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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Episode 122 – Finals fallout: LeBron, Cavs swept into summer of uncertainty

It was a painful NBA Finals – both figuratively and literally – for LeBron and the Cavs. Dodgy officiating, a killer mental mistake and a punched white board punctuated Game 1, and the Wine and Gold never recovered for the remainder of the series. The guys discuss the late-game proceedings in Game 1, LeBron’s busted hand, the burden on the Cavs’ front office navigating the draft and free agency in light of LeBron’s potential departure this summer, the Warriors’ weird dynamic with Kevin Durant, and how long Golden State can keep its nucleus together.


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Intro/outro music: "The 3rd" by Anitek

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Episode 121 – Four-gone conclusion? Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals preview with David Zavac

Let’s be honest: The Cavs are facing some of the longest odds in NBA Finals history when they tip off against Golden State for the fourth straight season. But is all hope lost? David Zavac, contributor for The Athletic, is back on The Nail to dive into what the Cavs can try to do to make this a competitive series. The guys also touch on the absence of Andre Iguodala and most likely Kevin Love for Game 1, how some of Cleveland’s new faces can fit into this four-year rivalry and the difference for the Cavs between playing as the team to beat in the East playoffs vs. having nothing to lose in the Finals.


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Intro/outro music: "The 3rd" by Anitek

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Episode 120 – 48 special minutes: LeBron, Cavs survive Celtics and conquer the East again

LeBron James delivered an epic, wire-to-wire performance, the Cavs’ role players—led by Jeff Green!—provided just enough scoring support, and the Cavaliers are Eastern Conference champions for the fourth straight year after winning Game 7 on Sunday night in Boston. The guys get together a night later to look back on a dramatic, draining closeout game and its most memorable moments.


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Intro/outro music: "The 3rd" by Anitek

Friday, May 18, 2018

Episode 119 – Gloom, doom (but hopefully not a broom): Cavs struggling in ECF

Baffling coaching decisions, blown defensive assignments, bad shooting and a battered jaw for one LeBron James have left the Cavs halfway to getting swept in the Eastern Conference Finals. With the next two games at The Q, the Wine & Gold aren't completely in dire straits just yet. Still, it’s been ugly so far. The guys discuss Ty Lue’s decision to ride with JR Smith over Kyle Korver in the starting lineup, the struggles of the newer members of the roster, the “organizational fatigue” plaguing everyone who has been around for the long haul, and the weight of trying to fight back in a series knowing what would await in the Finals (and *not* knowing what awaits this summer).


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Intro/outro music: "The 3rd" by Anitek

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Episode 118 – That’s a Rap: Cavs shift focus to Celtics after ending Toronto

With a ridiculous running floater off the glass last Saturday night, LeBron James broke the spirit of yet another Eastern Conference franchise, as the Raptors bowed out meekly on Monday and fired head coach Dwane Casey four days later. A transcendent postseason for LeBron continues in the Eastern Conference finals, where the depleted-but-not-defeated Boston Celtics await. Aside from LeBron’s shot-making abilities, the Cavs were steadied in Round 2 by the presence of point guard George Hill, the outside shooting of J.R. Smith and Kyle Korver, and a devastating two-man game from Korver and Kevin Love. The guys preview the conference finals with the Celtics, air grievances about Boston, and quickly set up the West series between Houston and Golden State.


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Intro/outro music: "The 3rd" by Anitek

Monday, April 30, 2018

Episode 117 – Cavalry arrives, Cavs survive, can Raps avoid another dive?

It was the most nerve-wracking first round series to ever involve LeBron James wearing wine and gold, but the Cavs survived their matchup with the Pacers. In Game 7 on Sunday, LeBron was LeBron, but his supporting cast finally came through, too. Tristan Thompson looked like the Tristan Thompson of old as he crashed the glass, and George Hill returned after a three-game absence to steady the squad through the final 19 minutes. The guys discuss how the Cavs ultimately outlasted a better-than-expected Indiana team, and then look ahead to another series with the Raptors in the conference semifinals. Every adjustment Toronto has made in the past year has been with Cleveland in mind, and for the first time, the Raptors are favored to win the series. But, ultimately, will this year’s edition of Cavs-Raps be any different than the past two?


