Ed Puskas: Cavs’ disinterest for January games is shared

Confession time. This is something I’ve carried with me for a while and it’s time to unburden myself.

I’m as excited about watching regular-season NBA games in January as the Cleveland Cavaliers are about playing in them.

Can we just get to the playoffs already?

There was a time when I felt differently about watching the NBA, but that was years ago.

I couldn’t wait to get in front of a television — one of the big, wooden console TVs — when the 1980s Boston Celtics were playing the Showtime Los Angeles Lakers. It didn’t get any better than Larry Bird, Robert Parish and Kevin McHale throwing down with Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy.

I loved watching Dr. J and his Philadelphia 76ers teams.

The Phi Slama Jama Houston Rockets of Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler were appointment television.

And then along came Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls and Isiah Thomas, Bill Laimbeer and the Bad Boy Detroit Pistons.

As a native Clevelander, I relished every chance to watch Mike Mitchell, World B. Free and later Mark Price, Brad Daugherty, Larry Nance and — all too briefly — Ron Harper.

(So you know how I felt about the Harper-for-Danny Ferry trade. I think those Cavaliers win a title if not for that deal. Of course, the Bulls and Pistons of the time also were problematic.)

Even in the 1990s, I could be found watching the Terrell Brandon-Bobby Sura-Shawn Kemp Cavaliers. I’d even tune in when Mike Fratello’s coaching style led to 75-68 games.

And, of course, the beginning of the LeBron James Era in Cleveland was must-see TV.

But something changed. Despite James’ Hall of Fame career, even Cavaliers games eventually stopped quickening my pulse at some point, probably about the time LeBron took his talents to Miami. And if I wasn’t going to tune in to Cavs games, the rest of the NBA did even less for me.

Watching James Harden score 40 and the Rockets chuck at least that many 3-pointers does nothing for me. Watching Steph Curry shoot from the parking lot while Draymond Green is Kung fu fighting? No thanks.

Perhaps age and my natural lack of patience are part of why I no longer care to make a full commitment to an NBA game from November to March. Maybe if they gave each team 100 points and started with five minutes to play, I’d watch.

But the NBA won’t miss me if I don’t come around until April.

It will be a far bigger problem for the league if the Cavaliers don’t start showing more interest in these mid-season games. It’s NBA Finals or bust for Cleveland every year now and lately, it’s looking more like it will be bust.

That will leave everyone in northeastern Ohio wondering about James’ next move.

Let’s just hope they don’t start making more of those cring-worthy, “Please stay, LBJ!” videos.

Come to think of it, I’d rather spend a couple hours watching the Phoenix Suns play the Sacramento Kings in January.

Write Vindicator Sports Editor Ed Puskas at epuskas@vindy.com and follow him on Twitter, @EdPuskas_Vindy.

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