Any Heat vs Cavs game in Cleveland will be a brutal affair for years to come. Yet the first Heat vs Cavs game in Cleveland during the post-Decision era was likely the worst of it. Although LeBron James will be booed in Cleveland for the rest of his life, it’s unlikely that it will get worse than it did the first time. Yet, for the Cavaliers, they have to hope that’s the case, for far different reasons. For all the hype over the game, there was absolutely no suspense to be had in between boos.
The 118-90 Miami victory was the worst nightmare possible for the Cavaliers faithful. Not only was James’ old team slaughtered after the first quarter, but James did something he never did before in this building – score 24 points in a quarter.
The showdown started with the expected boos, but little that was as over the line as some feared. Cleveland started out well, yet once the second quarter began, they were steamrolled by James and the Big Three.
Not only did Miami take control, they did so in a way they haven’t done since the Big Three arrived. After several weeks of underachieving, and spawning rumors about their coach’s job security, they finally came together in a way they were expected to do from the start.
By the start of the second half, the result was pretty much decided for Miami. Yet, although Miami was in total control, James stepped it up in the third quarter. He kept pouring it on for his former fans, scoring 24 points in the quarter to seal things away.
With a season-high 38 points overall, James got to sit down for the entire fourth quarter. By then, a night that started with such energy – negative and otherwise – had been totally drained. The post-James Cavaliers had their chance to prove they could compete without him and failed, en route to their 11th loss of the season.
As for Miami, they improved to 12-8, getting their third straight win since James’ controversial bump of Eric Spoelstra. Of course, the Heat vs Cavs game was just like almost every one of Miami’s battles with sub-.500 teams. They can beat up on weaker franchises, but they still have to prove they can beat contenders before they can become one of them.
The Cavs are now doomed to obscurity until their next game with the Heat, which is on Dec. 15 in Miami. Cleveland fans won’t get to boo James in person again until March 29, 2011.
SI.com- “It might seem like he has it all, but LeBron will miss Cleveland one day”