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Intro/outro music: "The 3rd" by Anitek

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Episode 116 – Cavs (and all of us watching them) feeling first-round stress

A lot of fans figured the Eastern Conference playoffs would be more challenging for the Cavs this season than in recent years, but few could have predicted a full-fledged fight in the first round. Nevertheless, the Indiana Pacers are giving the Cavs all they can handle through four games. The guys welcome their old pal Mark Meszoros back to the show to discuss the burden LeBron is carrying, Ty Lue’s strange rotations and inexplicable fascination with Jeff Green, the revival of JR Smith—both as a scorer and as a defender on Indiana’s Victor Oladipo—and the challenge of getting Kevin Love going.


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Intro/outro music: "The 3rd" by Anitek

Friday, April 13, 2018

Episode 115 – Mike Zavagno on the Cavs and the NBA playoffs (and Taylor Swift?)

Mike Zavagno of FearTheSword.com and the Cavalytics podcast joins the show to help the guys get ready for the NBA playoffs. It was a strange season—or maybe even four or five seasons rolled into one—for the Cavs. But as they get ready for the Pacers in the first round, the Wine and Gold appear to finally have their full lineup available for the first time since the trade deadline. The guys discuss players like Jeff Green and Jose Calderon going from afterthoughts at the beginning of the year to key members of the playoff rotation, how the players acquired at the deadline—Larry Nance Jr., George Hill, Rodney Hood and Jordan Clarkson—will fit into the Cavs’ plans, familiar faces who could have reduced (or entirely eliminated) roles, and what more to expect from LeBron James after a tremendous 15th regular season. Plus, a rundown of the rest of the playoffs: Are the Sixers the Cavs’ biggest threat in the East? Was Golden State gifted a path to the Western Conference finals? And can anyone challenge the Rockets or Warriors in the early rounds? ... Oh, and there's also a story in the first five minutes about the time Mike encountered Taylor Swift at customs in the U.S. Virgin Islands and ended up in tabloids around the world. (Yes, really.)


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Intro/outro music: "The 3rd" by Anitek

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Episode 114 – Indians/MLB preview with Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com

Ready or not, the Indians begin their 2018 season on Thursday night in Seattle. To ring in the new year, the guys go around the horn on all things Tribe-related with Anthony Castrovince, national columnist for MLB.com and contributor for the MLB Network. How will the Indians replace all of the players gone from last year's 102-win squad? How much can we expect from talented (but injury-plagued) veterans such as Michael Brantley, Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall? Will Greg Allen, Bobby Bradley, Francisco Mejia or other players in the Tribe's system make an impact with the big league club this year? Can the Twins (or anyone else) in the AL Central threaten the Indians' chances of making the postseason for a third straight year? Castrovince answers those questions and covers lots more around Major League Baseball in a packed edition of The Nail.


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Intro/outro music: "The 3rd" by Anitek

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Episode 113 – A stellar night for the Cavs and a salute to Joe Thomas

Down 15 points at the half to the Eastern Conference-leading Raptors. Playing without Kyle Korver, Larry Nance, Tristan Thompson, Rodney Hood, Cedi Osman and head coach Ty Lue. At another point in the season, this was the kind of night in which the Cavs would unravel. But on Wednesday, LeBron James and Co. had different ideas. The guys discuss one of the team’s most stirring wins of the year, as well as Kevin Love’s return to the lineup, the surprising emergence of Ante Zizic and what’s left of the regular season. After a number of false starts, is this finally the time the Cavs turn the corner? … Plus: Appreciating Joe Thomas’ incredible playing career at one of football’s most hard-to-appreciate positions, a quick survey of the latest buzz around the NFL draft, and a shout-out to the UMBC Retrievers for ridding March Madness of the least watchable major conference powerhouse.


