And One to Grow On

Reader Paul Porterfield passed along this column by Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Bill Livingston after the Cavaliers smashed the Washington Wizards 98-86 last night. Livingtson pulls no punches in the article. He's basically calling the Wizards the Cavaliers' whipping boys. He also picks on everyone from Elvin Hayes to DeShawn Stevenson. The Cavaliers have owned the Wizards the past three postseasons, but I'm interested in how you all feel about this one, especially since the Wizards won't be able to make a rebuttal this season:

But Washington always loses to Cleveland in the playoffs. In the Miracle of Richfield year, the Cavs won one playoff series, against their favorite bop bags. You rock, Dick Snyder!
The playoff losses in the last three years, particularly the six-game thriller in 2006, has led to a Crying Game attitude in the District of Columbia. They are so obsessive about LeBron James' buzzer-beater in Game 5, you would think Earnest Byner just fumbled.
Once, when the Wizards won a playoff game here, Caron Butler walked off, mimicking James' pre-game powder toss, then looking up in puzzlement, as if to say, "Where did it go?" Their resentment is understandable. They have never had a star like him.
They had Michael Jordan when he was old.

By Michael Lee |  April 9, 2009; 2:25 PM ET
Previous: Wizards Running on Empty | Next: Who's Going to Coach?


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Boo Cleveland and their reporters

Posted by: RobotDC | April 9, 2009 2:46 PM

wow that made me appreciate the Post's writers even more :-) Talk to me when you win a championship...

Posted by: restonhoops | April 9, 2009 2:55 PM

Here's what wikipedia says on Cleveland sports:

"There is an alleged curse on the city of Cleveland, Ohio that prevents them from winning a major sports championship. To this date, it has been arguably the biggest sports championship drought in any U.S. city. The last Cleveland title came in 1964 when the Browns won the NFL Championship. The Cleveland Indians last won the World Series in 1948 and the Cleveland Cavaliers have never won the NBA Finals, losing in their first appearance in 2007 to the San Antonio Spurs. Some of their most infamous failures have been dubbed with a title, often with a single word preceded by an ominous "The." Amongst locals and even sports fans in general, The Catch, Red Right 88, The Drive, The Fumble, and The Shot all evoke images of Cleveland sports futility."

Overall - Cleveland bites. Would love to see Lebron stay in Cleveland for his career and never win a title. I'd take a week off of work to tapdance!

Posted by: t-train | April 9, 2009 3:03 PM

There is absolutely journalistic worth to that column. He takes pot shots at the Cavs like he's some 12-year-old Cleveland nut job who has nothing better to do than criticize just for the sake of criticizing. I have no problem with a guy writing about how the Cavs have dominated the Wizards in the playoffs the last three years, but denigrating the franchise and its historic players is beyond the pale, as far as I'm concerned. This guy really should be ashamed with himself, not for expressing his opinion, but for doing it probably the most sophomoric way possible.

Posted by: CDon | April 9, 2009 3:04 PM

Sorry, there is absolutely NO journalistic worth to that column. That's what I meant to say.

Posted by: CDon | April 9, 2009 3:05 PM

this is what happens to you when you fawn over lebron and eat up his childish look at me celebrating on the sideline antics, really dude, lebron is undeniably great as a player, the mvp hands down in my opinion, even though dwade is having a ridiculous season and all kobe is doing is leading the lakers to winning the west again, but him trying to turn everything into a spectacle about him and everyone promoting the game eating it up is gut wrenching, say what you will about gilbert's personality but he'd never try to get everyone to look at him by jumping and celebrating so wildly in the midst of a blowout

Posted by: bford1kb | April 9, 2009 3:06 PM

You can't say much except that he's right.
When we knock them out of the playoffs then we can talk.
Whining is for losers.
We whine.
We won 18 games.
They and many other teams own us.
If we don't like it then do something about it.
Last night was a bad team playing awful against a very good team that we embarrassed a few nights ago.
The Wizzies seem to be looking forward to the off season.
I Don't blame them.

Posted by: VBFan | April 9, 2009 3:09 PM

who else in the league would do this?

Posted by: bford1kb | April 9, 2009 3:10 PM

I wonder what he wrote the morning after the Lakers beat the Cavs at home.

