we saw already last night what a healthy Wild Thing does for the squad. Huge difference.
Tristan Thompson did score himself a double-double, which is promising. His athleticism and competitiveness is what is best about him, and it showed. It was also nice to see him slam from the same spot on the floor three consecutive offensive trips. His defensive ability and rebounding will do until the offensive game develops. Remember, he’s only 21.
Speaking of defense, Alonzo Gee’s ability to lock some guys down was a beautiful thing. Coach Scott said that he included in his personalized instructions to each player ahead of the opener that everyone’s job was to defend and rebound. Gee personified that demand. It’s good to see him in the starting lineup.
A couple of newcomers that were pretty quiet were C.J. Miles and Tyler Zeller, but since we got the win and Zeller gave a little flash of some mid-range ability, I’m not going to worry about it. They will find their way in the team and contribute soon.
Someone I love but have to admit I was a little worried about coming into this season is Boobie Gibson. Now a BET television star with a hardly-talented (only kidding) wife in Keyshia Cole, Boobie has plenty of other things on his plate. Last night, you wouldn’t have known it. He did what he does best, knocking down a couple of threes and looking comfortable in the offense. If he can return to somewhere close to his 2007 self, the “Shoot Boobie Shoot” t-shirt will be coming out of the cardboard box back home for a triumphant return.
Haters are welcome for Dion Waiters, and there have been plenty this preseason. By my standards, they should all shut up now and let the kid play one or two meaningful games before they discount him entirely. Waiters played well overall, shot well from outside, and proved his ability to get to the basket with relative ease. He is going to be a productive starter, and having him bring the ball up the floor at the point occasionally allows Kyrie to do some different things on the offensive end. Byron Scott’s philosophy fits his game to a tee, and he is going to work out just fine.
And finally, we’ll get to Kyrie Irving. 29 points, 6 boards, 3 assists. Solid line for the sophomore, who did everything we already know he does well. Got to the basket, made off-balance shots, attacked the hoop, and put a sick spin move on the Wiz kids late that led to a peach of a pass from Varajao for a Thompson slam. Uncle Drew is the man, and he proved it again last night. Coach Scott was happy with his performance (and the performance of the whole team), so I’m happy too. Last night was a nice way to start it off, and there’s a ton of promise in this young squad.
Next for the Cavs is another home game against the Rose-less Bulls. Lets get it.
P.S. to Dan Gilbert, don’t regret your Comic Sans font, slanderous hate letter to LeBron. We all get where you were coming from, and we all still hate him anyway. It was a completely stupid and uncalled-for act of childishness, but we were all childish and still probably are when it comes to the king who still has 5 rings less than MJ and 10 less than Bill Russell. We believe in you and our Cavs.
Next on Believing Since 1999 is a little somethin’ about the Browns. I’ll shoot to have it up by Friday or so. We’ll talk then. I love Cleveland.