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Intro/outro music: "The 3rd" by Anitek

Friday, March 9, 2018

Episode 112 – 'Big' decisions: On Larry Nance, Tristan Thompson and the Browns’ first-round picks

Larry Nance Jr. has been everything Cavaliers fans hoped he would be when he was acquired at the trade deadline. Tristan Thompson, meanwhile, hasn’t been quite up to the form he showed in playing an enormous role in the Cavs’ title run in 2016, and he’s now sidelined with an ankle injury. With Tristan down, Larry Jr. is getting a shot in the starting lineup, and the early returns have been promising. What happens to the Cavs’ frontcourt when TT returns? … Plus: Would the QB-desperate Browns really pass on a quarterback at the top of the draft? Also, was there anything the Indians could have done to better distribute their limited supply of tickets for Opening Day?


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Intro/outro music: "The 3rd" by Anitek

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Episode 111 – Talking #MACtion with Jason Arkley of the Athens Messenger

It’s Mid-American Conference tournament week in Cleveland, and Jason Arkley of the Athens Messenger is back on The Nail to set the stage. The No. 1 seed Buffalo Bulls seek their third conference championship in four years, but the rest of the top teams in this year’s bracket – Toledo, Eastern Michigan and Ball State – are all looking to break long droughts. Arkley breaks down Thursday’s quarterfinal matchups and discusses whether a MAC team can win an NCAA tournament game for the first time since 2012. ... Plus: The effect of the graduate transfer rule on college basketball and whether the sport's latest scandals are being felt at the mid-major level.


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Intro/outro music: "The 3rd" by Anitek

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Episode 110 – A crash course on Ohio State basketball and the Big Ten tournament

Ready or not, it’s time for the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament, as the conference decided to stage its signature hoops event a week early for the sake of getting to play in Madison Square Garden. The Ohio State Buckeyes, one of the great stories in all of college basketball this season, figure to be a big factor this weekend in New York and in March Madness as well. The guys welcome back Josh Poloha of WaitingForNextYear.com to discuss how first-year coach Chris Holtmann has revitalized the program in Columbus, the stellar play of conference player of the year Keita Bates-Diop and others on the roster, and the teams who stand in the Buckeyes’ way in the Big Ten tourney. … Plus: A look at the scandals hanging over college basketball, the impact they could have on the NCAA tournament, and whether a day of reckoning is coming for some of the sport’s biggest names.


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Intro/outro music: "The 3rd" by Anitek

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Episode 109 – I love these games! Catching up on the Cavs and Olympics

Cleveland is buzzing about basketball again as the Cavs kick off the unofficial second half of the NBA season on Thursday night. As we saw in a two-game preview before the All-Star break, the excitement comes with good reason. LeBron James is engaged, the team is rejuvenated and the games are once again must-see TV. The guys talk about the early returns from Larry Nance, Jordan Clarkson, Rodney Hood and George Hill, and what to look forward to down the stretch. … Plus: The most fun events to watch in the Winter Olympics, why not even commentary by wet blanket Bode Miller can ruin downhill skiing, and a quick thought on potential free agent QB targets for the Browns.


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Intro/outro music: "The 3rd" by Anitek

Friday, February 9, 2018

Episode 108 – No half measures: Cavs break from the bad, reload roster

Within the past month, it became apparent that the Cavs were dead in the water as constructed. The only question that remained was how far they were willing to go to change their fortunes. As we found out Thursday, the answer was “pretty damn far.” The team tied its own NBA trade deadline day record, sending out six players in three deals and bringing in four new faces. Jeff Nomina of Waiting For Next Year joins the guys to discuss how a front office under fire for months stood up and overhauled a fractured roster to rebuild the team’s culture. Whether it is enough to overcome the Warriors (…or Rockets?) remains to be seen for now. ... Plus: The guys wrap up the show with a salute to WFNY on its 10th anniversary.


