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Sunday Column: Why We Should All Root For Cleveland In The N.B.A. Finals

LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers are two wins away from winning the franchise's first N.B.A. Finals. (Photo Credit: Bleacher Report)

LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers are two wins away from winning the franchise’s first N.B.A. Finals. (Photo Credit: Bleacher Report)

By Matt Noonan 

The 2015 N.B.A. Finals have been a real treat.

Unlike past years that have pitted squads with championship resumes, this year’s finals features two teams representing cities desperate for hardware.

Cleveland hasn’t celebrated a championship since 1964, the year the Browns defeated the Baltimore Colts in the N.F.L. Championship.

Golden State – winners of the 1975 N.B.A. Finals – have come close to winning its fourth championship in franchise history, but have only appeared in the final round twice since defeating the Washington Bullets in four straight games.

Unlike Cleveland, Golden State, which plays its games in Oakland, has seen neighboring professional squads win titles. The Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers have won Super Bowls since the 1970’s, while the Oakland A’s captured the 1988 World Series, sweeping the San Francisco Giants in four game. The Giants have won a trio of championships since 2010, including their franchise’s eighth World Series crown last fall.

The San Jose Sharks, however, are the lone Bay Area team without a championship. San Jose has appeared in the Western Conference Finals three times since the turn of the century, but suffered setbacks to the Calgary Flames (2004), Chicago Blackhawks (2010) and Vancouver Canucks (2011).

So, who needs this title more? The answer would be both Cleveland, right?

If Cleveland wins the title then it will probably call-off school, work and everything else the following day. Yet, if the series does go the distance, I guess school would be cancelled the following Monday, right?

The Bay Area has celebrated multiple championships. So, while Oakland and San Francisco would rejoice in the Warriors’ fourth franchise crown, it may not feel as special as Cleveland finally getting over the hump and winning a title.

Cleveland has seen its baseball team come close to winning a World Series title since capturing the 1948 World Series.

In 2013, the Indians attempted to extend its campaign to the round of eight, but lost to Tampa Bay in a play-in-game, 4-0. Cleveland concluded the game with nine hits – one more than the Rays – but could not muster a single run.

In 2007, the Indians fell to the Boston Red Sox – remember when they were good? – in the American League Championship Series and dropped a pair of American League Division Series in 2001 and 1999.

Cleveland did, however, appear in 1995 and 1997 World Series, but did not win.

The Indians saw its best chance to end the city’s championship drought in 1997 when they prolonged their championship series with Florida to seven games following a 4-1 victory in the sixth game. Yet, despite an early two-run lead in the final game of the Series, the Marlins rallied to even the game at 2-2 before plating the final run in the bottom of the 11th to win their first-ever crown.

As for the Cleveland Browns, they haven’t earned a postseason victory since 1989 after defeating Buffalo, 34-30. The Browns advanced to the Conference Championship following their win against the Bills, but fell to the Denver Broncos for the second time in three seasons by a score of 37-21.

Cleveland outscored the Broncos, 21-14, during the third stanza, but did not register a single point during the final 15 minutes. John Elway connected with Sammy Winder for a 39-yard touchdown strike, while David Treadwell kicked a pair of field goals during the final session to send the Broncos to the Super Bowl.

Since the turn of the century, the Browns have posted a pair of winning seasons, including a 9-7 mark during their 2002 campaign. Yet, similar to past years, the Browns fell in the playoffs, losing to rival Pittsburgh. Cleveland registered a 10-win season in 2007 – their most wins in a single-season since 1994 – but did not qualify for the postseason.

Let the debate rage on, who needs this championship? Cleveland or the Bay Area? I guess you would say, Cleveland, right?

Initially, I chose to Golden State to hoist the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy, but after rattling off Cleveland’s frustrating postseason setbacks, I guess I have to root for the Cavaliers.

Enjoy the remainder of the N.B.A. Finals and consider rooting for Cleveland, so they can finally celebrate a championship for the first time since “Can’t Buy Me Love” by The Beatles was a chart topper.

NFL 2012 Hall Of Fame Game Announced

By NoontimeSports.com 

The NFL announced on Wednesday that the New Orleans Saints, who were originally selected to to play in the Hall of Fame Game, will face-off against the Arizona Cardinals on August 6, 2012.

The Cardinals haven’t made a trip to Canton, Ohio since they were the St. Louis Cardinals in 1986, while the Saints haven’t played in this particular game since their 20-7 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2007.

Finally, the NFL Network will broadcast the exhibition game, too.

NCAA Hockey Shake-Up

By Dan Rubin 

After two rounds of negotiations over the past week, the Western Collegiate Hockey Association is prepared to merge with the Central Collegiate Hockey Association for the [2013-2014] season.

The merger comes after 11 teams departed from both the WCHA and CCHA for different conferences, which included the newly formed, Big Ten Hockey Conference and National Collegiate Hockey Conference.

Over the past week, the two conferences did not include Notre Dame in their notes, especially since the Fighting Irish were rumored to leave for either Hockey East or NCHC. The merger also did not include the league names, but rather, the individual schools.

