The 2014 NBA Preseason began Saturday night, but had its big splash on Sunday when LeBron James and the new-look Cleveland Cavaliers played their first game together at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. James and the Cavs beat their new coach David Blatt’s old squad — Maccabi Tel Aviv, a pro team from Israel—and the competition wasn’t particularly close.
The final was 107-80, a drubbing that featured James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love playing their first game together. The trio didn’t do anything spectacular, but they didn’t need to. Cleveland’s top performer of the game was actually Tristan Thompson, a fourth-year power forward who put up fourteen points and thirteen rebounds on 5-of-10 shooting. He also caught this nifty outlet pass from Love (sure to be the first of many):
The contest was all but over when Cleveland opened the second quarter with a 17-6 run, to go up 47-30. When told by an Israeli reporter that the Cavs “smashed” Tel Aviv, Blatt smiled and said: “Those aren’t nice words. Don’t want to use them about my old team.”
Things are easy for Cleveland against non-NBA teams, so last night’s result shouldn’t surprise anyone. Perhaps the King and his Cavaliers will face thornier competition in their next battle, which comes against the scorned Miami Heat this Saturday, October 11. Although Dwyane Wade has recently said he and James are still good friends, it’s hard to believe there aren’t some hard competitive feelings between the two that will find their way onto the court.
Wade did recently confess that there was a shadowy malaise over LeBron’s final season in Miami. “Throughout that run at certain times, it just wasn’t fun,” Wade told Bleacher Report.
— John Wilmes @johnwilmesNBA