That’s all any of us can really say about what happened last night at the Q. The Cavs got throttled. A lot of people thought that the Cavs would pull this one out. I was one of them. I especially thought that if they weren’t going to win this game at least it would be close. There was no way that this team in that environment could possibly lay an egg.
We were all wrong on both counts.
Sure a lot of people will point to the hugs and kisses approach that Cavs took towards LeBron in his return to Cleveland. Several players met LeBron at mid-court during the pregame warm ups and right before tipoff. That’s fine. I have no real issue with that and neither should any of you. This is the new age NBA. Players love each other. There is no real hatred amongst players anymore. So like I said, I can understand all of that.
What I can’t understand was the complete and utter lack of passion on the part of the Cavs during the game. Things started out promising. The Cavs were within range after the first quarter and even managed to have a lead at one point. They came out and looked energized and ready to exact our revenge for us. J.J. Hickson went coast to coast on for a dunk. Boobie Gibson was hitting his shots. Varejao was grabbing boards.
Then the second quarter started…
From the second quarter on it appeared as if any and all adrenaline had been sapped from the Cavs. For as energized as they were at the start of the game, the start of the second quarter was a complete 180. There was no hustle, no heart whatsoever. During one timeout Byron Scott was heard by TNT urging defense and the importance of closing out to the ball. At no point during the game did any Cavalier even attempt to close out or play any resemblance of defense. This of course was reflected by the Heat’s 60% percent shooting throughout the game and a lead that ballooned to as much as 35 points at one point.
To make matters worse, LeBron fraternized regularly with the Cavaliers bench… during the game! It was a joke. Granted there’s no way of knowing for sure what was being said, but the eyes don’t lie. It didn’t look like an eff you go to hell kind of exchange. If I didn’t know any better it looked like LeBron was still a member of the Cavs.
Ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous.
The icing on the cake was the 3rd quarter. As LeBron was tearing the Cavs up in the third quarter for 24 of his 28 points, not a single member of this Cavs team felt it necessary to knock him on his ass. LeBron routinely got to the basket with ease and was hitting jumpers left and right. Any team with any kind of pride would have sent a message. Instead the Cavs hid. They hid from the spotlight and the hid from their responsibilities to their fans. Yes, the Cavs are a bad team. They are not a 35 point blowout at home bad.
This highlight of the night through all of this was the fans. All week the local media had warned, and essentially begged and pleaded for the city of Cleveland not to embarrass themselves. They didn’t disappoint. From pregame up until the final moments of the game the crowd was into it. They were creative and unified in their verbal and written assault of LeBron. Several fans wore shirts spelling out things such as LeBum and Betrayed. Some of the more creative signs of the night were “We should have drafted Darko,” “11-8? Looks like you left your talents in Cleveland,” and “Cleveland isn’t very fond of LeBron.” Gee, you don’t say?
And once again kudos to @Cavs_Chants. All week long they put in a full-fledged effort to try and unify the fans in chanting against LeBron. I have to say it was an overwhelming success. Many of the suggested chants were clearly heard on TV. I was also following on Twitter last night while I watched the game. The in game effort put forward by @Cavs_Chants was phenomenal. Constant Twitter reminders about what to chant and when to chant it along with observations from the game were priceless. It was extremely well done. If only the Cavaliers had put forth the same effort maybe the end result might have been different.
After the game @Cavs_Chants questioned the future of his Twitter account. If I were the Cavs I would hire him on the spot to do what he did last night on a full-time basis. He took an idea originally created by Bill Simmons and took it to a whole new level. It was creative and an exceptionally well-played use of social media. So once again… well done.
So where do the Cavs go from here? They go forward. This game is finally over. It’s time to put it and everything that happened over the course of the past few months behind them. I suspect we’ll begin to see changes to the roster as the season chugs along. The Cavs need to get a high draft pick. It’s the only way they’ll ever get back to the top and securing the 8th seed and a first round playoff exit isn’t going to accomplish that. The Cavs have to understand that fact. That’s how the NBA works. We’ve seen it before firsthand.
For myself personally, after watching that game I’m left not with feelings of anger, but feelings of sadness. Watching LeBron on the floor at the Q again was surreal. Watching him look like the old LeBron made it worse. Seeing him joke with the Cavs during the game made me shout at the TV, “Why did you leave!?!?” So yes Cleveland, it’s time to move forward. It’s time to accept what has happened and let the healing begin.
It’s time to move on. LeBron certainly has…