Photo by David Richard, USA Today Sports
The quality of basketball being played these days by the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are 16–29 for the year, is not high. Sunday, they had an 18-point lead on the Phoenix Suns and blew it in the second half, only scoring 6 points in the third quarter and ultimately losing by 9. Tuesday, they didn’t look much better against the Pelicans, losing by 11.
Their opponents tonight, the home team New York Knicks, have had a similarly rocky season and are currently 18–27. However, they have won their last three games, including bouts against the Celtics and Lakers, when Carmello Anthony scored 62 points. Nevertheless, the Cavs have won 14 of their last 20 match-ups against the Knickerbockers, including a 15-point romp in December. In short, there is no telling what may happen tonight. If those on both teams come to play, we could have an exciting game. If not, it could be another dud in a long season of mediocre basketball in the Eastern Conference.
There are plenty of tickets still available through the normal channels, but if you can’t make it down to the Garden, you can watch the game on MSG or TNT or listen on ESPN 98.7 FM. Tip-off is at 8pm.
Eric Davidson and Matt Reber of New Bomb Turks
If you are in the mood for catching some music hailing from the Heart of It All, this week you are in luck, as you’ve got a total of four options in the next few days.
Cloud Nothings: This Cleveland-based band has made countless trips to the Big Apple over the last few years to promote its self-titled album and 2012’s superb Attack on Memory. But with the band taking some time off to record a new record, it’s been awhile since their last gig here. They’ll be at Baby’s All Right (sic) tonight, no doubt trying out the new songs.
Sinkane: Although Ahmed Gallab was born in London and also lived in Boston and Utah, he spent his formative years and started making music in Ohio before moving to Brooklyn, so I’ve devoted lots of virtual ink to his band, Sinkane. Saturday night, they’ll be at the Brooklyn Night Bazaar, where you can also shop for artisanal goods, play miniature golf, eat burritos, and drink craft beer.
Saintseneca: I’ve written about this Columbus band before, and you’ll probably be hearing the name a lot more once Anti Records releases Saintseneca’s sophomore album in April. They’re bringing their folksome brew to Baby’s All Right on Saturday.
New Bomb Turks and Nervosas: While lead singer Eric Davidson moved to Brooklyn from Columbus years ago, the New Bomb Turks’ live appearances in town have been far too rare. They’ll be joined Saturday at The Bell House by Columbus three-piece Nervosas (as well as the NYC-based Born Loose) for what should be a raucous evening.
When LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers, most people thought that it would be many years before we’d seeing a winning team again. And although at 11–21 the Cavs hardly have a winning record, the pieces are falling into place to turn the team around. Aside from a blowout against Indiana, the team has been in just about every game they’ve played. While having all-star guard Kyrie Irving has helped, more than anything it’s been hard work as a team that’s made the difference. This was proven on Thursday night, when they came from behind to defeat Orlando in overtime without Kyrie, who will also be absent from this game as he’s still recovering from the knee contusion he suffered in the Pacers game.
The Brooklyn Nets could probably learn a thing or two from the Cavs. They have the same record as the Cavs, but given the players on the team (and the money they spent to get them), they should be a real contender. But bad attitudes and laziness have gotten in the way of a winning season. It doesn’t help having a first-year coach that is suspended for the first two games (including the home opener loss to Cleveland) after being arrested for driving drunk in the Hamptons, but Jason Kidd can’t be entirely blamed for a team performing this bad. Their starting millionaires have simply failed to produce, and I predict the stars of tonight’s game will have names like Waiters, Varejao and Jack, not Johnson, Pierce, Williams or Garnett.
Given the Nets’ record, there are still tickets available through the regular channels, but if you can’t make it to the Barclays Center, the game will be televised on the YES Network and broadcast on WCBS 880 AM radio.
It hasn’t been an easy year for fans of the New York Jets. Their team is 6–8 and won’t be in the playoffs this season. But that suffering is nothing compared to what Cleveland Browns fans have had to endure. With ongoing quarterback woes, the team has found new ways to lose each week, adding up to a 4–10 record. Of course, this is nothing new; being a Browns fans might be considered a form of self-hatred, or perhaps it’s just a sign of extreme optimism. Either way, today’s game is not going to be pretty, but it should be interesting nonetheless. As you might imagine, there are plenty of seats available on StubHub, and with temperatures in the 60s today, you couldn’t ask for a better day in December to watch football outside. If you can’t make it out to East Rutherford, though, the game will be broadcast on CBS. Kickoff is 1pm.
