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.

Vancouver Beats San Jose, Advances to Stanley Cup

By Brian Willwerth 

Before the San Jose Sharks knew what hit them, they were eliminated.

After giving up the lead in the final seconds of regulation, the Sharks gave up a strange goal to Kevin Bieksa in double-overtime in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals. It gave the Vancouver Canucks a series-clinching 3-2 victory at Rogers Arena. The Canucks are in the finals for the first time since 1994.

For awhile, it looked like the Sharks were going to send the series back to San Jose for a Game 6. Just seconds into the third period, Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo gambled when he came out to handle a loose puck, and got burned. Devin Setoguchi picked it up and fired it into an open net to give San Jose the lead. It stayed that way until the final seconds of regulation. With Luongo on the bench for the extra skater, Ryan Kesler deflected Henrik Sedin‘s shot past Antti Niemi to tie the game.

The Sharks had plenty of chances in the extra sessions to keep their season alive. They had 20 shots between the two overtime periods, and 56 for the game. Luongo stopped all but two of them.

Midway through the fifth period of play, Bieksa became the hero when his knuckleball drifted past Niemi for the game-winner. Niemi had no idea where the puck was. Neither did the rest of the Sharks. Neither did the TV announcers. Neither did the audience watching this double-overtime classic on TV. Then replays showed what really happened. When Alex Edler tried to dump the puck in deep, it took a weird bounce off the glass and came right out to Bieksa just inside the blue line. Bieksa didn’t get much on the shot, but it was enough to get it past a dumbfounded group of Sharks.

This will be the Canucks’ third trip to the finals. They have never won the Stanley Cup. They nearly suffered a colossal playoff collapse in the opening round against the Blackhawks. That seems like a distant memory now. The Presidents’ Trophy champions will be the favorite in the final round, whether it’s against Boston or Tampa Bay.

Daily Noontime – May 25, 2011

The Heat are now one win away from the NBA FInals, which is hard to believe!

Happy “Hump Day” everyone and welcome to yet another Daily Noontime! Here is today’s headlines and news, so enjoy and as always, be good!

Headlines:

* The Miami Heat appeared unstoppable against the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday, as they won Game 4, 101-93 in OT.

* Yes, the Minnesota Vikings are in the news and it isn’t because of Brett Favre, but instead, their brand new stadium. Although, could they be relocating to another city? Could happen!

* We officially have a winner from the NHL Western Conference and it is the Vancouver Canucks. They’ll face either the Boston Bruins or Tampa Bay Lightning in the Stanley Cup.

* Was it a good or bad thing that the NFL cancelled the “Rookie Symposium” on Tuesday?

* With a 3-1 series lead against the Chicago Bulls, some wonder if the Miami Heat are destined to win the NBA Finals, which could happen.

* Finally, the Boston Red Sox earned an important win against the Cleveland Indians at Jacobs Field on Tuesday.

Games to Watch: 

* Boston at Cleveland (MLB) – 12:05pm eastern

* Atlanta at Pittsburgh (MLB) – 12:35pm eastern 

* Cincinnati at Philadelphia (MLB) – 7:05pm eastern

* Boston at Tampa Bay (NHL Playoffs) – 8:00pm eastern

* Oklahoma City at Dallas (NBA Playoffs) – 9:00pm eastern

Video of the Day: 

The NHL Playoffs are slowly winding down and with just three teams remaining, Noontime Sports needs to get our readers, PUMPED UP! 


Daily Noontime – May 23, 2011

Top of the morning to everyone and welcome to a brand new week of the Daily Noontime! Here is today’s headlines and news, so enjoy! 

Headlines: 

* Game 3 between the Bulls and Heat was yet another exciting one, but in the end, Miami beat Chicago. Also, Chris Bosh exploded for 30-points.

* The Vancouver Canucks are indeed one game away from the Stanley Cup Finals, but Sunday’s game also featured a highlight reel flip on the ice from Keith Ballard.

* With no NFL rules or statements in place, players are constantly getting in trouble due to the current lockout, which certainly troubles Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis.

* According to the most recent report on 60 Minutes, Lance Armstrong apparently encouraged doping toward his teammates and closest friends.

* Steve Nash has helped support his Phoenix Sun’s general manager Rick Welts through a human rights video that is airing in New York these days.

*It was an exciting evening at Fenway Park on Sunday, as Tim Wakefield earned his first official win of the 2011 season.

Games to Watch: 

* Boston at Cleveland (MLB) – 7:00pm eastern

* Tampa Bay at Boston (NHL Playoffs) – 8:00pm eastern

* Seattle at Minnesota (MLB) – 8:10pm eastern

* Dallas at Oklahoma City (NBA Playoffs) – 9:00pm eastern

Video of the Day: 

Some Maryland fans were a tad bit excited after their Men’s Lacrosse team beat Syracuse, 6-5 in OT! 


Daily Noontime – May 16, 2011

Happy Monday to everyone and welcome to yet another week here in America! To kick off the day, here is today’s headlines and news, so enjoy!

Headlines: 

* Well, the Miami Heat now find themselves in a position they’ve never been in this postseason, which is being down 1-0. The Chicago Bulls won Game 1 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday.

* The NFL owners and players are attempting to resume mediation, but still, the league remains locked out.

* Game 1 of the NHL Western Conference Finals was exciting, as the Vancouver Canucks rallied to beat San Jose, 3-2.

* Sunday was a career day for Jose Bautista who hit three home runs against the Minnesota Twins.

*It’s Monday, but don’t worry, the Jorge Posada dramatics will continue this week and affect the New York Yankees going forward.

* It was an exciting weekend for Boston, as the Red Sox tallied 20 runs and swept the Yankees, as well as improved to [20-20].

Games to Watch: 

* New York Yankees at Tampa Bay (MLB) – 6:40pm eastern

* Philadelphia at St. Louis (MLB) – 7:00pm eastern

* Baltimore at Boston (MLB) – 7:10pm eastern

* San Francisco Giants at Colorado (MLB) – 8:40pm eastern

Video of the Day: 

Yep, this is pretty amazing!