The Lake County Captains play tonight against the Lansing Lugnuts in Lansing, Michigan at Cooley Law School Stadium at 7:05 p.m...... The Cleveland Indians play today against the Kansas City Royals at Progressive Field at 12:05 p.m....
Weekly Wine & Gold Observations by Justin Lada

‘Mava-liers’

During the NBA Finals last season when the Dallas Mavericks were up against LeBron James and the Heat, it seemed as though nearly every Cavaliers fan was pulling for Dallas to not allow James to get the ring he left Cleveland to chase.

So naturally when the Mavericks were introduced before the game in Cleveland Saturday night, they got some cheers. Dirk Nowitzki and former Cav, Delonte West, got a big cheer. West said he considered all of his fans, his friends.

But after the game the Cleveland fans had a lot to cheer for about their own team with the late victory.

All-Star Break

While the Cavaliers and other people in Cleveland feel that Kyrie Irving and Anderson Varejao were deserving of an All-Star spot.

Irving, now recovering from a concussion, will be participating in the re-formatted version of the Rookie-Sophomore game, the Rising Stars game.

Tristan Thompson was also selected to the Rising Stars game, but is also recovering from an ankle injury. He has yet to play a game in February. The teams are being coached by Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley, so it should be entertaining.

With the injuries, the Cavs haven’t released whether or not either Irving or Thompson will be able to participate in the game in two weekends.

The travesty here is Roy Hibbert of the Pacers, averaging 13 and nine rebounds a game, being picked over Varejao. Varejao is putting up career numbers. He is fourth in the NBA in rebounds per game at 11.8 per. He is also leading the entire league in offensive boards, at 4.5 a game.

The Pacers are the better team record wise, but Varejao’s numbers make him much more deserving.

Trade Rumors

About two weeks ago, it popped up that the Lakers have called Cavs GM Chris Grant about PG Ramon Sessions, and rightfully so. Sessions is much better now than any point guard the Lakers have on their roster, such as Steve Blake and the aged Derek Fisher. The Lakers have been using rookie Darius Morris at point guard, while Blake has been injured.

Now that Irving is hurt, it’s unlikely the Cavs will move Sessions until he’s back, but there is a possibility. Sessions had 22 points and 13 assists in the Cavaliers upset win over the Clippers on Wednesday night and was one of the more improved players in the league last season.

When Irving gets healthy, these rumors may sprout up again and become more rampant.

On the other hand, the market for Varejao is big, but the likelihood of the Cavaliers dealing him becomes slimmer and slimmer with every double-double he puts up. It would and should take a monumental deal for the Cavaliers to move someone like him.

Earlier this week, Varejao confessed his love, so to speak for Cleveland. He loved how the fans had his back when he first got here, when he spoke little English. Varejao has been a fringe-fan favorite over the last few seasons, with some people liking him and some loving him.

His comments after the win over the Clippers:

"Since I got to Cleveland, the fans have taken to me," Varejao said. "I didn't speak any English, but every time I would get in a game, I felt like I had somebody behind me, helping motivate me...

"I feel like my football team is the Browns, my basketball team is the Cavs and my baseball team is the Indians. That's all I know. I feel like I'm from here.”

That will cement him as a fan favorite for a long time. Whether or not he makes an All-Star team, he is an All-Star in many Clevelander’s eyes.

Mr. Big Shot

In the Cavs wins over Dallas and Boston in the last two weeks, Irving has taken the game winning lay-ups and has propelled them to wins in games where most people counted them out.

There were times in a certain former-Cavalier players career where he would often pass on such shots and there were times where he made those shots, in the regular season at least, but as a rookie, Irving doesn’t seem to back down from any situation.

In addition to his propensity for the dramatic finishes, he doesn’t shy from contact, as evidenced by his current concussion. He may have not made the All-Star team this year either, but his selection to the Rising Stars game serves notice to the league that he will be there on All-Star weekend for many years to come.

Parting Shots

With the Milwaukee Bucks coming to town tonight, I felt like this was a good thing to throw in here. Their point guard, Brandon Jennings made it public this week that he and his agent are looking to possibly move him into a bigger market.

Jennings, the Bucks point guard for the last two seasons, averages 16 points per game and five assists per game for his career. He and Andrew Bogut led the Bucks to the playoffs two years ago and have them in contention again this year.

He is averaging 18 points and five assists again this season, but now won’t commit to staying in Milwaukee, saying he is exploring ‘bigger market options’.

Basically Jennings believes he deserves the maximum NBA salary and on a big market team.

“When you start seeing other players like Dwight Howard or CP3, you start thinking,'' said Jennings.”
So he believes he is as good as Howard or Chris Paul?

No, Brandon, you’re not.

Tony Parker, Paul, Derron Williams, Steve Nash, Irving, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, Ricky Rubio, are all better point guards than you.

Jennings at best is the 8th or 9th best point guard in the NBA, yet believes he should be paid like the best in a big market.

Players like Jennings who talk like this, are ruining the NBA. He is why players have to trade All-Stars (which Jennings is not, by the way) before their contract runs out before they walk and get nothing in return.

Howard is trying to force his way to a big market team, as did Carmelo Anthony. Both of them by the way are perennial All-Stars. Jennings is not, but you wouldn’t know that by talking to him.

So if you are in attendance at tonight’s Cavs-Bucks game and feel like I do, please let Jennings know how good he isn’t and how you feel about his attitude.
jlada@lakecounty-sentinel.com  or follow Justin on Twitter @SentinelCle_JLA
Check out Taitville (Cleveland Cavaliers fan page)
POSTED 02/10/2012 15:52
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