Mike Hall, and Leftovers
If you didn't know, the Cavs blow flames out of their scoreboard. Four huge flames, coming out of four huge swords. "The Flaming Swords," they're called. The heat is felt, quite easily, from the stands. After Sunday's game, when everyone was gone, the scoreboard was lowered close to the ground, and the flames blasted about 20 times. I was sitting courtside, writing my story; I was the only media member around. The flames were terrifying. Plus there was confetti all over the place from the Game 1 celebration (confetti? for Game 1?) and I was worried the place would become an inferno.
Anyhow, here's Mike Hall, who was inactive yesterday, on his first playoff experience:
"That was so crazy," he said. "I came out and they did the lineups with the fire and the flames and people waving towels. I was talking to Caron, I was like, 'Man I want to play right now. You can put me in in my suit, I'll dunk on anybody on the court.' I was literally bouncing on the bench. That was amazing, man."
As for the flames, "They always laugh at me, all the players," Hall said, "because they're expecting it, but that's new to me, to shoot out, kind of feel the flames. It just feels hot. You know it's like 30 feet away, but you still feel it."
As for the game, "Me and Caron were jumping up and down," he said. "Gil was yelling, he just can't up and down....I work out before the game, I'm loose. Don't want to pull a hammy out there cheering."
* Easily the best thing I read all day came via Basketbawful, which reported on Game 1 of Miami-Chicago. The clear highlight:
The Hinden-Bull Disaster: The Bulls have a blimp -- called the "Bull-imp" -- that soars majestically over the crowd during games, sometimes dropping little t-shirt patties onto the frenzied attendees. During Game 1, the blimp lost power and plummeted into the waiting arms of the fans, who grabbed onto and started hitting it.
There's much more, including a photo. Highly recommended.
* Andray Blatche and Donell Taylor defeated Hall and Cal Booth in two games of two-on-two at today's practice. After the second win, Blatche strode off the court, arms raised. "It's still our belt," he said. "We're still the champs."
"I mean, we play whoever wants to step up to get beat down," Blatche told me.
"Punks step up to get beat down," Taylor agreed.
"Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, I don't want to talk any mess, but I carried my weight," Hall said, when I told him of this celebration. "They beat us twice today and maybe once before, so I guess they're the champs in their minds."
* I got a playoff towel yesterday. Then Ivan Carter, who is sick, used it to wipe his nose throughout the game. The saddest use for a playoff towel I've ever seen.
* Mike Wise spent parts of the game reading copies of his own columns, which were included in the media packets. He also stood and waved his arms frantically in an attempt to get a free pizza during the free pizza giveaway. To no avail.
* When the Wizards drew within two early in the second half, a fan behind us yelled "C'mon, this is Washington," and then started booing. That's what this team has been reduced to.
* Since this was in my paper story but not my blog story, there are four Cavs jerseys, 35x25 and weighing 102 pounds each, hanging from the Terminal Tower downtown. That's why I'm being made to go back to Cleveland tomorrow; to capture "the buzz," because there is none here. That's the difference between living in the Rust Belt and living in the capital. And I say that as a Western New York native whose high school cafeteria used to be happily decorated with "Squish the Fish" decals during Dolphins Week.
* There were little "High Five" booths around the arena, with life-sized hand-prints for various Cavs, plus fun facts. Here are Anderson Varejao's fun facts.
Favorite sport other than basketball: Soccer
Favorite Cleveland Restaurant: Brasa
Favorite Vacation Spot: Barcelona
Favorite Invention: Cell Phone
Favorite Cologne: Chanel Egoiste
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