Los Angeles -- I've had a rare treat during this road trip, one that many of you I'm sure take for granted. Twice I've been able to listen to Joe Tait call the game on the radio. I DVR most of the Cavs games off TV and watch pieces of them, but I never get to just listen to the games live because I'm always there. It just so happens some of the media seating configurations on the West Coast allow me to sit next to him and I borrow a headset.
I grew up listening to him call games, indeed I am from the Akron area. I especially remember West Coast games like these when I'd listen to the radio in bed. Listening to him call games out here and thinking back to those nights, well it is just comfortable.
Sure, I used to cut out stories about Danny Ferry, too. But being a grizzled beat writer, I've become certifiably objective and I'll rip Ferry whenever needed, just ask him. A pro in my position sort even loses the ability to be a fan of any team in any sport, sort of an irony of the trade. When I'm off, the last think I really want to do is go to a game of any sort.
But that doesn't apply with Mr. Tait and his style of calling the game..."Snow over the timeline and into the forecourt, dribbling between the circles. A whistle and, now what? They're gonna get Z on a moving screen. Oh, Dick Bavetta is having one of those nights, folks..." And absence has only made the heart grow fonder.
It is corny for a 28-year-old to be nostalgic? I don't care.
--Larry Hughes has been getting his left leg treated for this tendinitis for more than a week. It has been getting worse and his ankle still isn't 100 percent, either. He landed hard on it in Sacramento and grimaced all the way back down the floor. He's been playing pretty well, but it is prudent to expect he won't have his legs at full strength for quite some time. This is what life is going to be like with Hughes, he's always going to be dealing with injuries, just look at his resume. Stop sending me e-mails complaining about it and prepare to deal with it. More on this, LeBron vs. Yao, Cavs vs. Magic in China, new ball vs. old ball (it ain't over it), speculating about Earl Boykins, clearing up a rumor about Steve Blake, and a new phrase, The Br-Vinci Code, in my Monday Column.
--Stopped in the Clips locker room to see Luke Jackson Saturday. He's changed his number to 7, for luck. he said. He's worn 33 since high school, I think, out of homage to Larry Bird. Of course, he couldn't exactly wear that when he went to the Celtics now, could he.
--I always think the Jack in the Box commercials are funny when I come to the West Coast, too bad the food is terrible. Though, the Plain Dealer's Branson Wright and I did find our way to In-N-Out Burger while we're in Cali. Branson calls them "Crackburgers" because they are supposedly so addictive. And folks out here do refer to eating there as some sort of religious experience. Hey, it's good, but it's a burger. I'll take Harry Caray's in Chicago any day of the week.
--So all the Cavs are gearing up to head out for a night on the town after the game Saturday. They're organizing their limos, talking about where they're headed, and whatever millionaires do in L.A. when they're told there's going to be practice Sunday at noon. The team always gets Sunday off, especially when they are also off on Monday. Not happy campers, especially since they've just won nine of 11. Then on Sunday, just before practice time, everything is canceled. Either Mike Brown just wanted to make sure the boys didn't get too out of control on their extra night in LA or someone came to him and talked him out of it. Either way, an interesting little moment in a long season.
--So old friend Jeff McInnis gets ejected because of some messed up paperwork. See, Jeff is right, none of it really is his fault.
--Every now and then stuff happens on the road that makes you pause, cock your head and give a weird look to no one in particular in the distance (picture Jim Halbert from The Office if you will), and then move on. About 10 days ago in Milwaukee I was walking down the hallway of my hotel when I heard a scream come from a door I was walking by: "Ahhhh, don't bite my leg." Okey dokey. Friday as I was bugging out of my Phoenix hotel I passed an open door near the elevator and saw the maid making out in the doorway with a guy I believed to be a guest. In the awkward 90 seconds that followed as I was waiting for the elevator I half expected to hear some bad 70s music start playing.