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The Cavs' Bad Case of Senioritis


(Photo: CollegeAdmissionsBible.com)
Think of what your life was like two weeks before you graduated from high school.

It was perhaps the most irresponsible, least productive time of your entire life. Senioritis is coursing through your veins like a Pixie Stick/Red Bull cocktail. You shower twice a week, you attend maybe 60% of your classes, and your peak brain activity each day occurs when you hit the front of the line at Chipotle. Even a kindergartner struggling with two-syllable words looks like he’s working in the salt mines compared to a dude two weeks away from high school graduation.

This armpit of your educational timeline is where the Cavs are right now.

But don’t mistake “high school graduation” in this analogy for a championship. In essence, it represents the playoffs, which, admittedly, is in no way is an appropriate comparison. Graduating from high school requires effort and dedication. Making the NBA playoffs generally does not.

The Cavs, like every other team that’s already clinched a playoff spot, is now simply taking a knee for these final few intensely meaningless games and praying to the peach-basket gods that nobody gets hurt along the way. Winning the game comes in at about priority No. 4.

And who can blame them? Whether the Cavs win out or lose out, they’ll be the two seed, and have no control over whom they play.

The only teams even bothering to put on jockstraps these past few weeks are the sub-.500 limp noodles (in the Eastern Conference, anyway) fighting for that last playoff spot, or - dare to dream - the six or seven spot.

Consequently, you’ll see shit like a Boston Celtics team that lost by 31 points at the Q five weeks ago coming back to town on Friday night and beating a Cavs squad that looked like it would rather be at a poetry slam in University Heights.

NBA action - it’s fan-tastic.

There’s an element of this conflict in all pro sports, but perhaps none as stark - or as drawn out - as in the NBA. The moment a team secures the highest spot it possibly can in the playoffs, fans wish that the players could be frozen in carbonite and then defrosted for Game One of the first series - ensuring no injuries, no peaking too early, and no rust.

But carbonite isn’t an option, and there are still games to play that nobody wants to either watch or participate in. So you wind up with a hellscape of lifeless, pointless basketball that gives us an idea of what it was like to live in the Soviet Union.

And the worst part is that there’s nothing you can do. Like most congressional elections, there are literally no good options. You can’t (or at least shouldn’t) continue to play your stars 40 minutes a night and go balls to the wall because there’s absolutely no reward to warrant the risk of them getting hurt or...I don’t know...sweaty. Nor can you just sit your starters for a week, lest they forget how to play the game.

Here stand the Cavs, in the warped and perverted no-man’s land of the NBA season.

With nothing else to talk about except that pulse-pounding race to determine who’s the eighth-best team in the conference, fans and commentators likely do a little too much hand-wringing over what the playoff qualifiers are or aren’t doing. 

If LeBron James gets a hangnail in the 13 minutes he plays in the third-to-last game and everyone shrilly wails that he never should have been out there. Then he misses a 20-foot fadeaway in the first quarter of the first playoff game and everyone sighs and says he lost his edge because he hasn’t played hard for such a long time.

It’s a complete outcome-based judgment. David Blatt could put Matthew Dellavedova on the floor by himself for the remainder of the season and send everybody else to pole-dancing lessons in Appalachia, and if the Cavs wind up making it to the NBA Finals, Blatt’s a genius. Conversely, he could carefully balance resting players while keeping them sharp as much as humanly possible - and if the Cavs shit the bed in the second round, he’s Yakov Smirnoff.

There are no good answers, other than simply hitting the snooze alarm until the playoffs begin. I’d advise calm and maturity over these last few days of the regular season, but most people in this town still follow the Browns, so those aren’t options. 

Instead, do what parents of high school seniors have been doing for years: try your best to ignore the Cavs this week and tune back in after they throw their caps in the air. 

Because senioritis is awesome to have and painful to watch. 
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