Saturday, June 18, 2016

NBA Finals ~ Game 6 ~ June 16, 2016

I really have an amazing husband. Seriously, I can go on and on about how he takes care of me, how he loves me unconditionally, how he makes me smile...all of the time. 

But, let's be real. These tickets? They give him an asterisk.

I'd love to say that Sean and I would be able to have this playoff experience without Steve, but it just wouldn't be the same. Steve and I have attended some pretty spectacular sporting events, but we have never ever paid for an NBA ticket. Because Steve has dedicated 21 years of his life to the Cavalier organization, Sean and I are watching our beloved Cavaliers - our home town team - live and in person. Thanks Steve!

On to Game 6...

 Is this a dream?

I've had some pretty incredible sports experiences in my life. To date, Game 3 of the 2015 NBA Finals and Game 6 of the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals had been the two best sports experience of my life.

Until now...

Game 6 of the 2016 NBA Finals was the best sports experience of my life. There wasn’t the madness outside like 2007, but we’re talking about the NBA FINALS and Game 6 is when the Cavs went on to win their second straight to even the series at 3-3 and force a Game 7. Sean and I were there in person to experience it in all its guts and glory and it was a really fun game to watch.

We started the night at the casino with a beautiful slice from Rocco & Rosie's, followed by good cheap drinks in the Diamond Lounge with Kevin and Lisa. 

We had the same exact seat location at Game 3, so we knew that was a good start.

Cleveland came out of the gate with a strong presence. LeBron scored 9 points on 4-5 FG while Kyrie and Tristan both added 7 apiece as the Cavs took a resounding 31-11 lead at the end of the first. A strong first quarter put Golden State on edge and although they made us uneasy at times, they were never able to recover.

LeBron outplayed Stephen Curry and delivered another stellar performance. With 41 points, 11 assists, eight rebounds four steals and three blocked shots, he dominated the game on both ends of the floor. He scored 17 of the Cavs 35 points in the 4th quarter to lead the Cavs to their last home victory of the season. 

Kyrie Irving added 23 points while Tristan Thompson earned his paycheck and proved to be a difference-maker with his 15 points and 16 rebounds.

The Cavs held a 24-point second-half lead, but the Warriors climbed back to within seven points. Cleveland didn't let them get too comfortable as LeBron led a drive where he had his hand in 27 consecutive points and 35 of 36 to extend the Cavs lead. 

Meanwhile, Curry cried his way to the locker room after being ejected with 4:22 left in the game following his sixth personal foul and throwing his mouthpiece into the crowd. Curry finished with 30 points while Klay Thompson had 25 and Draymond Green had 10 rebounds. 

I even met up with one of my housemates from college at halftime. Maggie and I went to high school together and then both went to UD. We were neighbors our freshman year and then lived together during our sophomore and junior years. Maggie met her husband Breese at Dayton, so I guess you can say Breese was also a housemate of mine :)

Now we're going back to Cali for a decisive Game 7. If this same Cavs team shows up, they'll be a tough team to beat.

Although Sean initially wanted to go straight home because there "was nothing to celebrate" he quickly changed his mind when we stepped outside into the masses. Machine Gun Kelly's "CLE Til' I Die" was blasting from the outdoor stage. We decided to take it #ALLIN for a few minutes and then headed down the street for a couple of post-game drinks. Eventually, Steve finished up at work and it was time to close up shop. Good night Cleveland. We'll see you on Sunday.

 Final Score 115-101 = 216


15 Down...ONE TO GO!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

NBA Finals ~ Game 5 ~ June 13, 2016

Your back is against the wall.

Game Five was just that. Golden State was on the verge of clinching the NBA Championship on their home court and a stellar Cavs performance was the only thing keeping them from doing that.

The day prior we learned that GSW forward Draymond Green would be suspended for Game Five following a hit to LeBron's groin during the previous game. The hit, which was later ruled a flagrant, put him over the limit for postseason flagrant fouls, which meant an automatic one-game suspension. Although the media made a spectacle of it, I wasn't going to complain and I would gladly take a win with an asterisk next to it!

As a side note: Just two days prior, the Lake Erie Monsters clinched the AHL Championship and hoisted the Calder Cup. 1964 was the last time Cleveland won a championship...and no, this. does. not. count. I appreciate the difficulty in achieving such a feat, but c'mon. Regardless, Steve and his team thought it would be a stroke of good luck to get their hands on any kind of trophy!

Kevin and Lisa joined us at our house to watch Game Five and it was a stressful and fun event. There was lots of screaming, clapping, cheering, yelling, [fill in the blank].

I'm not even going to provide a play-by-play because there are only two stat lines that matter. With the game tied at 61-61 at the half, LeBron and Kyrie continued to put on a clinic and Klay Thompson finally missed some shots.

