Part one of this series focused on my journey from being a Cavs fan, to not caring about the NBA to being a big fan once again. I felt as if I needed to explain why I have a random game from the 2005-2006 season on DVD and will be not-live blogging about it.
The game begins with our play-by-play man Michael Reghi and recently-retired color-man Scott Williams. Many of the comments that they make during the broadcast appear to tow the company line, which is ironic because of the questionable series of events that led to Michael Reghi ending his relationship with the Cleveland Cavaliers after that season.
On the free agency signings made by Danny Ferry during the summer:
Yes, Michael Reghi: The Cavaliers did spend a lot of money last summer. That is not debatable. You are also correct when you ascertain that these are veterans who can “really do damage offensively.” One might say that it can be done at a 40% clip. My favorite part of this clip is seeing their contract year stats and comparing them to what they did in their first year with Cleveland. Larry Hughes averaged 6.5 less PPG with Cleveland than he did with Washington. Donyell Marshall saw his three point percentage drop by 9.2%. Damon Jones scored 5 less points per game. Cleveland spent a lot of money on veterans. They just happened to age in dog years after signing their contracts.
Michael Reghi and Scott Williams love LeBron James:
This video should not come as any surprise. Before LeBron James was known as “That Guy who exercised his free agency rights by invoking “The Bachelor,” he was known as a great kid who was wise beyond his years. LeBron James was that NBA player who gave up a fast break dunk in his very first NBA game in order to assist a basket to Ricky Davis.
This is not Chris Paul:
This video is very entertaining to me. I realize that Chris Paul was only playing his second game as a pro on that night, but how can Michael Reghi and Scott Williams gush about how amazing Chris Paul is when they are actually showing JR Smith? This clip gets bonus points for JR Smith’s dance moves.
Mike Brown is not a miracle-worker:
Michael Reghi sees Mike Brown as an “educator” and “teacher?” It’s probably a good idea to not follow that comment up with a discussion about this guy.
Drum corps, anarchist Swedish 90′s hardcore and cornrows:
Everybody loves the player introductions. They are always embarrassingly bad and somehow manage to look outdated even when they are current. This one is one of my favorites for three reasons: The people dancing along to the drum corps in the beginning, the fact that they play a sound clip of “New Noise” by the Swedish anarchist band Refused in the highly capitalist Quicken Loans Arena and because we get to see Anderson Varejao with cornrows. You’re welcome, internet.
“Keep that visual in your mind, Cavaliers fans:”
A little over two minutes into the Larry Hughes/LeBron James era, we are treated to this fantastic alley-oop play. Michael Reghi ensures the audience of Cavs fans that we will “see a lot of it this year between Larry Hughes and LeBron James.”
Speaking of seeing a lot of it this year:
Michael Reghi promised us that we would see a lot of exciting two-man play between Larry Hughes and LeBron James. The following offensive possession was more accurate. Behold, Larry Hughes’ very first ill-advised jump shot for Cleveland.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas was once an effective center:
It feels like this was a lifetime ago. Zydrunas Ilgauskas was never known for being nimble or quick, but he looked significantly better in this stretch than he has in his last few seasons with Cleveland.
Speaking of visuals:
This is Damon Jones’ very first three point attempt with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Even Gordon Gund could tell that it did not end well.
The first Scottie Pippen comparison:
Here is a 1:36 long conversation comparing Hughes/James to Pippen/Jordan. It’s coming from a guy who used to play with Michael Jordan, so he has to know what he is talking about.
A truly horrible commercial:
Every Cavs fan has to remember this commercial. Most have probably done a good job of suppressing it until I decided to come along and ruin everything.
David Stern loves Oklahoma City:
What a heartwarming story. Hurricane Katrina ravaged through New Orleans and the wonderful city of Oklahoma City opened up their arms and took in the Hornets. The skeptic in me has to wonder if David Stern was using this very unfortunate situation in New Orleans to plot ways to move the Supersonics to Oklahoma City. It is eery to listen to David Stern discuss the NBA in Oklahoma City multiple years before it actually happened.
LeBron James “oozes the right way to do things:”
Except when it comes to the proper way of exercising his free agency. When it comes to that, he will do it the exact opposite way of how it should be done.
LeBron James makes four consecutive three point shots:
As I mentioned in part one of this post, my relationship with the NBA and Cavaliers was on the mend prior to this game. Seeing this sequence of incredible play from LeBron James had me smitten once again. I really don’t like that LeBron fellow, but I get nostalgic when I watch this clip. Watching this brings back emotions that I was feeling almost 6 years ago. I will always resent LeBron James for the way that he handled his free agency, but I have gotten to the point where I can appreciate what happened in his time in Cleveland.
Michael Reghi and Scott Williams discuss the Ron Harper and Danny Ferry Trade:
Thanks for reminding me, fuckers.
Larry Hughes finally scores a basket:
It only took almost two and a half quarters and a fast break, but Larry Hughes finally got his first field goal as a Cleveland Cavalier. He would finish the night with ten points on 2/9 shooting.
The Damon Jones leg-kick:
Here is a blast from the past for Cavs fans. What was the deal with the Damon Jones leg kick? How does one even think of such a thing?
One for the Browns fans:
Romeo Crennel loves Cleveland because he can buy a chicken bacon ranch pizza? I guess that makes perfect sense.
Michael Reghi and Scott Williams discuss NBA officiating:
I find it very interesting that Michael Reghi mentioned that NBA broadcasters were able to attend a referee symposium. One thing that drives me crazy is how uninformed NBA fans tend to be about officiating. I feel that there are multiple factors for this. First and foremost, it is easier to blame an outside force for your team’s failures instead of the team itself. Second, I believe that the nature of local broadcasts with biased views creates uninformed NBA fans. The NBA simply cannot be biased against all 30 teams. No amount of superlatives and “facts” can prove this.
The Cavs fans love Luke Jackson:
Has there ever been a scrub who was as beloved by a fan base as Luke Jackson was in the first part of the 2005-2006 season?
My final thoughts on this game:
Cleveland looked like a pretty good team in this first game, but hindsight shows that it had more to do with LeBron James bucking the trend and going ape-shit from beyond the arc. Damon Jones and Donyell Marshall also combined for 30 points. Many Cavs fans were excited about the team’s prospect after this game, but it was fools gold. LeBron James was still young and it was painfully evident that his defense was pretty suspect. Instead of playing solid man-to-man defense, he took a cue from Larry Hughes and over-played the passing lanes.
I made many facetious comments about the free agency signings from the summer of 2005. One thing that I think people must remember is that despite the fact that it did not work out in the end, they were not as horrible as the history books show. This team was a proven playoff team that managed to make it to the finals. Danny Ferry had to make a splash in order to get LeBron James to re-sign with the Cavs. After Ray Allen, Michael Redd, Sarunas Jasikevicius and others turned down Cleveland, sitting on cap space was simply not an option. Not with LeBron James becoming a free agent the following summer.
It is funny to look back and see how misguided our enthusiasm was entering that season, but it made sense at the time.