The main headline you will see on all sports networks tomorrow will say something about the fact that Miami’s winning streak has been extended to 24 games. But there’s another side to the story no one is talking about that every single sports fan needs to feel sympathetic about: the story of the most jinxed team in the NBA.
We all thought the Cavs’ misfortunes in the late 80s was purely a result of the Greatest Ever, MJ himself, bursting onto the NBA superstardom scene in a long series of destroying Cleveland with his legendary clutch play, including the oft-mentioned running jumper against the Cavs on a series-clinching buzzer beater in 1989 (known as “The Shot”). Turns out a full-on curse spanning two and a half decades has translated all the way to this day, most infamously when today’s greatest NBA player, LeBron James, decided to take his talents to South Beach.
And in their latest morale blow, the Cavs blew a 27-point lead that just so happened to be against LeBron and the reigning NBA champs in the 4th quarter. Because, you know, the Cavs could use more gut-wrenching, soul-crushing defeats – especially against a former legendary ally that betrayed them.
Worst of all, LeBron once again showed the Cavs fans – in Cleveland – what they’ve been missing since his departure, posting another triple-double with 25 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. Not quite his monster 48-point performance in his first return to Cleveland since The Decision, but impressive nonetheless. When Cleveland showed some resolve after their severe implosion, they cut Miami’s lead to one with just under five seconds left in the game. And to add insult to injury, the refs made a very dubious call after the ball went out of bounds with two seconds left; the video replay showed LeBron knocking the ball out of bounds, yet possession was somehow granted to the Heat. Cleveland had one more shot to send the game into OT, but CJ Miles’ three-point attempt clanked off the rim – a fittingly symbolic imagery of the continuing misfortunes of this team.
That just seems to be the trend with this Cleveland franchise – they show glimpses of hope, but there just seems to be one bad break after another that sets them back. The fact that this perceived curse spans the generations of Michael Jordan AND LeBron James speaks volumes about how eerily bad the Cavs’ luck has been for several years.
This is the latest misfortune of yet another rough season for Cleveland post LBJ. We all know how bad they’ve been since LeBron’s departure. Hell, some even argue that David Stern felt so bad for them that he fixed the 2011 lottery to help Cleveland land their newest promising All-Star in Kyrie Irving. Their bad luck has translated to both long and short-term affairs – the long-term ones being free agency (or lack thereof) and health (another lack thereof), the short-term being in games. Even in the game vs. Miami tonight, their two best players (and arguably their two lone bright spots) in Irving and Dion Waiters were out with injuries. Irving will likely sit out the rest of the season with an injured shoulder, an injury which took major zest out of the Cavs’ season. And despite Irving’s All-Star season up to that point, the Cavs were still among the league’s worst. Now without both Irving and Waiters, as well as a prior season-ending injury to Anderson Varejao, it’s difficult to imagine a positive outlook for the rest of the season and beyond. When it comes to both in-game luck as well as health, the Cavs can never seem to catch a break.
The lesson here is, if you think your team has had some bad luck, you would be wrong – unless you are in Ohio. And for all the sports analysts that will ramble on and on tomorrow about how this streak will affect the Heat, please stop and consider talking about the worst of Miami’s victims during this winning streak.
To all Cavaliers fans: you will always have my deepest sympathy. That is, until you get 25 years of good luck to balance the last quarter-century out.