60 wins in 73 games.
A franchise-record 12 straight wins.
A league best 35-1 record at home.
The best team in professional basketball just keeps on keeping on. On Sunday afternoon at ‘The Q' the Cavaliers spotted the Dallas Mavericks a 15-point second quarter lead just for kicks and giggles and then went all ‘bug versus window' on the visitors from Dallas before winning 102-74.
After the game a dazed and beaten Jason Kidd, Dallas's point guard, said about the Cavaliers, "Their record speaks for itself," he said. "They are the best team in the NBA right now."
The Cavs are going to win the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs and, by virtue of the Lakers loss to Atlanta on Sunday afternoon, currently have a two game lead for the coveted #1 overall seed in the NBA playoffs with each team having nine games remaining.
Some fans believe now is the time to take the foot off the pedal and begin concentrating on getting LeBron James some rest before the season starts in earnest with the playoffs. Those folks point to the recent hits James has taken and the potential for an injury to LeBron to render this magical season meaningless.
I'm not one of those people.
Home court advantage throughout the playoffs is a worthy pursuit. I'm not sure which part of 35-1 fails to register for fans who favor pulling back the reins on James. Yes, the lone loss of those 36 games was to the Lakers, obviously a Finals contender. But when push comes to shove I'd prefer that the first two games of that series as well as a deciding Game 7 be played right here in the friendly confines of a raucous Quicken Loans Arena.
If James had been worked to death in the regular season as he has been in past years I'd give the matter another thought. But at 6'9" and 265lbs, the 24-year old has averaged fewer minutes per game (38mpg) than he has in any other year of his career. James is essentially playing only three quarters per game as it is and has ad numerous fourth quarters off during the course of multiple Cavalier blowout wins this season.
I refuse to believe James is any more susceptible to a freak injury in the 42nd minute of a game next weekend than he is in the first minute of said game. Injuries happen but James has shown no signs of fatigue and he could just as easily slam his finger in a door or slip in a shower as he could get hurt on the floor.
The Cavs coaching staff has done a tremendous job with their rotations this season and also in managing James's minutes on the floor. There's no reason whatsoever to change things now. Not when the biggest prize of the regular season is there for the taking.
Villanova and Michigan State upset #1 seeds to reach next weekend's Final Four in Detroit. They'll be joined at Ford Field and face off against #1 seeds North Carolina and UConn respectively Saturday night.
This tournament, like last year's, has stuck pretty close to the vest in regard to teams advancing. Villanova is the lowest seed remaining in the field as a #3 and Michigan State was seeded second to Louisville in the Midwest region.
Upsets and buzzer beaters have been in relatively short supply all tournament long but hard core college hoops fans are licking their lips in anticipation of some major programs going shot for shot next weekend.
So who's your guy at #5?
Perhaps lost a bit in the NCAA Tournament hype and the start of baseball season is the fact that the 2009 NFL Draft is creeping up on us quickly. The Browns will see four players come off the board in the hour before they pick and the speculation as to what Eric Mangini and George Kokinis will do to shape the future of the franchise is picking up.
Some fans are convinced that Brian Orakpo from the University of Texas is the pick that the Browns can't afford to pass up. Others are convinced that while Orakpo is perhaps the best physical specimen in the draft that he doesn't possess either the killer instinct or the leadership skills that fans and the team sorely need.
I don't pretend to know whether Orakpo or anyone else the Browns select will be that vicious, head hunting defender the club craves. What I do know is I'm a bit leery basing a selection on physical gifts and combine workouts alone. Orakpo simply didn't impress me while watching him play a mediocre game against a mediocre Ohio State offensive line. And I desperately wanted to be impressed.
This will be a huge day for the new Mangini-Kokinis regime. A failure to get an impact player with the 5th pick will further set this team back. And teams near the back of the pack already just can't miss too often.
Just a little over a week before Cliff Lee takes the ball against the Rangers in the Indians' season opener against Texas. It's been a long training camp due to the World Baseball Classic and with rosters basically set it's time to get it started for real.
Nothing really new with the Indians. The keys will be if-comes in the starting rotation after Lee and Fausto Carmona and whether or not Travis Hafner can come anywhere close to the numbers he put up a couple years back. Even without Hafner the Indians will likely score enough runs to win but a healthy and productive Hafner puts them in the upper echelon of major league offenses.
But the answers to the questions begin to unveil themselves in a week. You have keys to the season? I'd love to hear them. Shoot me an email at the link below.