Posted by: pjkiger1 | April 9, 2009 3:16 PM

Washington isn't competitive with Cleveland when Gilbert is out, just like Cleveland would not be competitive against a full-strength Wizards team without King Bron-Bron. When Gilbert was healthy, the Cavs only were able to squeak out a series victory when they had the refs in their pocket. The Cavs should not delight in their good fortune at avoiding injury and having David Stern and the Suits fixing the games so that King Bron-Bron can dazzle the Nielson numbers.

Posted by: Dellis2 | April 9, 2009 3:17 PM

The Cavs fans and writers spend a lot of time and energy talking about how little they think about the Wizards, no?

For better or worse, there's genuine dislike between the players and fanbases of these teams. It certainly makes for a tasty rivalry.

Just remember, the Pistons dominated MJ's Bulls for years before the Bulls flipped the script on them. No reason that the Wiz cannot do the same if they can just get everyone healthy.

Posted by: TheFunBunch | April 9, 2009 3:19 PM

It maybe 30 years since this franchise's last title, but they won it with a classy group of guys. Wes Unseld, Elvin Hayes and Bobby Dandridge were all class acts as pros.

How many Cleveland Cavaliers were part of the league's 50 greatest players? Cleveland has never had anyone that played with the heart and talent of Gus Johnson. Earl "The Pearl" Won his titles in NY but played his finest seasons in Baltimore.

Micheal, I'd save that article and reprint it everytime the Cleveland Bush League team comes to town. More fuel for the fire...

Posted by: flohrtv | April 9, 2009 3:20 PM

Wow, do they, not, have, editors, in Cleveland? There are, a few, too, many commas, in the third paragraph.

Posted by: kmcass | April 9, 2009 3:23 PM

Absolutely no problem with this article. Poor Cleveland. Beating on a bully as punishment only makes the problem worse - he needs therapy for the abuse he's already getting at home.

Posted by: GshawnJohnson | April 9, 2009 3:26 PM

Thats pretty funny coming from a second rate newspaper, a 3rd rate columnist, and a 4th rate town known around the country as the "Mistake By The Lake". I wonder if they will still be laughing when Lebron becomes a Knick.

Posted by: lavar609 | April 9, 2009 3:28 PM

lavar699:" Thats pretty funny coming from a second rate newspaper, a 3rd rate columnist, and a 4th rate town known around the country as the "Mistake By The Lake"."

Sure, but the Potomac never caught fire, so we're way behind there.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 9, 2009 4:07 PM

You know why he wrote that? Because the one team that does not kiss Lebron's butt and buy into his hype is Washington.

I was thinking about that very thing last night. Easy to write that when Washington is down isn't it Livingston?

What the heck has Cleveland won? I don't recall them ever winning a Championship. At least Washington has ONE which is more then the Cavs. Oh, and the last time I checked Earnest Byner has a ring as well.

I'm gonna laugh SO hard when James leaves Cleveland for NY in 2010.


- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | April 9, 2009 4:09 PM

They had better enjoy it now because LaBron-Bron is history as of 2010 and they haven't won anything since Jim Brown was in uniform HELLO-000000 won anything yet? Not an NBA title,Super Bowl,World Series,Stanley Cup er oh yeah they don't have a pro hockey team and remember Richard Pryor's hilarious routine about meeting Dracula, and to what city was Dracula exorcised to? CLELAND(as Richard said)LMAO.

Posted by: dargregmag | April 9, 2009 4:12 PM

This is what happens when you lose.
I hope everyone in that locker room is reading that article. They should get angry, everyone should be angry. This season has been unacceptable. Injuries or not this is professional sports, everyone is being paid to step up when called on. I hope the entire team takes this to heart and uses it as motivation to do better.

Posted by: BillEmm | April 9, 2009 4:18 PM

I usually don't complain about ish talking, but that repoter is a deuchebag, plain and simple.

I agree with an earlier post. If you want to rub the 'zards nose in the dirt and kick 'em when they're down, fine. It does make for a better rival.

But the way he came off? A self-absorbing 14 year old turd is just inexcusable for a "journalist".

Read the comments, some of the Cav fans said the old wind bag should retire. If I'm him or anyone that pulls for the Cavs, I'd be more concerned with LeBron leaving town in '10 than the Wizards.

Cleveland will not win a title - they're too focused on "making a statement" to the lowly Wizards. I didn't recall the Celtics being hard pressed not to get swept by Washington last year. Why? 'Cause they had bigger fish to fry, and the Wizards in the grand scheme... wasn't in the scheme at all.

Cleveland, what a shi**y town and fansbase.

