Because we feel that no one understands the NBA more like the way we wish we understood the NBA than the gang at Free Darko, we've asked them to write up previews of every playoff series throughout the postseason. You've seen all these by now: It will help us understand what's at stake in each series, what matters, what it means for the individuals involved, their fanbases and their history. And there will also be funny, bizarre, non-linear photographs.
But this is the NBA Finals, and those require more than just one piddly preview. Therefore, today, Free Darko looks at each team in the series, cosmically, where they stand, where they've been, where they're going. So, after the jump, our Free Darko NBA Finals preview, part two: The Cleveland Cavaliers. As The Onion said, it's very possible that LeBron James will struggle name a Cavaliers player other than himself.
And now, Dr. Bethlehem Shoals, from Free Darko, after the jump, on the Cavaliers. Enjoy.
By now, we all know how these go. Will writes a warm intro, I get hysterical and see NBA angels, and then the comments make predictions about the outcome and premature ejaculation.
How big is LeBron in the Finals? He can change this nice little rhythm we've established over the last month plus. Your fearless (weekday) leader can try and stay easygoing, but when Thursday night rolls around he'll be sitting on his hands. I can pretend to know it all, when in fact I should just shut up and prepare to be be amazed. And seriously, who cares about James' baby mama when the King is about to compete for a championship. We bear witness for our own good as sports fans.
Maybe I'm guilty of poison-swilling and other acts of blind hype obedience. Honestly, though, I think we all want LeBron to cast this spell on us. Jordan was an obnoxious, over-exposed prick, and still it was him we hoped to see on the biggest stage. There comes a point even with Kobe Bryant where you're playing yourself if you're still stuck on that rock he bought wifey and where in little blond girls he likes to stick it. It's like, are you here for the game, or as some kind of weird lifestyle choice?
OK, I'm also guilty of denial. Part of what disappoints about LeBron during the regular season is that, well, he's really not much beyond basketball. Compare him with Arenas, or Melo, or Kobe, or Iverson, or any other All-Star worth his weight in blog entries, and you'll come back disappointed. In this, LeBron might resemble Tim Duncan more than any of his fans would care to admit. Aside from building a home with its own barbershop, James pretty much exists in public for the sake of winning. As we've seen this postseason, he really, truly means it.
The Cavs do have an outside shot at this one. Look, the Pistons were a serious team, and the James Gang ended up dispensing with them. They handle the rudiments of NBA basketball, sometimes and leave LeBron space to excel when he so chooses. These aren't the 2001 New Jersey Nets; with the Detroit series, they earned their trip to the Finals even if no one recognizes this. And therein might lie the Cavs greatest advantage.
The Pistons left Daniel Gibson open for exactly 3,546 shots in a row, and he buried them in their own ignorance. While it's impossible to pay too much attention to LeBron, he does technically have teammates, and on occasion they can get a decent fraction of the job done. It isn't pretty, but in fits and starts it can be effective. San Antonio is not a cocky bunch. However, they are realistic, and realism would seem to dictate that A Man Named "Boobs" can only do so much.
That's why, despite LeBron's incredible presence and uber-storyline, the Cavs are a bunch of dreamers. Maybe, just maybe, there can be a few more nights like Gibson had, either from Tits himself or some other forgotten lunk. Remember Matt Geiger? If memory serves, he did something of some importance that year that Iverson made it far. No one's expecting clutch, or heart, or character from the other Cavs, nor are they expecting it of themselves. But here's the sadness of it: They hope, valiantly, that a few of them can be slightly above average, and that the Spurs won't see it coming. That's where their faith has settled, and why this fairly humble prayer might very well be answered.