The Hooley, Tuesday, April 18

posted by Bruce Hooley -

I seldom disagree with LeBron James on basketball matters, but it feels like he’s saying what he wants to be true and not what is true when it comes to how the Cavaliers are playing.

Sure, Cleveland has a 2-0 lead on Indiana in their first-round NBA Playoff series, but I won’t believe LeBron is right about the Cavs hitting their stride until I at least see them be dominant against an overmatched opponent on the road.

Until then, I’ll be more bothered by the double-digit, fourth-quarter leads the Cavs keep trying to waste than I will be impressed by the fact they’re barely holding on while playing abysmal fourth-quarter offense and shooting free throws like they never practice.

The Cavs have had double-figure leads entering the final period in both games. Game One came down to a C.J. Miles miss from 15 feet at the buzzer and Game Two, while more comfortable, still saw Indiana get within four with 19 seconds left.

Warning signs?

Not to LeBron.

“We’re right there,” James said. “…We’ll figure it out. I’d much rather have an 18-point lead than not have a lead at all. We’re right there on turning on the switch on what we really can become.”

It’s only because James has a knack for making happen what seems impossible – remember the first comeback from a 3-1 deficit in NBA Finals history -- that keeps me from calling for him to wear a white coat with sleeves that tie in the back.

The Cavs victory over Indiana makes them 26-4 in playoff games against Eastern Conference opponents since James returned to Cleveland three years ago.

Paul George isn’t a big enough star to call out his teammates like he is in this series against the Cavs. You don’t need X-ray vision to read between the lines here. George has one year left on his contract in Indianapolis. He’s going to force his way out this summer and demand a trade to the Lakers, or play out his deal with the Pacers and sign with L.A. next summer.

I don’t know why the Lakers would give up a thing to get him now. Just wait and keep whatever assets it would take to trade for him.

While the Cavs talk about flipping the switch and getting back to championship level, the Blue Jackets don’t have any time to wait entering Game 4 of their Stanley Cup playoff series against Pittsburgh.

A loss on Tuesday night means the end of the best season in franchise history via a post-season sweep.

That would be a tough fate to contemplate over the summer months, when team management will have to contemplate whether to stand pat and wait on its young talent to develop into transformative forces or shake up the roster to try making up the talent deficit that obviously exists between the Blue Jackets and the Penguins.

This just in, Adam Jones remains a knucklehead and the Bengals are beyond stupid to continue to put up with his nonsense.

Jones doesn’t get to set the agenda for what questions are asked. He can determine whether he wants to answer, but being a pro athlete doesn’t entitle you to order anyone around like they’re your pet dog.

We have Tribe baseball tonight on The Zone and we'll have the Cavs vs. Indiana Game 3 on Wednesday night.

Make sure you get in early and play golf with us on May 23 and raise money for a cause near and dear to all of us.

Did you know you can win $1,000 13 times a day on The Zone?


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