Posted by: RedDMV | April 9, 2009 4:19 PM

And this is what happens when you don't have any titles to back yourself up with. You glorify your one star in all your sports teams until he leaves you in the dust a year from now. Then you go back and wallow in your misery.

Posted by: psps23 | April 9, 2009 4:20 PM

I'm glad he said it because it will go on the chalk board for next year.

I'll also enjoy watching the Cavs choke in the playoffs like they do every year. They have Labron. That's it. They can't win without him and he's probably out of there himself pretty soon .. So he CAN finally win a championship.

Posted by: boblas | April 9, 2009 4:34 PM

Livingston and Tom Knott must have gone to the same school of random writing.

Posted by: gidge | April 9, 2009 4:39 PM

Who is Dick Snyder??

And true, the Wiz have to win

But Lebron is at home watching the finals like Caron so far

And once he leaves for the Knicks or the Brooklyn Nets, the Cavs will go right back behind the Ohio State, the loser Indians, the putrid Browns and Cinncinati State Penitentiary (The Bengals).

So gloat and be merry for tomorrow you...

Posted by: kahlua87 | April 9, 2009 4:40 PM

That is a worthless article and completely ignores history. Granted Cleveland has won the last three playoff series but this clown pretends like the series were a walk in the park. The only easy series was when both Caron and Arenas were out. Years 1 and 3 provided intense 6 games series with several games that went down to the final shot or final minutes. Kudos to the Cavs for winning but pretending like the Wizards are mere "whipping boys" is nonsense.

Posted by: Chad32 | April 9, 2009 4:51 PM

You would also think that Cleveland would have some understanding of where the Wizards currently are - how quickly they forget that for several years they had the better overall team only to lose repeatedly and in fantastic fashion to Jordan and the Bulls. The major difference being Cleveland lost while having home court advantage and being healthy. The Wizards have lost in the playoffs to Cleveland but the Wizards have been the lower seed and without home court advantage every time. Congrats Cleveland on doing what you were supposed to do.

Posted by: Chad32 | April 9, 2009 4:57 PM

Yeah the Wiz suck this season mainly due to injuries. Remove Lebron and Ilgauskas for an entire season and see how great a team you have. Lebron is a special athlete but chances are he will be somewhere other than Cleveland when his contract expires.

Posted by: tywill28 | April 9, 2009 4:58 PM

What kills about this subject is everyone always says, the Cavs are so much better then the Wiz. How so? yes three playoff exits in a row but only one with our franchise player. What team in the nba wins playoff series withouth their franchise player. What would be the Cavs, Lakers, Spurs, Suns, Orlando Or any other team in the NBA's record if they were in the same situation with mvp on the bench in a suite as long a Gil has been?

Posted by: Keith28dagger | April 9, 2009 5:06 PM

That's not the first piece of bad journalism I've sat through over at the PD. That read like a blog offering. I mean the fact that I grew up in DC on Kornheiser and Wilbon not withstanding, that was just bad. It would have been very easy to write that same article and take shots at the Wiz's inability to beat Cleveland in the playoffs the last three seasons... and done it well. Unfortunately Livingston's attempt at a column delivery with that "submission" was collegiate at best. As in an incoming freshman from a small town, trying to impress the editors at his new college paper with his sensationalism. And this isn't coming from a mere Wiz fan. This is coming from a fan of good writing. My question is whose more to blame, Livingston or the person who approved the piece?

Posted by: LIKWID | April 9, 2009 5:10 PM

What I have a problem with is the whole Lebron - powder thing - since he stole it from KG.

Posted by: Lisa_R | April 9, 2009 5:10 PM

MJ did it first.

Posted by: EmmPee | April 9, 2009 5:18 PM

He who laughs last laughs best...

The worm turns...

The first one now will later be last...

yadda yadda

Posted by: khrabb | April 9, 2009 5:32 PM


Posted by: insanity999 | April 9, 2009 6:15 PM


Posted by: sargeantmofo | April 9, 2009 7:07 PM

just think if the wizards made the playoffs this year they would not have to face them in the first round and maybe they could make it to the second round. instead they will be watching Clevland

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | April 9, 2009 8:54 PM

This is pure nonsense.

FACT: The Wizards have owned the Cavs in the regular season over the past 5 years. OWNED them. Yeah, it's only a 10-7 advantage the Wiz hold over them in that time, but considering the Cavs have been the higher seed each of those 5 seasons, you'd think it would be the other way around.

