Looking at the Cavaliers in their first two games, I am reminded of Kevin Bacon's anal-retentive Omega House pledge in Animal House as the hordes of parade attendees trampled him fleeing Bluto Blutarsky (John Belushi), his Delta House chums and the mayhem they created in the name of revenge.
"Remain calm!!! All is well,'' Chip screamed to no avail. The crowd ignored the call to calm and he ended up flatter than day-old Schlitz.
I'm going to modify Chip's plea a little: ''Remain calm, all is not well - for now.''
Although I am in Minneapolis, I hear and read the nervousness in the blog posts and on newspaper websites. "What's wrong with the Cavs?" "Oh my goodness, we're not going to go 82-0." "Typical, Cleveland sports team."
Might I suggest chilling just a wee bit for a host of reasons.
Cavs fans were warned many times over during the preseason that this version of the team wasn't about to start off the way last year's did. Check that, maybe they still could. After all, they started 1-2 last year and if all goes as it should tonight, they will do so again. They'd return home tomorrow to face the Charlotte Bobcats, a team that couldn't hit 60 points earlier this week.
Yes, they could still start the same as last year, but let's be realistic. The likely won't and there are a host of reasons why they won't.
Let's face it, there are too many new parts for all of this to work out seamlessly. Shaquille O'Neal? Mike Brown hasn't had a low post presence like him to work with since being in Cleveland. Figuring out how to play him is a big part of the Cavs' issues. Because Brown is planning to save O'Neal for the playoffs, he's still working out minutes and how to balance O'Neal's with the need to rest him.
The preseason set the Cavs behind seriously. Flu? Had it. Injuries? Had those too. They haven't had the chance to work together enough to get a feel for one another.
And given the fact there are two new starters and a couple of new bench players in Jamario Moon, and Leon Powe eventually, establishing chemistry isn't about to be an instant thing. If anything it's akin to making a movie. Take all the elements - screenplay, cast and director - mix them properly and you get Schindler's List. If anyone of those elements are off, you end up with Ishtar.
And finally, observers are getting a look at just how important Delonte West is to the team. Because he's so focused on the court, that he does almost flawless. When LeBron James isn't on the floor, he's usually the best Cavalier playing. An educated guess is West returns sooner rather than later.
None of this excuses what we've seen on the floor so far. Brown has been correct in his observation that in some cases the effort from his team just hasn't been there. And they do look disjointed and awkward together.
But what I do know is that this isn't a football season. A record of 0-2 in pro basketball is a blip. In football it can be a lost season.
So when should the worrying commence? Talk to me in January.
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