Sunday, May 13, 2012

Desperate and Delusional

By: Kyle Schimming

Playoff basketball has had no problem avoiding The Q in the two seasons since LeBron James traded in his winter coat for the warmth of South Beach.

This void has given me the opportunity to dive into the Indians season a little faster than in past years while setting myself up even earlier for the inevitable Browns destruction to come.

But what it's also done is given me the time to continue my disdain towards James and throw my support behind the opponents that match up with the Heat each round.

I'm quick to admit that the Dallas Mavericks' Finals victory last season over the Heat brought me way more joy than I imagined it would and carved out a special place in my all-time favorite German athletes list for Dirk Nowitzki...oh you don't have a list of your favorite German athletes, yeah me either.

Fast forward to this postseason and I find myself in a similar position. The NBA fan in me is drawn to the match ups all across the board. But I've certainly kept a closer eye on Miami's opponents and their chances at knocking out the Heat.

I wasn't expecting much trouble from their first round match up with the Knicks. The Heat were never going to be threatened my Carmelo and Amare's less than stealer effort on the defensive end. Miami made quick work of New York and now leads Indiana 1-0.

The Pacers have the depth to give the Heat trouble and the Game 1 injury to Chris Bosh has made this series more interesting, but all along the team I've had my eyes on the Eastern Conference Finals as the series where the Heat will really be tested.

Even before Derrick Rose tore up his knee in the first round, I was hoping for the Celtics to emerge as the team that would put LeBron's plans of winning his eight championships on hold. The Celtics have the experience and the confidence to go up against the Heat and  potentially send them home before the Finals.

While Boston has looked good but not great in beating Atlanta in six games and grabbing a 1-0 lead on Philadelphia, I still have the same expectations for them as I did before the playoffs began.

That hope may turn out to come true, but like any guy who fails to see any negatives in a new girlfriend, my feelings towards the Celtics are obviously skewed by my disdain towards James.

This is especially clear any time Ryan Hollins, yes that Ryan Hollins, checks into the game as Boston's first big man off the bench. Any Cavs fan will tell you that Ryan Hollins shouldn't be relied on to provide a solid inside presence in a local YMCA game let alone in a playoff series.

But that's exactly what Hollins is being asked to do by Celtics coach Doc Rivers. Hollins has turned into the energy guy off the bench whenever Kevin Garnett and Brandon Bass need a break. He was easily one of the worst players on a team with the third worst record in the league, yet finds himself right in the middle of what is likely the last chance for Boston's "Big Three" to chase a championship.

I'd imagine that Ryan Hollins wasn't what Danny Ainge had in mind for the future when he traded away Kendrick Perkins before last years trading deadline, but he's going to have to have his fingerprints on however far the Celtics end up advancing in the playoffs.

This alone shows how desperate and somewhat delusional the fans are who once cheered for James as he promised to bring a banner to Cleveland and now spend their summers throwing their support behind the once hated "Big Three" of the Celtics.

However, for now the thought of the Heat smugly winning a championship is more than enough for Cavs fans to convince themselves that the old Celtics legs have one more Finals run in them and that Ryan Hollins has suddenly realized that he is indeed 7'0" tall and allowed to grab rebounds.

But we've all seen how James handles the pressure when matched up against a fan base both desperate and a little delusional, and for now that allows Cavs fans to continue to believe. Even when what it's believing in is Ryan Hollins.

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