FACT: Home teams win the overwhelmingly vast majority of playoff series in the NBA and the Wizards have yet to fact these Cavs in the playoffs with homecourt advantage.

FACT: The Wizards were without Arenas and Butler in the 2007 playoff series. That year should not ever be brought up in conversation when discussing the rivalry.

Give the Wiz homecourt advantage and a healthy Big Three and we'll see who wins a 7 game series.

Posted by: Barno1 | April 9, 2009 9:01 PM

Wow! what's the point of a puff piece after a meaningless regular season win against an injury-decimated team? OK I can understand a fan-boy columnist trying to slide that past an editor but for it to actually make the paper is just shameful.

Posted by: tundey | April 9, 2009 9:07 PM

It's funny to see people say that the Cavs-Wiz isn't a rivalry, and then to see Cavs press talk it up. You get the impression that they pray for this to be a rivalry, because there's no other Cavs storyline to talk about right now. Yeah, they have the best record in the East, but Cavs fans don't want to think about what's in store come Playoff time.

I heard a Cavs commentator say that their team is built for the Playoffs, and I had to laugh. Mark my words: Wally Sczerbiak will never wear a championship ring. The Cavs will have to content themselves with beating up an 18-win team.

Posted by: satchmore | April 9, 2009 9:20 PM

Until Les BouleS can do a 180, there's nothing they can say but take it.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | April 9, 2009 9:48 PM

I've always been of the opinion that if you don't like hearing someone trash talk, whip them behinds and they'll shut up.

Next season, a new coach, hopefully, will be here and the Zards will become a competitive team in the East.

I enjoy the rivalry with the Cavs and I also acknowledge LBJ as the best player in basketball today. He has to be because the Cavs without him are no better that the Bulls.

So please don't call him overrated and cheapen the pleasure of beating his team next year.

Posted by: bozomoeman | April 10, 2009 12:27 AM

"FACT: Home teams win the overwhelmingly vast majority of playoff series in the NBA and the Wizards have yet to fact these Cavs in the playoffs with homecourt advantage."

"Give the Wiz homecourt advantage and a healthy Big Three and we'll see who wins a 7 game series."

FACT: The reason the Wiz haven't had homecourt advantage against the Cavs in the playoffs is because the Cavs had the better record every year they played. You can't "give" a team homecourt, it has to be earned. And the simple fact is that Wizards weren't good enough to do it.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 10, 2009 1:21 AM

"yes three playoff exits in a row but only one with our franchise player."

Or, in other words, even when the Wizards were at full strength, the Cavs still beat them, just not as badly.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 10, 2009 1:24 AM

WASHINGTON isn't competative with CLEVELAND when ARENAS is IN. AGENT ZERO sells tickets and is for show at this point. That will continue to be the case unless GIL finally grows up and distributes more while scoring less as he did when they beat CLEVELAND in D.C.

BRENDON HAYWOOD is the key to WASHINGTON's demise this season. Notice how ILGAUSKIS disappeared when BRENDON reappeared? And VAREJAO and SMITH couldn't climb all over JAMISON? Someone finally had AJ's back, literally.

This is a CENTER, GUARD league. Any team having superior strength at both is a big winner. MO WILLIAMS comes to mind as a reason for the CAVALIERS ascent toward the top of the NBA not JOE SMITH.

The reed they lean on at center is Z. I don't think he's going to carry them all the way to the promised land. It had better be now if he does because his skills are beginning to erode. But he's been the difference maker between the WIZARDS and CAVALIERS for the past four years.

Its HAYWOOD's time to become the better center. IF GILBERT becomes the assist generating, play-making guard he can be, the WIZARDS ascent will be head-spinning.

We have the pieces to win an NBA championship. The question is do the pieces have the will and the way to win?

Posted by: glawrence007 | April 10, 2009 7:22 AM


That's why I was beating the drum for THABEET in this draft. There must be a HAYWOOD replacement in the works in this organization.

I don't think McGEE will be that individual. And not because of a lack of talent. JaVALE has boatloads. But JaVALE is better slashing toward the basket on offense. Thats says PF to me.

At 7'3" and 265, THABEET will be a 300 pound Z at worst in five years, a dominant center at best. Of course, there are those who say he will never amount to anything in the NBA. I'm not buying it. Unfortunately, HASHEEM does not appear ready for the NBA this year, and I do believe he stays at CONNECTICUT.