My magic number of 75 (LeBron, Kyrie & Kevin combined points) was laughing at me...hysterically. That's because the Cavs didn't need a Big Three. They simply needed their two best players to DOMINATE on the offensive end. Together, the duo scored 82 of the Cavs 112 points and became the first teammates in NBA Finals history to each score 40+ points in a game. 

Kevin Loved scored...2 points. Yes, two. It was frustrating to watch, but so much more fun to watch #23 and #2 pick up the slack.

Game Six is at home on Thursday and Sean and I will be there in all our guts and glory. Cheers to hoping we have a lot more glory than last year's Game Six.

In no way am I a narcissist, but it's June 2016 and the Cavs are playing AT HOME in the Game Six of the NBA Finals!

 14 Down...2 to Go

NBA Finals ~ Game 4 ~ June 10, 2016

Sean and I started Game Four by grilling out at his house with Alex, Louie and JoJo. I thought we'd keep it simple with burgers and chips, but then Alex decided to roast an entire head of cauliflower...because everyone has roasted cauliflower at their family BBQ.

We had a lot of time to waste before game time, so we took Uber down to the newly opened Forest City Brewery located on Columbus Rd. Having just opened on June 3rd, they still have a very casual back yard set-up with picnic tables and lawn chairs.

By the time 7:45 rolled around we were ready to head to the game. We popped in at the outdoor FanFest just to see the masses of people before heading inside The Q.

According to my math, Game Four was another must win game. The Cavs needed to win all three games at home in order to give themselves the best chance at winning this series. They needed to #DefendTheLand.

Well, the Cavs did not defend home court and it was frustrating. The two-time MVP found his long-range touch and scored 38 points while Klay Thompson added 25.
Kyrie Irving scored 34 points for the Cavs and James added 25 points, 13 rebounds and nine addition to seven turnovers and an overall passive bravado. Kevin Love returned to the lineup after missing Game 3 with a concussion and added 11 points off the bench.
As a team, the Cavs had an overall lack of teamwork and the Warriors rebounded from a big Game Three loss by beating Cleveland 108-97 and taking a 3-1 lead in the series.

Clearly this guy was frustrated too. With "Trump Sucks" on his back and "LeBron 4 President" on his chest, he ran out on the court during the 4th quarter before he was tackled by arena police. Apparently he has done this before, including the 2014 World Cup Final in Brazil. We thought it was pretty annoying, but we were also pretty annoyed with the Cavs performance.

Game Five at Oakland will be interesting. No team has ever come back from a 3-1 deficit to win the finals. I'm lacking confidence that Cleveland can win three straight, but it's the only way.
Still 14 Down...3 to Go

Thursday, June 9, 2016

NBA Finals ~ Game 3 ~ June 8, 2016

The Boys are Back in Town

Clearly home court is a telling advantage in this series and if I do my math right, the Cavs will lose this series if they don't prove that advantage least once.

I can't begin to tell you how irritable and sad I was after Game Two. Monday was depressing and I wasn't alone. My mood improved on Tuesday and by Wednesday morning, I was back to where I wanted to be and I was excited and confidant for Game Three.

Sean and I attended the game together, so Kevin joined us downtown for a pre-game drink. 

We learned prior to the game that the Cavs would be without Kevin Love due to a concussion suffered during Game Two. We weren't rattled. He hasn't been performing well vs. the Warriors and his defense is borderline terrible, so 35-year-old Richard Jefferson would take his spot in the starting line-up.

Cleveland started out strong by scoring the first nine points of the game and led by as many as 20 in the first. LeBron made all four of his shots and was playing with the finesse and aggression that makes him one of the greatest in the world. Kyrie Irving shot 7-9 and scored as many points as the entire Warriors team (16). The Cavs were up 33-16 at the end of the quarter and were looking pretty good.

The Warriors are a team capable of scoring a lot of points in just a few minutes, so we were never really relaxed. After a 16 point first quarter, Golden State climbed to within 7 points (48-41) with 1:51 left in the second quarter and outscored the home team 27-18 to enter halftime with the Cavs up 51-43.

The Cavs continued their domination in the second half and let the point differential climb. Cleveland's starters scored all 38 of the Cavs' third quarter points led by LeBron's 13 points on 5-6 FG and J.R. Smith's 9 points on 3-3 FG and entered the final stanza up 89-69.

Despite both teams clearing their benches in the fourth quarter, the Cavs bench continued to play with confidence and outscored GSW 31-21 to chalk up the 130-90 victory.

Cleveland outrebounded Golden State 52-32 and shot 53% from the field, including 48% from three. Kyrie Irving bounced back after two lackluster performances and J.R. Smith peaked at just the right time. The Cavs were led by their new big three of James, Irving and Smith who scored 82 of the team's 120 points while the league's MVP was a non-factor with 19 points on 6-13 shooting. 

The Cavs improved to 8-0 at home in the Playoffs with an average margin of victory of 22 points. They can even the series with a Game Four win at home on Friday. 

13 Down...3 to Go