Following last night’s heartbreaking loss to the Golden State Warriors, Cleveland Cavaliers guard JR Smith was immediately thinking towards the next game… and the next game… and the next one… and one final game. Smith tweeted “Cavs in 7” just minutes after Kevin Durant hit a three-ball that ripped the heart out of every Cavs fan in the world. Or at least we thought.
When asked about the tweet, Smith immediately denied that it was him and says he was hacked. Smith claimed to be in the shower and his phone was buzzing about the tweet when he got out. Smith said he liked what the hacker was thinking, but he isn’t dumb enough to do that.
I, on the other hand, do think JR Smith is dumb enough to tweet that. And while this may sound weird, I mean “dumb” in a good way.
Kevin Durant’s shot last night was probably the most deflating thing I’ve ever witnessed in my 24 years of Cleveland sports fandom. I went from being on cloud nine trillion to feeling like I just found out my dog died with one swish of the net. And while I wasn’t alive for the heartbreak that many Cleveland fans felt during the 80s (thank God), courtesy of the Browns, I’ve seen hundreds of Browns games, two NBA Finals losses, Jose Mesa blow Game 7, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving suffer season ending injuries in the same playoffs, LeBron take his talents to South Beach, the Indians blow a 3-1 lead in the ALCS to the Boston Red Sox, the Indians blow a 3-1 lead in the World Series to the Chicago Cubs, and now, I have seen a shot that sucked the breath out of every soul wearing a C with a sword through it on Wednesday night.
As I walked from the bar to my car I barely said a word. My wife said to me, “it sucks because you like the Cavs so much that this will ruin your whole week.” Honestly, if she thinks this will only bother me for a week then she has no idea who she married. But the point is I was deflated. But, then something incredible happened. JR Smith popped up in my timeline with a “Cavs in 7” tweet and I was immediately All In again.
JR gave me hope when I should have none. If a player can take a loss like that and still have the confidence that his team is going to come back and win, then I have a reason to believe again, and better yet, a reason to watch Game 4. I’m aware no team has ever come back in the NBA from 3-0 to win a series. But, I was also aware last year that no team had ever come back from 3-1 to win an NBA Finals either. And believe me, I am aware that it’s “different this year because they have Kevin Durant.” I just don’t care.
I love the Cavs, and while I may be crazy for believing that they can come back and do this, I’m still going to do it. Whether I have faith or not, they still have to play Game 4, so I may as well root them on. And then who knows? Maybe they steal Game 5 in Oakland, and then all of a sudden we are looking at a chance to head back to Cleveland and force a Game 7. And maybe they lose Game 4 and it’s all over. But if I’m going to watch game four, I’d rather do it with a sliver of hope than with certain doom. I think back to the 2004 ALCS when the Boston Red Sox trailed the New York Yankees 3-0. There is a video of Kevin Millar talking to a reporter saying, “don’t let us win tonight.” Millar would go on to say that if you let the Sox win Game 4, they had Pedro Martinez for Game 5, Curt Schilling for Game 6, and then anything can happen in Game 7. So, don’t let the Cavs win Game 4 because Game 5 we have LeBron, Game 6 we have LeBron, and Game 7, anything can happen.\
This Cavs team is like something we will probably never see again. What are the chances that in the rest of your life time the Cavs will have a roster that features the best player in the world, and goes to the NBA Finals three straight years? The odds are not in your favor. But right now, that is what we get to witness and we should watch them any chance we get. Last year, people said that anyone who thought the Cavs could come back from 3-1 to beat the 73-win Warriors with the first unanimous MVP of all time was dumb. Thinking it was probably pretty dumb, but we all know what happened. The chances are slim, but if there’s anything we learned last year, it’s that you just have to be a little dumb.
Cavs in 7.