Miami beats Cleveland; Give LeBron the Credit deserved
One of my favorite radio shows in Miami Florida was all over Twitter after the Miami Heat beat the Cleveland Cavaliers by 28 points in LeBron James first return to the city of Cleveland. On the LeBatardShow twitter feed, the show suggested that tomorrow’s talking heads and headlines would denigrate LeBron for “not being good enough” in scoring “just 38 points,” and that the game was “meaningless” to begin with. I don’t quite think the media will go to that ridiculous extreme, but as someone who has also been critical of the personal hate toward LeBron James, I can’t help but see some truth in the sarcastic statement the people at The Dan LeBatard Show are making.
Naturally, I certainly will not be jumping into the LeBron James-bashing wagon.
Okay, well, there is just one negative thing I want to run by you all, but I will end on that note, despite how unfair that might seem.
Positively speaking, LeBron James was great in his return to Ohio. By the end of the first quarter, it seemed inevitable that LeBron was going to get a triple double. He would only end the game with 38 points, 8 assists and 5 rebounds, but that’s only because the Heat were up by 30 entering the 4th quarter. Had there been any need to play LeBron after the third period, a triple-double would have been recorded by James. Unfortunately, the team he left is so bad now, that their ineptitude prevented him from registering magical numbers against them.
Then again, LeBron did drop 24 of his 38 points in the third quarter, a single-quarter scoring record in the Cavaliers arena. Surely, that’s not going to be a trivia question on the Cavaliers flagship radio station anytime soon.
But points and stats aside, a win was all LeBron needed to shut the Cavaliers up. And when that win seemed inevitable (halfway through the second quarter) the Cavaliers fans that welcomed LeBron back home with a barrage of boos and laughter, fell awfully silent by the end of the third quarter.
With that win, LeBron got the first laugh. He’ll likely get the last laugh too. As talented as the Heat are, they aren’t very good right now, and for the Cavs to lose to them by that much just shows how bad they are, even worse than their 7-11 record would suggest. Meanwhile, the Heat improved to 12-8 on the year and have the Cavs to thank for their Eastern Conference best +8.2-point differential in games this season. Such a margin denotes just how good this team can become, and where they likely will finish the year when the season is over: the NBA Finals.
Couple the win, the Heat’s future, and LeBron’s historical 3rd quarter, and what you have here is a night for Cleveland Fans that will likely be on ESPN’s 50 for 50 series. What the Heat fans have done with commercials, YouTube clips, t-shirts, signs and chants has been quite humorous, but anybody who really cares enough to put their attention towards those things had to be hurt by what happened on that basketball court when LeBron scored 38—for the opposing team! Cleveland couldn’t have just one night—one night! LeBron is going to go on to a life filled with luxury, friends, championship rings and one would have to assume, a whole lot of happiness. And while I hope sports doesn’t define a single man, woman or child that was in Qualcomm arena last night, the fact is, if you cared enough to make an “I hate LeBron” sign or t-shirt for that game, you probably didn’t sleep too well.
But do you know who did?
I’m just giving credit where credit is deserved. LeBron made sure his team got a win in his return home, and did it in historical fashion. To ask for anything more would be just plain asinine, and apparently, good fodder for my favorite Miami radio station.
I will throw one bone to the LeBron Haters though, because, after all, you have had a tough night. The only thing I question LeBron about after a night like this is, where is that kind of response game in and game out? It’s one thing to have a bad game, but it’s another thing to disappear at times.
LeBron James played horrible in Game 5 of the Boston series last year, but he goes nuts in the first half against a pitiful Cavaliers team? He looks mesmerized in Game 6 of that series while turning the ball over 9 times, but he drops 24 points in the 3rd quarter against the Cavs.
Normally, I wouldn’t question an athlete’s behavior like this from game to game, and even I recognize how small of a sample size I am using here, but I just wonder how capable LeBron is of turning his game on when it needs to be turned on. If he feels motivated, he gives you a triple-double, and if he doesn’t, he gives you 15 points. Actually, that alone is all fine and dandy, but when we have situations when he’s not motivated in games that he needs to be motivated in—well, we see him exit the NBA playoffs well before we ever thought he would.
So for you LeBron haters, I leave you with this. James is the most talented player in the NBA, but sometimes his effort takes a night off. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll be lucky enough to see his effort take off another playoff series this summer, and then you can get your laughs in. However, rest assure, win it all this season or not, this Miami team will bring home the trophy someday, and it will be long before Cleveland ever does. So laugh now, but you can take a guess as to who will laugh last in this scenario, right?