New York is a good place to be today if you like college hoops, particularly of the Ohio variety. Today, there are a couple of teams from the Buckeye state in town. The big game takes place this evening at Madison Square Gardern, where the Ohio State Buckeyes will take on the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame in the BlackRock Gotham Classic. While the OSU football team gets the lionshare of attention, OSU has been putting great teams on the hard court in recent years, advancing to at least the fourth round of the NCAA tournament each year since 2009. So far this season, they are undefeated, but with Jerian Grant leading the 8–3 Irish, it should be an exciting game to watch whatever the outcome. Tipoff is 7:30 pm. Tickets are still available via Ticketmaster and StubHub, but if you can’t make it to the Garden, you can also watch the game on ESPN2.
Earlier in the day, though, St. John’s Red Storm will host the Youngstown State Penguins in their Carnesecca Arena in Queens. It will be only the second time the two schools have ever met; they last played in 1986. Youngtown is one of the top scoring teams in the nation, but the Red Storm is strong this year, so this should be another good game. It’s unclear from the Storm’s website if tickets are still available, but you can call the box office at 888-GOSTORM. Otherwise, you can watch the game when it airs on Fox Sports 1 at 2pm.
From It’s a Wonderful Life to Home Alone to Die Hard, Christmas has proven to be an evergreen subject matter when it comes to movies. But there is perhaps no greater piece of Yuletide cinema than the simply titled A Christmas Story. While only moderately successful upon its release in 1983, the movie’s popularity has increased exponentially that it is hardly accurate to call it a cult classic. This is perhaps in no small part to TBS showing it for 24 hours straight from Christmas Eve to Christmas Day each year since 1997.
Set in the 1950s and focused on one young boy’s desire to acquire a BB gun for Christmas, the film is supposed to take place in a fictionalized version of Hammond, Indiana, the hometown of Jean Shepard, on whose short stories the film is based. However, it was filmed in Cleveland and has become so largely associated with the city, it’s easy to forget that it’s supposed to be Indiana. Moreover, it certainly captures some of the quintessential qualities of the city. (The shots in Public Square with Higbees’ window displays are particularly great.) In fact, if you visit Cleveland (which is lovely this time of year), you can tour the Tremont house where the film was shot and even go for a duck dinner afterwards at the very same Chinese restaurant where Ralphie and his family dine on Christmas.
While there will be no shortage of opportunities to see the movie on TV come December 24—and these days you can also head to Broadway for a theatrical version—tomorrow you can see it as it was meant to be seen. Yes, the lamp leg, Scut Farkus, the visit to Santa, the bunny suit, etc. will be on the big screen, as BAM will host a matinee showing of the film at 11 am tomorrow, December 21.
If you’ve spent some time on this site, you know that one of my primary focuses has been on all the great music to come out of Ohio, both past and present. One band occupying both realms is 15-60-75, or as they are more commonly known, The Numbers Band. They were formed in Kent in 1969 by singer and guitarist Robert Kidney and Chrissie Hynde’s brother Terry (saxophone), among others. Countless members would occupy spots in the band over time, including Chris Butler of The Waitresses (famous for “I Know What Boys Like” and the theme for Square Pegs) and Devo’s Gerald Casale. They would record several studio albums over the decades, but have always been known for their live shows, which have never occurred with any frequency outside of Northeastern Ohio.
That live show was famously captured for the band’s debut, Jimmy Bell’s Still in Town, released by Pere Ubu’s David Thomas on his Hearthen label in 1976. Recorded at the Cleveland Agora when the band was opening for Bob Marley, the record captures the band’s mix of blues, jazz and proto-punk into extended jams that come off like some kind of Midwestern motorik. The record was recently reissued in extended form by the Brooklyn by way of Cleveland label Exit Stencil, and to celebrate, The Numbers Band is making a rare appearance tonight at Bowery Electric, where they will play two sets that are not to be missed.