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Gary Benz

chutes and laddersUsually I end my Lingering Items columns with a question to ponder but today I flip the conceit: Are sports fans in general cynical or is it just Cleveland sports fans?

Though I don't usually weigh in on the answer but ask because I'm concerned. About me, about you about the nature of sports in Cleveland generally. I had just finished writing my once or twice a year column on the Cleveland Cavaliers and decided to let it sit for a few days. Something about it didn't seem quite right. When I returned to it, the problem became clear. It seemed to be drenched in a baseline cynicism that can best be summed up as "the Cavs suck, what's new?" That really wasn't what I intended to say. Thus beget the question to ponder and then another, more existential variation: did I have anything more to say about Cleveland sports that I hadn't already said?


Jonathan Knight

Ohio Basketball HOFAs the Cavaliers wrap up another losing season and their ongoing (dare we say “endless”) rebuilding process continues, perhaps the best elixir is to reflect upon other times they successfully pulled themselves up by their high-tops - and remember the guys who helped them do it.

Sound the trumpets, Cavs fans - the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame is riding to the rescue.

Never heard of it? Like the Cavs, it’s still building, but picking up momentum even faster.

Founded in 2006, the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame doesn’t yet have a physical location, but is establishing its presence through an extensive website and numerous events around the state. And of course, by adding to its already hallowed (virtual) halls, which now include just under 200 inductees - selected from nominations by dues-paying members (membership is $30 per year) and voted on by its Board of Trustees, which includes former Ohio State star and 1968 Olympic gold medalist Bill Hosket and co-founders Harold “Doc” Daugherty, the longtime coach at Euclid High School, and Don Henderson, longtime coach at Springfield North High School.


Erik Cassano

001 BscottNo one needs to rehash the gory details of the Cavs’ performance over the past three years. Since LeBron departed in 2010, the team has lost a lot more than it’s won, and has seemingly found itself cornered by the injury bug at every turn.

Even with the constant injuries to Anderson Varejao, Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and others, the losing is by design, for now at least. The Cavs have spent two years trying to build a nucleus through the lottery, and will add another lottery pick to the roster in a couple of months. You gather lotto balls by losing games, and you lose games by stripping the roster down, playing youngsters and packing the bench with low-cost (read: not very good) veterans.

When you have two rookies and two sophomores in the everyday starting lineup, the undrafted Alonzo Gee rounding out the starting five, and a bench that has, for the entire season, employed the likes of bald-treaded Luke Walton and chucker-extraordinaire C.J. Miles, it’s simply not a team designed to win.


Jerry Roche

Cavs post1The problem with the Cavaliers lies not with their collective athletic ability. It lies not with their approach to the games or their teamwork.

Their biggest problem — at least of late — is the defensive play of the guards, who seem more "Lost in Space" than Will Robinson and Robby the Robot ever were.

When the Brooklyn Nets torched them the other night, starting guards Marshon Brooks and Deron Williams combined for 51 points. The previous game, Atlanta guards Devin Harris and Jeff Teague combined for 44 points. And the game before that, the lowly Hornets’ guards combined for "only" 39 points, but the diminutive Brian Roberts came off the bench to add 15 in limited playing time.


000Byron ScottAt the end of the strike-shortened, 66-game 2011-2012 NBA season, the Cavs had won 21 games. That’s approximately equivalent to 26 victories over a regular, 82-game season.

To date, the Cavs have a 22-51 record through their first 73 games; the way they’ve been playing, another victory doesn’t seem to be coming anytime soon.

Even if they were to go 5-4 over their final nine games, they would finish at 27-55, one game better than last year’s pace.

Raise your hand if you believe this will happen.


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