Editors Note: We're excited to welcome the biggest Cavs fan in Ireland, David O'Leary, on board with us here at Stepien Rules. In the past he's also blogged for Hoopsworld, and we're looking forward to his perspectives and continued commentary from the Emerald Isle. Without further ado...
Colour me Wine and Gold, but is it just me, or do we look better now than we have all season? I’d even go further as to say that right now, we are better than at any point of last season. Even when we had that surreal winning streak. Even when we went 39-1 at home (I refuse to acknowledge that 76ers game, meant nothing to anyone!!). I’m fully, 100% convinced that right now, you are looking at not only the premier team in the entire NBA, but also in Cavs history. Better than Richfield. Better than the unfortunates of the eighties who couldn’t get away from Mike and the Bulls. This is it. We’re at peak form at the right moment. Even when we’re playing poorly against Boston, we end up beating them by 11. While missing 17 free throws. Last year when I was at Hoopsworldand we got to this stage of the season I still had my doubts about our credentials, and expressed them openly and regularly. This time around not one tiny doubt lingers.
As we all know, we will go as far as LeBron takes us. All things good begin and end with him. He’s awesome. And I never use the word awesome. But have ya checked out the help? Last year we had Mo as the only legit scorer behind Bron. Sure, we looked like world-beaters against Atlanta and Detroit. Everybody got in on the act. We went 8-0 over the two series while never winning by less than ten points. But when we came up against top tier opposition in Orlando, we stunk. Mo Williams went into hiding. Our depth lacked reliability. We couldn’t cope with their size and shot making. It hurt to watch. It still eats at me because we would have given the Fakers a way better series. But I’m over it. Kinda. Perhaps the biggest thing in helping erase the pain from last year is that this year, we are loaded. L-O-A-D-E-D. Our backcourt rotates as follows; Mo, Parker, Red, Boobie. Whatever the combo, we don’t miss a beat. Boobie filled in amicably when Mo went down. DeLonte is an X Factor with cool tattoos. Boobie and Parker shoot the three at an alarmingly good rate. Even Jamario Moon could easily slide to the two to match up with the taller shooting guards out there, like say, Vince Carter, who has spent time there this season. Our swingmen can cover every facet of the game. We have scoring, rebounding, defense and athleticism in abundance.
LeBron is on another level right now, and hopefully he should get ample rest from now until the end due to our commanding conference lead over the Magic. No need to over-exert number 23. Jamario Moon, Jawad Williams and when we go small ball Anthony Parker offer a variety of different options. Coach Brown is spoilt for choice. And our bigs are exactly that, big. Dwight Howard ain’t gonna back down Shaq. I don’t care what anybody at ESPN or Yahoo!says, Dwight Howard and Shaq is not as one sided as they think. Also, I hope somebody has sent Rashard Lewis the memo telling him that he won’t be able to just spot up when he feels like it and fire away. He may even have to create his own shot off the dribble – how things have changed! Antawn Jamison may be the most ideally gift wrapped 6-9 guy ever. If you could get a bow to fit that is. But while Jamison still doesn’t look 100% in sync with what we do, we still have 12 regular season games left to figure that out. Danny Ferry has pulled off a major coup in Leon Powe. You gotta admit it’s a stacked team.
I don’t see any problems with us advancing right into the ECF. At present, we face Toronto in the first round. They’ll be gobbled up in four games faster than Shaq can think of his next Chris Bosh joke. How sweet will it be to do to Hedo what Hedo done to us last year? About as sweet as when Boston’s age set in sometime in January.
The next twelve games are going to be long and drawn out because for me, and hopefully all you Cavs fans out there, our minds should be focused on one thing and one thing only – getting the ring for the king.
Til next time…
David can be reached via email, by clicking here.