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Intro/outro music: "The 3rd" by Anitek

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Episode 107 – Rumbles, Rousey, Rejuvenated (?) Cavs and the Relegation of Wahoo

It’s been a busy 10 days since The Nail guys have convened to record a pod. Stipe Miocic successfully defended his UFC heavyweight title and already has another opponent lined up for July. WWE put on a surprisingly great Royal Rumble pay-per-view headlined by the first women’s Rumble match (and Ronda Rousey!). The Cavs have gone to hell and back, and are finally starting to show signs of life—although for reasons both on and off the court, Isaiah Thomas’ future looks as murky as ever. And finally—FINALLY—the Indians announced Chief Wahoo is going away (well, sort of). As they have every step of the way with their embattled logo,  the Indians continue to take the hardest road possible in moving on. The guys cover that and more in a busy, wide-ranging edition of The Nail.


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Intro/outro music: "The 3rd" by Anitek

Friday, January 19, 2018

Episode 106 – Stipe Miocic defends title at UFC 220, WWE Raw turns 25

UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic is defending his title against Francis Ngannou on Saturday night, and News-Herald sports editor Mark Podolski is in Boston to cover the fight. Podolski has known Miocic since the champ was a wrestler for Eastlake North High School and a placekicker for the school’s football team, and he has followed Miocic closely throughout his MMA career. In his latest appearance on The Nail, Podolski shares stories from Miocic’s high school years, sets the scene at UFC’s media day on Thursday, previews the fight as Miocic tries to become the first UFC heavyweight champ to reach three successful title defenses, and gives a rundown on the red-hot, trash talkin’ challenger Ngannou. ... Plus: WWE Raw will celebrate its 25th anniversary on Monday night. The guys relive memories of WWE’s flagship show, including the time Tom went down to the then-Gund Arena, and was left standing outside without a ticket as a historic episode got underway.


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Intro/outro music: "The 3rd" by Anitek

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Episode 105 – Now what? Cavs left with long odds in pursuit of Warriors

From the final numbers on the scoreboard at Quicken Loans Arena on Monday night to the grim anonymous quotes from players in stories published in early Tuesday morning, the consensus is clear: The Cavs, as presently constructed, won’t beat the Warriors. Friend of the show and longtime Cavs fan Nick Carrabine is back on The Nail as the guys discuss what has happened to J.R. Smith, Isaiah Thomas’ fit and whether he’s playable against Golden State, and whether Ty Lue is getting the most out of this Cavs roster. Plus: The Cavs have assets, but in the face of what looks like increasingly long championship odds, is there a deal out there worth gambling on with a summer of uncertainty for the franchise ahead?


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Intro/outro music: "The 3rd" by Anitek

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Episode 104 – Alabama-Georgia fallout and the future of the College Football Playoff

On the verge of winning their first national championship in 37 years, the Georgia Bulldogs instead lost the title game on Monday night in the most excruciating way imaginable, and the Alabama evil empire reigns over college football again. The guys relive the game’s stunning closing moments and the unconventional ways they saw them unfold—Tom watched the full game on the announcer-free SkyCam feed that was part of ESPN’s megacast, while Travis went through the condensed version on Tuesday after following along on Twitter during the live game.

Plus: With UCF’s perfect season and teams just missing out on the playoff posting big bowl wins—not to mention Alabama’s shaky regular season résumé—has the door been pried open for an eight-team field? Expansion is probably inevitable, but the guys debate whether it should be.


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Intro/outro music: "The 3rd" by Anitek

Friday, January 5, 2018

Episode 103 – Decisions, decisions: Browns dive into a pivotal offseason

Mercifully, the Browns’ season is over, but the interesting times are just getting started. Tom and Travis discuss decisions made—John Dorsey replacing Sashi Brown, transitioning from collecting assets to acquiring players, and (against all odds) keeping Hue Jackson—and the decisions to come (read: “quarterback, quarterback and quarterback”). As the Browns sort through their issues, there’s one other decision that’s easy for the guys: Neither of them would be caught dead at this weekend’s 0-16 parade. … Plus: Thoughts on the Rose Bowl and the upcoming college football national championship game, Isaiah Thomas’ exciting Cavs debut and what to do with J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson.


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Intro/outro music: "The 3rd" by Anitek