Saturday, April 22, 2006

The Miracle
of The Q?

You have to wonder, if the Cavs win this playoff series against Washington, what are we going to name it?

Thirty years ago today the Cavs were playing host at Richfield Coliseum to Game 5 of the first playoff series in team history. That series was also against Washington, at that time known as the Bullets. The Cavs won that day, 92-91, their second one-point win of the series. A week later the Cavs won by two on a Dick Snyder bank shot with four seconds left to take the series in seven games. They called it a miracle.

Yes, 30 years ago today the Cavs were right in the middle of the Miracle of Richfield run against this very same Washington team. The Cavs actually finished that year with a better record than Washington -- 49 wins to 48 -- and had the third-best record in all of the NBA, behind only Golden State and Boston. But this is Cleveland, so for the Cavs to beat a team with a worse record in the playoff was most definitely a miracle.

Perhaps now the miracle will be for the Cavs to overcome the Sports Illustrated jinx, as LeBron James is featured on the current cover and is the centerpiece story for the magazine's NBA preview. The Wizards are the most fitting matchup for the Cavs, since among possible playoff opponenets, only the Pistons have given the Cavs as much trouble as the Wizards. The Cavs are 1-3 against both the Wizards and Pistons, and 14-6 combined against every other Eastern Conference playoff team.

And the Cavs probable opponent if they repeat the Miracle of Richfield and beat Washington? The Pistons.

The best thing about the Miracle of Richfield is that the Cavs ONLY WON THE FREAKING FIRST ROUND! After beating Washington, Boston took out the Cavs in six games in the Eastern Conference finals. Many say that if Jim Chones had not broke his foot, the Cavs would have won, which is almost like saying if the Cavs played in any other city than Cleveland, they would have won.

So just keep in mind as the LeBron James playoff era begins that the last time the Cavs played Washington in a playoff series in which the Cavs had the better record, it was a miracle when the Cleveland team won. And that was BEFORE John Elway, Michael Jordan, or Edgar Renteria. Even before Red Right 88. Our sports egos hadn't even been crushed by the mid-70s, just beaten down a bit from a decade of mediocrity from our teams. Still, when we actually had a good team -- a BETTER team based on records -- it required a miracle for the team to win anything.


vim said...

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Welcome to LePlayoffs
P: 32 R: 11 A: 11
we're off to crush the wizards!

scott bakalar said...

Nice take on the "miracle". You're absolutely right. Even though Cleveland is a better team - just being a Cleveland team gives them a disadvantage.

As Joe Tait used to say, "BINGO!"

Jon said...

Yes, growing up I always assumed the 'Miracle of Richfield' had been some amazing playoff run by an otherwise mediocre team. Then I found out they actually won one series against a likely inferior opponent.

I guess the true 'miracle' is that their Eastern Conference Finals matchup didn't end with someone sinking a devastating 20-footer at the buzzer to win the series.