TNT likes to advertise “We Know Drama”. The network definitely broadcast from an electric atmosphere Thursday night in Cleveland, with the return of former favorite son LeBron James. Cavaliers’ fans were in the stands early and ready to ‘boo’ James all night. Their signs read things like "King Betrayal", “Quitness” and "Akron Hates You Too". Their T-shirts spelled out “B-E-T-R-A-Y-E-D” and referred to LeBron as the “Lyin’ King”. But even with the angry Cleveland crowd, the drama was very short-lived in this NBA mismatch.
The Miami Heat ‘struggled’ to an 11-8 start this season as James, Dwyane Wade and the rest of squad are still learning to play together. They still have issues with post play and shoot too many jumpers, but the Heat found something to rally around in their 20th game of the year. Miami turned the Cleveland hostility towards their new star into fuel for blowing out the Cavaliers, 118-90. LeBron dropped 38 points in three quarters of work against his former club, who basically validated his ‘decision’ with their lackluster effort. The Heat needed to play road games with more fire, and they just may have found it in Cleveland.
James can be dominant every night if he plays with the purpose he had Thursday night, and the same goes for the Heat. Even though the competition was weak with the listless Cavaliers, Miami can use the experience to form an identity for the next 60 games. The problems in the post will probably remain in Miami, but they have the talent to overcome it. The Heat will now host Atlanta before traveling to Milwaukee and Utah, and that interesting trio of games will provide an opportunity to build momentum.
LeBron asks “What should I do?” on his (in)famous Nike commercial that followed all of the bad publicity from his scorning of the Cavs. Well LBJ, you should play with the same killer instinct every night that you brought to Cleveland on Thursday night. The competition will get better, but you have the talent (along with Wade, Bosh, etc.) to beat anyone in the Association if you want it bad enough.