The new conference will retain the WCHA’s name, meaning the CCHA will retire its title after being founded in [1971-1972]. It will also feature schools from Alaska and Ohio, as well as Bemidji State, Bowling Green, Ferris State, Lake Superior State, Michigan Tech, Northern Michigan, St. Cloud State, as well as the aforementioned Western Michigan.

The new conference could also add Minnesota State-Moorhead, Alabama-Huntsville, Robert Morris, Niagara, Canisius, and Mercyhurst.

Yet Again, LeBron James Comes Up Short

Yet again, LeBron James suffered another sour ending to the NBA Playoffs!

By Matt Noonan 

Remember when the “Broad Street Bullies” saved the National Hockey League from the Soviet Union in 1976? Well, doesn’t that particular game have some parallels to Sunday’s Game 6 of the NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks?

I’d say, yes!

In case you don’t know, LeBron James and his Heat teammates came up short in this year’s NBA Finals. Yep, despite promising, “not one, not two, not three…” championships, the Heat found themselves in a position they weren’t used to, which is second place.

They didn’t win a championship and now, every NBA fan has more reasons to insult the leagues most hated squad. Although, this is what the basketball die-hard’s wanted, right? They wanted Miami to lose and Dallas to win, correct?

I know this is true because everyone jumped aboard the Mavericks bandwagon and cheered for Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry, Jason Kidd and Tyson Chandler. In fact, some fans admitted that their blood was not red, but instead, blue and white. They also felt connected to the Mavericks because they wanted this group of “over the top” stars to beat Miami and well, that mission was accomplished.

Beating Miami was what everyone wanted. Seriously, did you want to watch James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh dance around the American Airlines Arena chanting, “We’re number one, we’re number one?” I doubt it.

Miami was labeled the “bad-boys” from day one of the ‘10-‘11 season, but now, they probably should receive a new name, “fakers.” They’re fake, non-believable and certainly, not that good. They may think that having a variety of talent on their side will result in championships galore, but really, it won’t. Instead, they need to improve mentally, physically and emotionally.

For starters, they may want to discover why James was star-struck in the Finals. Against the Mavericks, he averaged 17.8 points, 4.0 turnovers, 1.7 steals and 7.0 rebounds, as well as imploded in various fourth quarters. Yet, are those numbers that good? Seriously, besides 17-points, he failed offensively and defensively. So, if they do return to the Finals, James needs to stay focused.

Second, Miami needs more experience. Between James, Wade and Bosh, they need other experienced veterans who know how to win. Also, they need someone who can take the pressure off Wade, especially in the closing minutes. Players like Mike Bibby, Erik Dampier, Eddie House, Juwan Howard and Jamaal Magloire aren’t exactly true “studs.” Yes, all five of them have a boatload of NBA experience, but certainly, not enough. Had they been more vocal or stressed the importance of “team basketball,” they might have won this series, but again, that’s a thought.

Overall, these are just a few quick ideas on the Heat, but allow me to return to my original point, beating Miami and what exactly does that mean?

It’s a sweet feeling, especially as a basketball lover. I couldn’t be happier, but this also proves that James should never be in the same sentence with Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Larry Bird or Magic Johnson. Those guys all won championships, as well a persevered over the years.

Also, Dallas’s win helped the city of Cleveland, as well as the people of Ohio rejoice in song and dance. Hey, I doubt everyone held hands and sang, “kumbaya,” but I am sure the Cavaliers are elated.

All in all, this win is special because it proved the point, you can’t buy championships. It’s going to be a long off-season for the men dressed in black and red, but in the end, I think it’s fair to say that everyone across the country and world will sleep much better knowing that once again, James choked.

Daily Noontime – June 13, 2011

On top of the World: Dallas finally gets even against the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals!

Howdy! Welcome to yet another work week… blah! No… No… No, it’s going to be fun! Let’s kickstart your day with the Daily Noontime, as well as some headlines and news! 

Headlines: 

* In case you don’t know, LeBron James ended up on the losing end in the 2011 NBA Finals and yes, Cleveland is overjoyed. Also, the “King” had a few crude words to say to all of his “haters.”

* Yes, it is indeed Monday, but still, it seems that the Miami Heat were never alive against the Dallas Mavericks in all six games of the Finals.

* The Dallas Mavericks have officially gotten the monkey off their back, as Sunday’s win marked their first NBA Championship in franchise history.

* New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady had nothing, but positive things to say about Tom Martinez, who is a Bay Area coaching guru.

* Game 6 of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals is Monday and yes, the Boston Bruins know that they need to win.

* After beginning their season with six losses, the Boston Red Sox have certainly turned things around quite well.

Games to Watch: 

* Cleveland at New York Yankees (MLB) – 7:05pm eastern

* Arizona at Florida (MLB) – 7:10pm eastern

* Vancouver at Boston (NHL Stanley Cup – Game 6) – 8:00pm eastern

Video of the Day: 

It was a glorious moment Sunday evening for the Dallas Mavericks and their fans! 

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