It was a long, strange day for LeBron James in the city he used to call home.
An early sign that things would not go so smoothly for the self-proclaimed King came when he and his people had trouble gaining access to the Cavs’ arena. James then weirdly skipped out on the player introductions (later saying he was using the bathroom), and even tossed in a controversial buzzer-beater that shouldn’t have counted (but did, anyway.)
In the end, though, all that truly mattered was that Cleveland won the game. They outfought, outhustled, out-executed … out-everything’d the Heat, and Miami knew it.
From the Plain Dealer:
James finished with 27 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds, while Dwyane Wade added 24 points and Mike Bibby had 23 for the Heat, 51-23. But Miami shot just 42.3 percent and got outrebounded, 44-30.
“We got exactly what we deserved,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “They played harder than we did.”
Neither [Baron] Davis, nor [Ryan] Hollins, actually played with James. Of the 10 Cavaliers who saw time on the court, only [JJ] Hickson, [Anthony] Parker and [Daniel] Gibson did so. So the victory clearly meant more to some than others. “Beating LeBron and beating the Heat doesn’t really mean anything to me,” Davis said with a smile. “I’ll take the free beer, though.”
It was clear that this game (and win) meant so much more to the Cavs and the city of Cleveland — from the look of jubilation on the players’ faces when it was all over, the fans’ relentless yelling throughout, and even the team owner’s sad, predictable Twitter jab.
Enjoy it, Cleveland. Because it’s now back to being the lowly Cavs, and he’ll still be LeBron James.