Happy Holiday Friday to you all! It’s really fun to have the Friday before a holiday weekend. Before I get started, I just wanted to thank all the new Patreon supporters. I know I say that every week, and it’s a bit self-serving to talk about Patreon in my post on a weekly basis, but I must do it again. We are up to 44 patrons and we’re all set to do great stuff with those funds. I can’t say anything yet, but we’ll detail it all very soon. We think it’s going to make the site better. Now, onto the sports.
Trying not to take LeBron James and the Cavaliers for granted…
LeBron James plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Again. Even after screaming, “Cleveland! This is for you!” while reveling in the first Cleveland championship since 1964, it’s still hard to believe sometimes – as a fan – that LeBron James is back in Cleveland. This week’s regular-season game against the Milwaukee Bucks (the road version) was another one of those times where I found myself realizing just how strange all this is.
It was a short-handed night for LeBron James. He had Kyrie Irving, but Kevin Love was ruled out before the game. After 17 minutes, J.R. Smith was lost to a hand injury as well. Across the way was a pesky, young, talented Milwaukee Bucks team led by former Cavalier Matthew Dellavedova. The Cavaliers should win games like this no matter what, but it was a tough one.
The Cavaliers took a seven-point lead with 2:32 left when LeBron assisted a Kyrie three. At that point, I figured the game was pretty well in hand. Over the next two minutes, however, the Bucks showed guts as the Cavaliers missed basically everything. LeBron missed a jumper. Kyrie missed a layup. LeBron got blocked at the rim by John Henson amidst the entire Bucks team. LeBron missed again. Channing Frye missed. All of a sudden it’s tied at 100 with Delly assisting to Jabari Parker. It felt like old times with the Cavaliers. It felt like bad times for just a split second, but all those memories and feelings rush back in an instant.
No lead was safe after LeBron James left. Even when the Cavaliers were playing their best after Kyrie Irving was drafted, it felt like losses could be conjured up out of thin air. The Cavaliers lost Kyrie’s four best scoring games his rookie year. Even over the next couple seasons as Kyrie got better and the team won more when Kyrie went off, the team as a whole maxed out at 33 wins for a season. I know that every other Cavs fan that didn’t tune them out understands all the dynamics at play, but it can still be so jarring to watch a Cavaliers game and realize that LeBron James is back. Even after the championship and the incredible year, it sometimes feels like you’ve re-animated out of a years-long coma.
That’s what was so much fun in overtime on this random regular-season night. The Cavaliers dropped seven points to allow the Bucks to send it to overtime. They went back and forth with the Bucks until they trailed 108-107 with 0:28 on the clock. It was lucky for the Cavaliers that Jabari Parker missed a layup, but LeBron James’ defensive rebound ripped from the Bucks which resulted in a foul by Giannis Antekokounmpo was not. The Cavaliers called a timeout and then LeBron smacked me back to glorious current-day reality one more time.
— Today'sLoop (@TodaysLoop) December 21, 2016
Kyrie and LeBron iced it further with four free throws, but the dagger had been lodged by LeBron from long distance.
In the end, it’s just a regular-season game. It’s just one of what feels like a million such games LeBron James has played. On a random Tuesday in December, it served as a reminder of how incredible the entire scenario actually is. Yes, it now has been announced that the hand injury to J.R. Smith required surgery and he’ll be out for awhile, but LeBron James is a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers. He routinely makes incendiary plays on the basketball court. His relevance is beyond that of any athlete most of us have seen in Cleveland in our lifetime. And yet, we still sometimes take it for granted, or otherwise kind of forget how incredible all this happens to be.
In time I’m sure we’ll all be able to do this even more justice, but being so close to it right now makes for very interesting times. I keep wondering when the Cleveland Cavaliers championship will set in forever and ever. That might have to wait until it sets in forever and ever that LeBron James came back to Cleveland and plays for the hometown Cavaliers again.
My favorite Christmas song of all time…
There are many candidates, but for my money this is the very best Christmas song. I love it so very much. Let this ride out your week.