But ERNIE G. found a way to get JAVARIS CRITTENTON on board and still pick NICK YOUNG so maybe if we go to the finals next year, the GM will finagle a way to get HT on the roster in the future.

Posted by: glawrence007 | April 10, 2009 7:42 AM

I was listening to the John Thompson show yesterday and they were discussing our coaching situation.

In a nutshell, Thompson and Mitchell said that the Wizards chance of getting a first rate coach is not good because of Gilbert Arenas, his contract and his control over the organization. His coming back from injury and Jordan did not know and all the unpredictable things surrounding Gilbert.

I particularly like the JT Show and think they are entertaining and know what they are discussing.

On this point however, I disagree.

I disagree because in this case they are overlooking the obvious. First rate coaches and those that become first rate do not tolerate foolishness.

Eddie Jordan despite what some might think and certainly not Tappscott are not First Rate coaches.

Eddie Jordan at best was a good coach, but he never reached that brotherhood of First Rate.

First Rate coaches demand respect, professioalism, discipline, and know what is going on with there Team on and off the court.

A first rate coach would demand that Gilbert or any star player carry his proper role for the success of the organization. In fact, in most all cases of the star player succeeding, his role and responsibilites are greater than everyone elses.

First Rate coaches do not compromise being successful for foolishness or for star players whom are foolish and immature.

Trust me, when I say this, GILBERT ARENAS is not foolish or immature and he will be the first in line to SALUTE with the selection of a First Rate Coach.

My vote is for MARK JACKSON as the next Wizards coach, whom I know will be no less than FIRST RATE.


Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | April 10, 2009 8:52 AM

Bill Livinston better be worrying about Superman. Howard smacked his precious LBJ down the other game.

If they think Boston is there challenge in the East they got a surprise coming.

I ain't seen no Kryptonite in LBJ's armor and if they get to play the Majic before they see Boston...they won't see Boston.

Ya' Heard' Me'!!!


Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | April 10, 2009 9:11 AM

We have never have a star like LeBron. Or Manny Ramirez. Or Grady Sizemore. Heck, until four years ago we didn't even have a baseball team!

Yet somehow we've still won four major sports titles in the last forty years. How many has Cleveland won?

But hey, at least they live in a vibrant and thriving metropolis that's definitely not the butt of lots of jokes.

Posted by: Fozzie1 | April 10, 2009 11:34 AM

Until Les BouleS can do a 180, there's nothing they can say but take it.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | April 9, 2009 9:48 PM

So true.

Posted by: 33dgriffin | April 10, 2009 2:23 PM

Ernest Byner fumbled in CLEVELAND. He won the SUPER BOWL in Washington.

That and Washington already has an athlete more exciting than LeBron, Alex Ovechkin.

This guy is a moron and a terrible writer, which I guess is why he is writing for a poo-poo paper in Cleveland instead of a REAL paper like the Washington Post.

Posted by: goskins1982 | April 10, 2009 2:42 PM

Well since nobody else said it I will. I am from the DC area and live here now. i have lived all across the country in my adult life, but have always subscribed to the Post and in a previous life the Star. I never thought I would say that the sports editor of a another big city paper was more of a moron than the one at the Post, but I am saying it now. I think the editors at th Post, expecially now are brain dead the way they make enemies of some of the local pro and college sports teams, but this guy in cleveland really should be fired for allowing a rag story like this to get to press. On the other hand, I guess maybe they are joining in the the pandering to Lebron James with everyone else. It will be interesting what happens next year. I really do wee Washingtone as a 50-55 win team next year, making them 4th or 5th in the conference and probably getting a chance to play Cleveland in the playoffs. Lebron will either be hurt or embroiled in a controversey about his future with the team, and I believe the Wizards will exorcise their demons and win the series.

Generally a teams first run out of the first round does not ewsult in a championship so we may have to wait another year for that, but if Butler and Haywood work out on the off season like they say they will, and Arenas understands what he is capable of, which I believe he will, and becomes a more pure point guard, which I believe he will, this team could go far. Gilbert is one of about 5 guys in the league still capable of putting up 60 points in a game if he wanted to, but I believe he will pick his spots next year and his goal will be to be a 20 point, 10 assist, 5 rebound, 2 steal all-star with maybe a trip to the finals as a reward.

Posted by: dbrine1261 | April 10, 2009 5:13 PM

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