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					Title:
The Cleveland Cavaliers

Word Count:
1211

Summary:
The Cavaliers first began play in the NBA in 1970 as an expansion team.
Under the direction of coach Bill Fitch, they compiled a league-worst 15-
67 record. However, the team began to build around the 1971 draft pick,
Austin Carr.

In the 1975-76 season, with Carr, Bingo Smith, Jim Chones, Dick Snyder,
and newly acquired Nate Thurmond, Fitch led the Cavs, as the team is
commonly nicknamed, to a 49-33 record, which was the best record in the
Central Division. He received the ...


Keywords:
nba, basketball, cleveland cavaliers


Article Body:
The Cavaliers first began play in the NBA in 1970 as an expansion team.
Under the direction of coach Bill Fitch, they compiled a league-worst 15-
67 record. However, the team began to build around the 1971 draft pick,
Austin Carr.

In the 1975-76 season, with Carr, Bingo Smith, Jim Chones, Dick Snyder,
and newly acquired Nate Thurmond, Fitch led the Cavs, as the team is
commonly nicknamed, to a 49-33 record, which was the best record in the
Central Division. He received the league's Coach of the Year award as the
Cavs made their first-ever playoff appearance.

The Cavs won the series against the Washington Bullets, 4-3. Because of
the many heroics and last-second shots, the series became known locally
as the "Miracle of Richfield." However, hampered by injuries,
particularly to Jim Chones, the Cavs proceeded to lose to the Boston
Celtics in Eastern Conference Finals of the NBA playoffs.

In the 1980s, new owner Ted Stepien quickly hired and fired a succession
of coaches, made a number of poor trades and poor free agent signing
decisions. Stepien's poor trades cost the team several first round draft
picks, and led to a rule change in the NBA prohibiting teams from trading
away first round draft picks in consecutive years. The rule is known as
the "Ted Stepien Rule." Stepien threatened to move the franchise to
Toronto, but brothers George Gund and Gordon Gund purchased the franchise
in the mid 1980s and decided to keep the team in Cleveland. In 1993,
Toronto would, in fact, get an expansion franchise, the Toronto Raptors.

In 1986, under the Gund brothers as owners, the team acquired, either
through trades or the draft, Brad Daugherty, Mark Price, Ron Harper and
Larry Nance. These players (minus Harper, who was traded to the Los
Angeles Clippers for the rights to Danny Ferry) formed the core of the
team that led the Cavs to eight playoff seasons in the next nine years,
including three 50-wins plus seasons. However, in 1989, the Cavs were
paired against the Chicago Bulls in the playoffs. It was a best-of-five-
series. Cleveland managed to beat the Bulls in overtime, 108-105 and tied
the series 2-2. Home court advantage went to Cleveland.

The game was evenly matched, until Cleveland managed to score on a drive
and raise the lead by 1, with 3 seconds left. Chicago called time. The
ball was inbounded to Michael Jordan, who went for a jump shot.
Cleveland's Craig Ehlo jumped in front to block it, but Jordan seemed to
stay in the air until Ehlo landed. "The Shot" went in as time ran out,
with Chicago winning the series 3-2. The buzzer-beater is considered one
of Jordan's greatest clutch moments, and the game itself one of the
greatest. But the pinnacle of the Cavs' success came in the 1991-92
season, when they compiled a 57-25 record and advanced to the Eastern
Conference finals, losing again to the Chicago Bulls 4-2. Cleveland had
no success in the playoffs during this period.

After then, an era of decline came for Cavs. With retirements and
departures of Nance,Daugherty and Price, team lost its power and no
longer was able even to fight for playoffs, where once they used to be
the greatest trouble against the Bulls.

For several years under leadership of point guard Terrell Brandon, Cavs
became the most defensive team of NBA, setting its tactics all on
defense,being the NBA's least point conceding team. But offensive
inproductivity caused Cavs to have no success in this era.

Later on, players like Ricky Davis and Zydrunas Ilgauskas were added to
the team, increasing the quality, but without any success.

However, after the Cavs' glory days came several losing seasons. Those
seasons saw the Cavs drop to the bottom of the league, becoming a
perennial lottery draft team. After another disappointing season in 2002-
03, the Cavs landed the number one draft pick in the NBA Lottery. The
Cavs selected high school phenom LeBron James.

James' status as both a local star (having played his high school
basketball at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in nearby Akron) and one
of the most highly touted prospects in NBA history led many to view his
selection as a turning point in the franchise's history. The 2003-04
season offered great hope for the future, as James rose to become a
dominating player, winning the NBA Rookie of the Year Award.

Hope was even greater for the 2004-05 season. James blossomed into a
superstar, increasing his points average, shooting percentage, assists
average, and rebounds average. Despite the loss of Carlos Boozer under
very dubious circumstances, James teamed with Drew Gooden and Zydrunas
Ilgauskas to form the core of the Cavs team. After a promising start when
the team seemed to be locked firmly into the Eastern Conference's 5th
playoff spot, the Cavs began a downward spiral that eventually led to the
firing of coach Paul Silas and general manager Jim Paxson. The Cavs
failed to make the playoffs that year, tied with the resurgent New Jersey
Nets for the eighth (and final) playoff spot (the Nets owned the
tiebreaker over the Cavs).

The 2005 offseason was one of many changes for the Cavaliers. The team
hired a new coach, Mike Brown, and a new general manager, former
Cavaliers forward Danny Ferry. The team also signed free agents Larry
Hughes, Donyell Marshall, and Damon Jones (four-year, $16 million for
Damon) to multi-year contracts. Along with new owner Dan Gilbert, the
Cavaliers' front office consists of individuals new to their respective
positions. Despite the relative inexperience of many of these newcomers,
the franchise sees great hope in rising star LeBron James, whom many have
compared to all-time great Michael Jordan.

In March, the Cavaliers clinched their first playoff appearance since the
1997-98 season. They wound up receiving the #4 seed in the Eastern
Conference and faced the Washington Wizards in the first round. After the
two teams split the first two games in Cleveland, LeBron James scored a
game-winning basket with 5.7 seconds remaining in game 3. The Wizards
then won game 4 to tie the series. With the series back in Cleveland, the
Cavs emerged victorious in the fifth game, 121-120 in an exciting
overtime contest that saw LeBron James hit the game winning shot with 0.9
seconds left on the clock. Game 6 also went to overtime, on a Gilbert
Arenas three-point shot at the end of regulation to tie the score. In the
extra session, however, Damon Jones nailed a long jumper in the final
seconds to clinch the game for the Cavs - advancing them into the second
round for the first time in 13 years.

In the second round, the Cavs lost the first two games to the Detroit
Pistons, but then won the next three, including one at the Palace of
Auburn Hills (producing the Pistons' only three game losing streak of the
season). However, they lost a close Game 6 at home and then fell to
Detroit, 79-61, in game 7. This game produced two records of futility for
the Cleveland organization. First, they earned the record for least
points scored in a Game 7, and secondly, they tied the record for least
points scored in a half with 23.

The two playoff rounds were a showcase for the emergence of LeBron James,
which he has achieved many "youngest ever to..." records considering his
age (21 in the 2005-06 season). More importantly, it marks the rebirth of
a once stagnant basketball franchise.

				
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posted:4/25/2010
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